To the editor:
In the previous decade, the incumbent from Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, Rep. John Kline, traveled with then- education committee Chair Rep. John Boehner to talk about the benefits of No Child Left Behind. Recently Mr. Kline, still a good friend of Mr. Boehner and now himself education committee chair, held meetings in Minnesota about the benefits of charter schools.
He was accompanied by Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., a committee member. Messer is a former legal counsel for Koch Industries, former CEO of School Choice Indiana and a leading supporter of Indiana’s private school voucher law.
Charter schools, although good in concept, often fail in execution. As noted on Minnesota Public Radio, students at charter schools don’t do as well academically as students in traditional district schools, according to research by Myron Orfield, director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity.
“The problem is the vast majority of charters are underperforming and maybe 25, 30 percent of them are just really terrible and they go on from year to year,” said Orfield, one of the biggest critics of charter schools in Minnesota. “They’re considerably worse than the public schools.”
Brian Sweeney, director of external affairs for Charter School Partners, a group that helps start and support new charter schools, and his group back a Minnesota bill that would compel authorizers to close underperforming schools. If it were law, 17 of the state’s 157 charters would be flagged for closure.
Public education must not be sacrificed to help a private-education system of doubtful value that contributes to the election campaign of the incumbent education committee chair. Our state’s future depends on all students doing well, not just the financial elite.
That’s why I’m supporting Mike Obermueller for Congress in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. Obermueller believes that all students need a good education, not just the favored few.
RONALD S. GOLDSER