Focus on education

To the editor:

An editorial about the state of education in Minnesota was startling. After years of legislators using budget shifts to rob our schools of needed funds, our state ranks 29th among the 50 states for its graduation rate.  Statistics also show we have one of the largest gaps between racial groups for graduation.

At a Burnsville town hall meeting Saturday, Jan. 26, to their credit, state Sen. Jim Carlson, and state Reps. Will Morgan and Sandra Masin pledged to safeguard the state’s education budget and work to pass full-day kindergarten legislation, in light of data about the receptivity of young minds. The meeting itself was well-attended, and provided the opportunity for comment by supporters and critics of education. Teachers like me, who are beleaguered by classes of 40 and more students, welcome the promise of the legislators. A letter recently suggested more parents home-school their children. In theory this might give parents more input and control in their children’s lives but the number of parents able to live on a single income may be limited to begin with.

Our state’s children deserve the best education we can give them, and scrimping on schools is not the way to achieve that goal. Investing in the development of our young people, has them flourish and our economy as well, all at the same time.

Larry Koenck

  • Rosie from Rosemount

    It is interesting that Mr. Koenck draws parallels between all day kindergarten and home schooling with the economic feasability of a parent to remain home in order to instruct.

    Perhaps if the taxpayers were not required to pay so much earnings to fruitless government programs and useless bureaucracy, more parents could afford to be home for their families.

    When the teachers’ unions begin to take seriously the need to stop protecting mediocrity and worse in their ranks, I will begin to take seriously their argument to expand the current near-monopoly they have on our education system. When was the last time anyone ever heard of a teacher from a local district getting fired for reasons other than serious legal misgivings, such as theft, embzzlement or sexual misconduct? How can it be that every teacher is so good that he or she is able to retain their career with advancement and pay increases year after year? It is simply unrealistic. Yet, the unions scream about those in the private sector who are allegedly overpaid or lack effort in their earning endeavors. Still, those in the private sector face being fired for anything but producing results. A union teacher merely needs to provide mediocre performance to get a raise and continue with his or hers career.

    I see no reason why taxpayers should throw more good money at a system which refuses to police itself and provide better ongoing results. Instead they protect their own and claim that everyone but themselves are the problem. You just can’t have it both ways. As the saying goes, “put up or….”

  • TheLip

    RFR, you ask some good questions that will never be answered honestly. I always thought is was the private sector screeming about how the unions are over paid. I am just wondering why any one would want to get into teaching, you can never win. The public whips you, parents who’s kids are “perfect” abuse you, students abuse you, and parents who do not give a hoot are no help.

  • Rosie from Rosemount

    TL, I am interested to understand from you why my references will not be addressed in an honest way. Potential obfuscation by the named parties aside, I would hope that some type of genuine argument could be generated in order to establish credibility. I am giving the benefit of the doubt; maybe that is too much?

  • TheLip

    I think it is a protect your own attitude when it comes to removing a poor teacher. Also I think it could be fear of retaliation if one teacher is to report or comment on the poor performance of another. In short the CYA attitude will prevent any type of meaningful reform when it comes to removing poor teachers.

    • Rosie from Rosemount

      Yes TL, I agree withyou to a large extent. In non-government enterprise, workers outside of union ranks who exhibit poor attitiude or who perform poorly receive just the opposite treatment from their peers in comparison to your insight. Essentially, those who work hard in private industry do not respect those who do not carry their weight as this causes others to pick up slack or the whole team to look bad. The union attitude, and especially in teaching, is to protect those who underperform and allow those who slack off to hide behind tenure or seniority. The result is the whole system looks bad despite the heroic efforts of some to surpass minimum quality criteria.

      The whole thing just lacks honesty. Again, many are willing to consider their attitude of support for public schools if the union makes real reform in these matters. Short of reform, talk on the subject by teachers, unions and their supporters amounts to weightless fluff.

  • Rosie from Rosemount

    No one cares to dissent from my post? The silence is deafening.