I’m running: Schools show Republican failuresWhen I was a skinny kid in Worthington, from a family without much money and searching for a future, education gave me a chance.
By: Matt Entenza, DFL candidate for governo, Lake County News Chronicle
When I was a skinny kid in Worthington, from a family without much money and searching for a future, education gave me a chance. A chance to go to college, build a career prosecuting white-collar criminals, and begin a lifetime in public service. But for our kids, particularly in rural Minnesota, those kinds of chances have started drifting out of reach. It’s long past time that we were honest about why.
The simple truth is that Republicans like Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Tom Emmer think it’s more important to give a tax cut to someone living on Lake Minnetonka than it is to give our kids a five-day school week.
You don’t have to take my word for it – all you have to do is look around. The Lake Superior School District is trying to shift to a four-day week to avoid cutting teachers and programs. Our leaders just wrote our schools a $2 billion IOU. And under George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy, we’re still wasting countless hours putting kids through standardized tests that don’t actually measure their progress. These failures are Tim Pawlenty’s legacy, and now Tom Emmer is calling him “fabulous.” I think our kids would disagree.
What I know about the Pawlenty-Emmer agenda, I know from experience. In 2005, when I was the leader of the DFL in the House, Tim Pawlenty wanted to throw thousands of Minnesotans off of MinnesotaCare. But I said “no.”
Tim Pawlenty dug in his heels and he shut down the government. But, along with Dean Johnson, I stood face-to-face with him and stood up for Minnesota families. I didn’t blink, even when some in my own party thought we should give in.
Just like any bully on the playground, when someone really stood up to him, Tim Pawlenty flinched. He gave in, and thousands of Minnesotans kept their healthcare. Tim Pawlenty lost, and Minnesotans won.
Now, after four years of seeing Tim Pawlenty win and Minnesotans lose, Minnesota families need a governor who will stand up for them.
As governor, I will stand up for our kids, and rebuild our education system.
My first act as governor will be to get rid of NCLB once and for all. It has shamed and blamed our public schools based on tests that don’t help our kids. If NCLB had dictated Thomas Edison’s education, he probably never would have invented the light bulb – he would have been too busy taking tests about the best ways to make candles.
I will replace NCLB with accountability measures that work. With fewer and better tests, we’ll ensure that our kids are learning with measurements that make sense. When schools continually struggle we’ll work together toward solutions that account for the unique circumstances of every community.
I will also expand teacher mentoring programs that both save money and make teachers more effective, using a proven program pioneered in Mankato. I will encourage collaboration and innovation, by creating a state-wide clearinghouse of best practices so that teachers throughout Minnesota can share lesson plans and good ideas. And I will recognize the great returns achieved through smart investments in early childhood education.
All of our children have dreams, and much of what they achieve is up to them. But we owe them a fighting chance. When I walk through Worthington someday, and see another skinny kid who hasn’t had all the breaks, I want to be able to look him in the eye, and know that I did everything I could to give him the opportunity that Minnesota gave me. That’s the Minnesota I want to lead.