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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

People will insist that I’m being overly dramatic about refugee resettlement. That’s fine. Some members of St. Cloud’s City Council have already suggested that people who’ve asked for information on the economic impact of the State Department’s refugee resettlement program are racists. The St. Cloud Times has accused people who have simply asked for information of being bigots or Islamophobes. While visiting St. Cloud in October, 2015, Gov. Dayton told lifelong residents that they should leave Minnesota if they didn’t accept Somali refugees. Our congressman, Tom Emmer, is disinterested in the subject.

According to this KNSI article, “St. Cloud residents voiced their concerns about refugee resettlement at Monday’s city council meeting. A group of five people addressed the council asking for refugee population statistics and economic data, saying they haven’t been able to get any answers on the issue.” After they spoke, Councilman George Hontos made a “motion for a study session on refugee resettlement.” Hontos’ motion failed on a 4-3 vote.

The cowardly councilmembers who voted against even talking about the issue were Steve Laraway, Carol Lewis, John Libert and Jeff Goerger. City Council President Lewis attempted to defend her vote by saying that it’s “a federal issue, it may have some state implications, but we really have nothing we can say.”

Lewis is right in the sense that the refugee resettlement program is a federal program run through the U.S. State Department. It’s also a cowardly answer in the sense that refugees use local resources like schools, hospitals and other resources. Those things are definitely within the City Council’s purview.

It’s important to note that this motion wasn’t on a resolution condemning the program. It was a motion to spend a study session studying the impact the program has on St. Cloud’s transportation system, schools and hospitals. Goerger, Laraway, Lewis and Libert were too cowardly to even agree to that.

When those councilmembers are up for re-election, I hope St. Cloud residents remember that these councilmembers voted against transparency and accountability. In my opinion, those politicians are a disgrace. Here’s the video of Gov. Dayton telling lifelong Minnesota residents they should leave:

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Willie Jett, the superintendent of St. Cloud schools, “plans to present a draft of a plan to the school board at its Aug. 9 workshop.” Everything you need to know about Jett’s proposal is found late in the article. That’s where it says “The proposed plan also recommends Jett and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis form an advisory task force to work with the planner, city and school district. The advisory task force’s meetings would be open to the public. Von Korff emphasized the task force’s role would be to provide advice to the city and district but it would not be a decision-making power.”

After I led the media portion of the Vote No campaign in 2015 and after the bonding referendum was soundly defeated, the St. Cloud Times wrote an editorial criticizing the School Board for not collecting enough public input. In that editorial, they insisted that more public input sessions be held. Shortly thereafter, the Board announced a listening tour, which actually turned into a presentation tour with limited input from the public and large PowerPoint presentations from the Board. (Surprising, right?)

Last week, after the Board announced that they wouldn’t repurpose Tech to become the District offices and welcoming center, they announced the purchase of the Minnesota School of Business for $5,600,000. It isn’t coincidence that the School Board is forming another advisory board. This advisory board will have little actual input into the School Board’s final decision.

This is just the Board’s latest dog-and-pony show. This Board isn’t trustworthy. Willie Jett, Al Dahlgren and Jerry von Korff are hoping that we won’t notice that they’re playing the same game. They’re hoping we’ll be satisfied with more bureaucratic sleight-of-hand.

Dr. Jett, Messrs. Dahlgren and von Korff, you aren’t trustworthy. This sham won’t repair your reputations. It will only enhance your reputations as being untrustworthy.

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This SCTimes Our View editorial definitely isn’t letting the St. Cloud School Board off the hook for intentionally misleading the public.

For instance, in their editorial, the Times wrote “What’s the price of the public’s trust? That’s the question the St. Cloud school board and administrative leaders foisted upon their constituents Thursday night when the board voted 5-2 to purchase the shuttered Minnesota School of Business site and use it for administrative office space. There is no denying that vote fully contradicts the spirit of a plan to move those administrative offices into a vacated Technical High School. As residents remember, that idea was sparked by a high-powered citizen advisory group that district leadership created and leaned heavily on to earn voter approval last fall to build a new high school.”

Since Thursday night’s vote, the citizenry has peppered Board Chairman Dahlgren and Vice-Chair von Korff with questions that don’t flatter either man. As for most of the questions, most focus their attention on things like “District leadership warmly embraced that idea, which very likely helped convince some voters to support building a new high school — which still only passed by less than 1 percent.”

I’m determined to finish these men’s political careers. They’ve slithered to explanations like Chairman Dahlgren’s “The recommendation of the committee was taken under advisement and was presented as one possible option. No action was ever taken by the board and no person has the authority to make decisions or promises on behalf of the board. It would take an action by the majority of the board to do so. That did not occur here and if there is any misunderstanding within the committee, it is certainly that — a misunderstanding.”

With all due respect to Chairman Dahlgren, I certainly don’t know that it’s a misunderstanding. Based on the recent slipperiness of the Board, it might easily be an intentional deception. I certainly won’t give Chairman Dahlgren the benefit of the doubt.

We sit on the board as fiduciaries to fulfill the constitutional obligation to educate the children of our respective communities. As much as we respect your recommendation to make the move to Tech work, it has become clear that the plan is unworkable,” Von Korff stated. “We’re not looking at the (Minnesota School of Business) alternative because we don’t care about you, the (mayor), or the neighborhood, or the (city). The plan to move into Tech is unworkable, and if we were to spend more than ($12 million) to execute this plan, we would be justly crucified for wasting education.”

Indeed, the entire deal popped up so quickly on the public’s radar screen that even key members of the high-profile advisory committee were surprised and had to communicate their displeasure via a letter.

At this point, why shouldn’t residents think that this deal “popped up” at the last minute to avoid public scrutiny? The public didn’t have the opportunity to question the Board. They didn’t have the opportunity to check whether the Tech estimates were inaccurate. After the Board’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hearing, there isn’t much trust left in the reservoir.

At this point, the best option for the citizenry is to throw these bums out. They’re arrogant but they aren’t trustworthy.

After reading this article, I think it’s fair to question whether we’ve identified St. Cloud’s village idiots. We’ve either done that or we’ve identified 2 thoroughly dishonest members of the ISD 742 School Board.

According to Jenny Berg’s article, “District efforts to determine the feasibility of moving offices to the old Tech uncovered numerous obstacles, according to Board Chair Al Dahlgren and Vice Chair Jerry Von Korff. They estimate the cost of moving to the Tech facility is upwards of $12 million, which is more than $6 million more than moving to the Waite Park facility.” That’s a bit frightening since Ms. Berg wrote that “At the time, officials estimated the cost to repurpose the 1917 and 1938 buildings to office space would be between $8 million and $12 million.”

This stinks to high heaven. First, am I supposed to think that Dahlgren and von Korff didn’t know that the Waite Park facility was available or might become available before the referendum? Next, the School Board approved the purchase on a 5-2 vote, with “Board members Shannon Haws and Monica Segura-Schwartz [voting] against the motion.” Ms. Haws is quoted as saying “Did we mislead the community and our voters? Absolutely yes.”

Ms. Haws is exactly right. The Board misled the community, most likely intentionally. The Board was upset when their 2015 referendum was defeated. They weren’t going to be denied 2 consecutive years.

Kat Patton joined the rally to share her frustration with the school board and her worry about the future of Technical High School and the site. “I live in the neighborhood. I don’t want to see it be ripped down and sold,” she said. “It’s a historic site. It belongs to the community.”

Patton said the school is part of the city’s identity, and doesn’t want to see it become condominiums or sold to a private developer. She said she wants the building to become a community center, museum, arts center or historical center. “If we destroy our history, what do we have left?” she asked.

Ms. Patton doesn’t have to worry about Tech getting sold and turned into condominiums. The School Board most likely wants to have it turned into an Islamic center. That’s been one of the worst-kept secrets in St. Cloud in recent years.

These are the slithering snakes that misled St. Cloud residents:

This is why I’m calling von Korff a slithering snake:

Von Korff said the school district is not in the development business, but that the district has the “moral and ethical commitment” to make sure the site is used in a way that supports the neighborhood, downtown and community at large. “I am really sorry that people heard that we made a promise, and I’m not trying to take that away,” he said. “The economic development authority needs to step up to the plate.”

Mr. von Korff, don’t lecture us about the school district having a “moral and ethical commitment” to make sure the site is used in a way that supports the neighborhood and downtown St. Cloud. You didn’t hesitate in selling out the Tech neighborhood. You don’t have any credibility left.

Dahlgren and von Korff are career politicians and DFL political hacks. Their trustworthiness is virtually nil. It’s time to throw these bums out ASAP.

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After reading this article, I’m almost mad enough to throw the entire ISD742 school board through a brick wall. They’ve proven beyond all doubt that they aren’t trustworthy. That means they shouldn’t be given the authority to handle large-scale financial matters.

Last winter and spring, I frequently said that the School Board’s Advisory Board was a PR scheme. This article proves that I was right. I’ll return to that theme in a little bit. First, here’s what touched off the firestorm. According Ms. Berg’s reporting, “Several high-profile leaders are urging St. Cloud school board to reconsider a plan to purchase the former Minnesota School of Business building for the district offices and welcome center. The leaders were part of an advisory group created by Superintendent Willie Jett charged with finding solutions for the fate of Technical High School if a referendum to build a new high school passed last November.”

Jett’s plan all along was to win over a higher percentage of voters who live within walking distance of Tech HS. Those living near Tech HS raised serious objections to abandoning the neighborhood. The easiest way to get past that sticking point was to appoint an advisory council that could be ignored once the votes were counted. That’s what appears to have happened:

Kleis said Tuesday the plan to purchase the Waite Park building instead of repurpose Tech surprised him. “All the discussion from the neighborhood and the district was that the administration would be in that historic Tech building,” he said. “Having that commitment was something I knew was positively received by the neighborhood and I think influenced the outcome of the referendum.” Kleis said the advisory committee was formed after a referendum failed in 2015, and members spent hours at listening sessions trying to gather input and find solutions.

Check out the School Board’s double-talk:

Jerry Von Korff, school board vice chair, responded to the letter by stating the plan to move administration to Tech proved “unworkable” because the rehabilitation cost estimates are out of line with the district’s means and no one else has stepped forward with a viable plan to develop the rest of the building or land. Meanwhile, the district could purchase the former Minnesota School of Business building at about half the cost of moving to Tech, he stated.

“We sit on the board as fiduciaries to fulfill the constitutional obligation to educate the children of our respective communities. As much as we respect your recommendation to make the move to Tech work, it has become clear that the plan is unworkable,” Von Korff stated. “We’re not looking at the (Minnesota School of Business) alternative because we don’t care about you, the (mayor), or the neighborhood, or the (city). The plan to move into Tech is unworkable, and if we were to spend more than ($12 million) to execute this plan, we would be justly crucified for wasting education.

Von Korff is the school board’s vice chair. Here’s what Al Dahlgren, the school board’s chair, said:

Board Chair Al Dahlgren said the superintendent and school board never promised the district would move into a repurposed Tech. “The recommendation of the committee was taken under advisement and was presented as one possible option,” he stated in a response to the advisory group’s letter. “No action was ever taken by the board and no person has the authority to make decisions or promises on behalf of the board. It would take an action by the majority of the board to do so. That did not occur here and if there is any misunderstanding within the committee, it is certainly that — a misunderstanding.”

Let’s be clear about something. While there wasn’t a formal contract signing, the people on that advisory committee considered that a formality. To hear von Korff and Dahlgren say that repurposing Tech wouldn’t work or that they never committed to it is the epitome of slipperiness.

It’s time to throw these bums out. That’s what’s supposed to happen to people you can’t trust.

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John Hinderaker’s post about the left’s indoctrination of grade school and high school students is frightening. For years, conservatives have heard stories about how Democrats were indoctrinating students. John’s posts, both on the Powerline website and the Center for the American Experiment’s website, go into frightening detail of how Democrats intimidate and bully conservatives.

In his post on Powerlineblog, Hinderaker quoted a student’s email to the Center for the American Experiment. It said “The day after the election I was texting my mom to pick me up from school and she almost had to!! Every teacher was crying in class, one even told the whole class ‘Trump winning is worse than 9/11 and the Columbine shooting.’ The amount of liberal propaganda that was pushed every single day in class this year was worse than it’s ever been–and you’re bullied by the teachers and every student if you dare speak against it. Yeah its horrible, the teachers can absolutely do whatever they want. The administration will do nothing about it!! The day of the election every single student was in the commons chanting ‘F*** TRUMP’ and the teachers never did anything. A LOT of people are starting to complain and my mom has some friends who are leaving the school district.”

That’s just the first of many emails that John quoted. Here’s another:

A parent describes her daughter being abused in class in an email to a school administrator:

In talking with [my daughter], it came out that yesterday in my 10th grader’s AP World class, [the teacher] called out any Trump supporters and asked them to assure the class that they weren’t racist. Both my husband and I were aghast and we felt strongly that we should say something to you. … Yesterday’s incident in her class really surprised us as it is so completely inappropriate and unprofessional. If you talk with [the teacher] about this, please don’t mention my daughter. She doesn’t want to be identified for fear of retribution.

Talk about paranoid. This teacher had Trump supporters “assure the class that they weren’t racist.” Where does this teacher’s thinking come from? It’s downright paranoid. Shouldn’t schools eliminate teacher candidates who are this paranoid and ill-informed?

Thanks to the good work of the Center for the American Experiment, we know about Edina’s government schools’ corruption.

It’s certain that we wouldn’t have found out through the Pi-Press or the Strib. That isn’t surprising since they agree with the Democrats’ agenda, especially the Strib. Now that we know that this is what our K-12 funding is going towards, it’s time we insist that things change. It’s time that we insist that teachers expressing political opinions in classrooms be terminated immediately with cause. They’re paid to teach, nothing else. It’s time we insist that teachers bullying students based on political beliefs be terminated immediately with cause. There’s no justification for bullying based on a student’s political beliefs.

Check out John’s post at Powerlineblog and his posts at the Center for the American Experiment website. They’re definitely worth reading.

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Based on this article, it sounds like Republicans are planning on playing a little political hardball. After Gov. Dayton unconstitutionally vetoed most of the legislature’s operating budget for the next biennium, Speaker Daudt spoke about Gov. Dayton’s demands for another special session. Speaker Daudt said “I’m not going to sit down with the governor to renegotiate something he has already agreed to.”

Gov. Dayton thinks that he’s dealing from a position of strength. He’s demanding that Republicans eliminate tax breaks on tobacco products, cancel changes to the state’s estate tax that would impact Minnesotans who die with estates valued at more than $2 million, or farmers and businesses valued at more than $5 million, eliminate a freeze on statewide business property taxes, remove a measure that explicitly prevents undocumented Minnesota residents from obtaining a state driver’s license and amend changes to the state’s teacher licensure system that were included in the omnibus education finance bill.

In this post, I quoted from Gov. Dayton’s letter about giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens. Gov. Dayton started the letter by saying “The un-Minnesotan provision that Republicans insisted be in the Public Safety Bill is divisive and destructive to all Minnesotans.”

In that sentence, Gov. Dayton essentially stated that Minnesotans oppose following the rule of law. That’s as asinine as the time he told St. Cloud residents they should leave the state:

Rest assured, those types of statements aren’t playing well in Minnesota. If anything, they’re alienating Minnesotans from the DFL. Further, Gov. Dayton’s demands won’t play well in rural Minnesota. If Gov. Dayton thinks he’s helping the DFL with these statements, he’s foolish. He’s driving Minnesotans away.

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This article contains a little wishful thinking. Sen. Franken told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that “no Democrat will vote to confirm Betsy DeVos” and that “Democrats were actively looking for Republicans to vote against her.”

That’s wishful thinking and then some. There isn’t a chance that Republicans will vote against an education secretary that’s a major advocate for school choice. Further, I’m more than a little skeptical that all Democrats will vote against DeVos.

If all 48 Democrats and independents vote against school choice, Republicans will hang that around their necks in 2018. If Democrats play their obstructionist card on DeVos, they’ll get painted as the obstructionists that they are.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was in full pander mode to the Democrats’ special interest allies, saying “The President’s decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country. Public education has lifted millions out of poverty, has put millions in good paying jobs, and has been the launching pad for people who went on to cure disease and to create inventions that have changed our society for the better.”

What Sen. Schumer omitted is that public schools have destroyed lots of young people’s lives while demolishing their potential. Then he said this:

Betsy DeVos would single-handedly decimate our public education system if she were confirmed. Her plan to privatize education would deprive students from a good public education, while helping students from wealthy families get another leg up. It would deprive teachers of a decent salary, and it would make it harder for parents to get a good education for their kids.

That’s more than a little over-the-top. That’s bordering on outright lying. Nobody thinks that a cabinet secretary can do all that without help from Congress, the Senate, the President and state legislatures.

This Reuters article is breathtakingly misguided. First, the article is a hatchet job about Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing. What’s important to know is that Reuters says “Next Tuesday, the Education Committee will likely approve sending her name to the full chamber when it votes in an executive session. Then, Democrats could block the nomination with a filibuster on the Senate floor.”

Has Reuters been hiding in Saddam Hussein’s rabbit hole hideout the last 4 years? Have they paid attention to the Democrats’ whining the last month? NEWS BULLETIN TO REUTERS: Harry Reid killed the filibuster of presidential cabinet nominees in 2013.

What’s noteworthy about the hearing itself is how bitchy Democrats are. For instance, the Reuters article says “Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, an advocate of tough financial regulation, asked whether DeVos or her children had attended public schools, borrowed student loans or received federal financial help known as Pell grants. ‘You have no experience with financial aid,’ Warren summed up when DeVos answered ‘no.'”

She’s a billionaire who’s contributed millions of dollars to school choice scholarship funds. Why would she then require her children to rack up a pile of student loan debt?

Many were dismayed DeVos would not pledge to carry out rules on sexual assault, for-profit colleges and fair access for students with disabilities, only saying she would review the policies.

TRANSLATION: Democrats are upset that Trump’s pick isn’t a doctrinaire liberal who supports teachers unions. My advice for them is simple: put on your big boy britches. Get over it. You lost. The new president will be taking the nation in a different, more prosperous, direction.

NOTICE TO ELIZABETH WARREN: Keep doing what you’re doing, which is acting like a bitch. You’ve been letting your hostility flood the hearings. It isn’t attractive.

Finally, it’s difficult to trust Reuters as a news organization when they don’t know basic Senate rules. It’s impossible to think of Sen. Warren as a presidential candidate. She’s a bigger bitch than Hillary, which is saying a lot, and she hates anyone who’s been successful.

One of the great things about President-Elect Trump’s cabinet picks is that it’s forcing Democrats to defend the indefensible. Contained in this article is something that’s totally black-white.

The opening paragraph states “Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Education Department, stood firm about her long held beliefs that parents, not the government, should be able to choose where to send children to school, pledging Tuesday to push voucher programs should she be confirmed to lead the nation’s education system.”

Only a union member would disagree with that statement. Parents should have the right to pick the schools their children attend. As for those defending the failed status quo in education, which is what the Democrats are doing, check out Randi Weingarten’s statement about Mrs. DeVos. I don’t think that unhinged is a strong enough word. Weingarten said “She has no connections to public schools,” Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federal of Teachers, told CNN on Tuesday. “What she wants to do is actually drain the public system of dollars it desperately needs.”

Al Franken’s round of questioning was what you’d expect from a political hack like him. This video showed that he was a political hack with a pre-orchestrated script to follow:

Then there’s this:

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, questioned whether DeVos has the “breadth and depth” of knowledge to serve as education secretary. Franken started his turn at questioning by asking DeVos whether she believes in judging children on growth or proficiency. DeVos stumbled on the question and seemingly didn’t know that this was a debate within the education community. “It surprises me that you don’t know this issue,” Franken said, later adding that he is, in fact, “not that surprised that you don’t know this issue.”

Franken then turned to DeVos’ donation to Focus on the Family, an organization that believes conversion therapy for LGBT. Franken directly asked DeVos whether she “still believes” in conversion therapy. “I have never believed in that,” DeVos said, adding, “I fully embrace equality.”

Let’s inventory Franken’s questioning. First, he insisted that the expert wasn’t an expert because she didn’t give into his liberal groupthink. Next, he insults Mrs. DeVos for not being qualified. Finally, Sen. Franken assumed that Mrs. DeVos believed something because she’s a devout Christian.

That’s fair game with Democrats like Sen. Franken. It’s considered bigotry amongst civilized, thoughtful people. Apparently, Sen. Franken isn’t a civilized, thoughtful person. Sen. Franken, like other Democrats, are guilt-by-association people. Check this article out:

DeVos’s stance on LGBT rights is not known—she has declined to comment ahead of the confirmation hearings—but there are, to put it mildly, reasons for concern.

The DeVos family has been the primary funder of some of the most anti-LGBT organizations in the country, to the tune of more than $200 million. Her father-in-law, Richard DeVos, was one of the first mega-funders of the Christian right in the 1970s, and his foundation is now a fixture at The Gathering, the Woodstock of Christian right funders, and a major funder of Focus on the Family. The DeVos Center for Religion and Society at the Heritage Foundation has promoted a quasi-theocratic worldview. And Betsy DeVos’s father, Edgar Prince, was a founder of the Family Research Council.

That’s right. Admit that they don’t know her position on something. Then, in the next breath, attack her because she’s related. Don’t find out for yourself. Just make unsubstantiated assumptions.