1. _6.7 average___ On a scale of (0)
strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong
agreement, should the Legislature significantly increase state aid to
districts in 2009?
2. _5.6 average___ On a scale of (0)
strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong
agreement, should some school districts receive more funding be cause
costs of living in urban areas?
3. _6.1 average__ On a scale of (0)
strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong
agreement, should school districts be required to demonstrate how
funding will produce better student learning?
Cam Gordon (10) (8) (5)
It should demonstrate how is has been used to do so, not WILL do so.
How can they demonstrate something that has not happened yet? Measure
the results and then base decisions on doing them again or not on
Paul Hauge (9) (9) (9)
Jennifer Armstrong (10) (10) (0)
I think the crux of arguments about changing the way we fund schools
boils down to two central pieces:
1. Even though we talk about the state having a constitutional
obligation to provide a high quality education for every Minnesota
child, I don't think people really mean it. We have six counties in MN
with fewer than 1,000 K-12 students. Do we really want to provide the
same quality education to these geographically remote students? I'm
thinking advanced chemistry, calculus, and AP History. What are we
saying to these children and families when we say to them, you can
take these classes if you move to the Cities? We need to get over fair
is equal and start exploring multiple delivery models. We need to
start collectively asking and answering visioning questions around:
What is a world class education? What is a 21st century education? Do
the standards define that, or do we want something more, e.g.,
technology, health, world languages, critical thinking, creative arts
(art, music, theater, dance, performance, band, orchestra, choir)? How
do we make sure every child in the state has access to resources to
accomplish that education? Are you really going to deliver Chinese
language instruction to students in St. Louis County?
2. There's fundamental disagreement about the role of government and
who should pay for it. We've lost our sense of public good. Today,
people relate to government as consumers: I pay taxes, you provide
these goods and services. It used to be people related to government
as community-builders: We need a city hall, hospital, library, school?
Let's build it. I think somebody needs to have the courage to engage
Minnesota in a conversation (public debate? perhaps ask MPR Public
Insights Radio to do a series of community forums, statewide), about
whether or not the MN tax structure should be based on a percent of
income. As a middle-class Minnesotan, I pay roughly 16, 17, 18, 20% of
my income to taxes. What of the 47 Minnesotan's that bring in over a
billion each year? Should they pay the same? I don't know the answer
to that question. All I know is I'm willing to pay my fair share. I
think the tax structure should be mildly progressive. I don't think
the tax structure should be built around the fortunes of 47 people.
There's too much risk inherent in those revenues going away. Instead,
I think the tax structure should be weighted so that all essentially
pay the same percent of income, but for the mega-wealthy it's paid
through luxury taxes somehow. That gives them the option of buying
their airplanes and yachts here or elsewhere. But then, if their taxes
are optional, so too shouldn't be mine?
A wisdom-keeper once told me the people at the cutting edge of
knowledge -- the Edisons, Einsteins and Newtons of the world, aren't
the ones who have all the answers. They're the ones asking new
questions. We need to be less invested in the answers (the solution du
jour), and more willing to participate in asking the hard questions.
Question 1: Duh. We've only been disinvesting in our schools for the
past twenty years.
Question 2: Note: This question is VERY poorly worded. It will delight
the "divide and conquer" strategists, which is not something I'm
certain you meant to do. OF COURSE, my local superintendent and
neighbors despise any hint metro districts might get more money. (He's
not at all dissuaded by the idea that most state income tax revenues
are generated in the Cities.) Taken in isolation, I'm sure you'll get
LOTS of comments back, both sides. Each piece of HF 4178 will have
positive/negative local impacts, depending on the local
characteristics of these three layers: students, central support
(district) services and community-based variables. Local school
districts operate in a CONTEXT. One of the things HF 4178 begins to
address is the CONTEXT of delivering a high quality education. To take
one of those variables out of context is a disservice to the bill, and
a disservice to the state discussion. Imagine peeling an onion. You
need all of the layers to have a healthy dialogue about the aesthetic
of the whole.
Question 3: Absolutely not. Let's fix the holes in the cafeteria
ceilings, get class sizes down, update our textbooks, fill and staff
our libraries and music rooms, AND put current technology in place
before we start asking more of our schools.
That's NOT to say we shouldn't be using the MCA data to identify
schools showing great gains and figure out what they're doing right so
we can generate and spread best practices. (By the way, where is the
University in all of this? How is it we can get "More than 125
experts, including University scientists and public and private
natural resource planners and professionals," to participate in an
18-month effort to produce the MN Statewide Conservation and
Preservation Plan (environment.umn.edu/scpp/finalplan.html), but we
can't manage to figure out these three questions about the Achievement
Gap: What is it? Where is it? What the heck can we do about it?
I guess there's a third piece I'd add to the crux of the arguments: We
cannot hold schools accountable for all of society's ills. We owe a
huge debt of gratitude to Carlos Mariani, Myron Orfield, Jermaine
Toney and others for beginning to use the words structural racism. We
need to address the barriers to student achievement -- household
employment, housing, transportation, medical care, etc. It's not just
a matter of making sure children are Ready 4 K, it's making sure
children arrive at school ready to learn every day.
Does it matter that I live in a MN county where 47% of jobs pay less
than a living wage. Should we be having conversations about the things
that perpetuate poverty? Absolutely. Example: I read a 2006 report
that estimated the annual MN public cost of alcohol use at ~27% of
total state revenues. Say what? I can send you the data. The current
DWI system is incredibly regressive. You and I can likely pay the
court fines, keep our jobs; impacts to low-income children and
families are horrendous.
And so we're back to complex layers. Like I said, I don't have all of
the answers, but I really, really do think people need to start asking
the hard questions and STOP framing things in terms of this or that.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mindy Greiling and those willing to
stand with her for bringing conversations about school funding to a
new level. It's very, very hard to appreciate the whole onion when
people position things in terms of discrete layers.
We can do better than a toggle switch.
Jan Hively (8) (5) (3)
Wonderful goals with attention to the details of implementation. Does
it have a chance of passage?
Question 1. This funding is what the state promised and never gave.
Why should we beg for it?
Question 2. Too much time is being spent now testing "basic skills"
Question 3. My answer would be "10" on this if I thought that all of
the people who count on well-educated high school graduates had a
chance to define the goals for "better student learning." I'd state
goals that would match up with the skills, habits and attitudes
related to productivity -- which go far beyond 3rd grade reading and
8th grade algebra -- and a process for learning that includes the
factors identified by research to be important to "better learning."
Jim Keller (2) (0) (10)
This appears to be an increase of over 50 per cent (7 to 11 B per
biennium) with no need specifically demonstrated
The change to a flat support of elementary and secondary students is
questionable with no demonstration that the costs are equal
What is the need for additional pupil aid in low income areas - it is
my understanding that there is already relatively more spent on
special ed in these areas.
Cost of living adjustments for the metro area seems questionable,
since the rural areas have more difficulty hiring teachers than the
Charles Lutz (10) (8) (8)
Vici Oshiro (10) (7) (5)
Best part about Greiling's proposals is long range view and a plan on
how to get from here to there. We owe P S Minnesota a big thank you
for their research and leadership. Legislature has a history of
micromanagement and short term thinking.
On cost of living issue, that's been around a long time with differing
data some supported idea that cost of living is higher in metro area,
some did not. Show me the comprehensive numbers.
On demonstrating how additional funding will produce better student
learning. This looks like it could easily lead to make work and
distract from basic mission.
Dennis L. Johnson (0) (0) (10)
Until States fund the student (parents) and not the bureaucracies the
schools have built up, there will be no improvements in education. The
states should get out of the education business and parents should be
free to choose home schooling, on line education, or their choice of
private or religious schools. Costs above the taxpayer-funded level
will be the responsibility of the parents.
The topic is of national concern. My general comments are: Year-round
schooling runs against the grain of the American lifestyle. Family
vacations are generally planned around the kids' summer break. Family
values are already in jeopardy. The Year-Round proposal would play
havoc with family practices, here. As for financial assistance, I have
always maintained that the emphasis should be placed at the elementary
school level during the formative years of the student. By high
school, too many questionable study and learning habits tend to be
already 'etched in stone'.
Now the survey: Strong agreement with the pre-kindergarten concept. I
have often wondered why some grad student hasn't undertaken the task
of proposing standards for pre-school educators to get the ball
rolling? Nos. 2 and 3 I give take a neutral stand only because I feel
as for (2) student performance should be a determining factor. With
(3) schools should enter competitive application for funds similar to
the grant fund request process.
Patty Hague (10) (8) (2)
Donald H. Anderson (10) (8) (5)
Education is very important in the overall economy of the State and
cannot be treated as it has in recent years with more responsibility
being placed on the local school system and its own ability to collect
revenue regardless of the economic and age structure of that
community. Thus the State much play a major role, as well as the
Federal government in providing adequate funds for the education of
our younger generation.
Clarence Shallbetter (4) (5) (9)
John Nowicki (10) (7) (3)
Robert Klungness (10) (6) (7)
Lyall Schwarzkopf (4) (4) (0)
The teacher's union negotiates contracts with the School Boards. If
they want more money for areas that have a higher cost, it will be
negotiated. In 2009, it will be very difficult for the legislature and
governor to balance the state budget. With the downturn of the economy
it will be even more difficult. We don't need to raise state aid in
Craig Westover (5) (5) (0)
The problem with Greiling's approach is that while recognizing the
individual differences among students (by defining different funding
requirements for students with different backgrounds), Greiling
continues to provide funding to a monopoly state-run education system
with aggregate standards and curriculum. A better alternative is
funding individual families based on differences, enabling them to
make education decisions based on their individual needs. Using
Greiling's numbers, here is an alternative approach:
Given the cost of basic education funding at $7,500 per student, a
family can choose to send its children to any accredited school --
public or private, secular or religious. The state will pay directly
to the school 80 percent of the cost of tuition up to $7,500. Families
would pay 20 percent of the cost of tuition. (The 20 percent
requirement would be waived for low-income families). This approach
brings new money into education without raising taxes on everyone and
enables individuals to make decisions about the education it wants for
Individuals without children could receive a tax credit equal to 80
percent (up to $7,500) of every dollar donated to a public or private
school or a scholarship foundation providing K-12 scholarships. This
also puts new money into education without raising taxes. A similar
program should be implemented for business and corporate contributions
to K-12 education.
The additional $2,500 per student based on free or reduced meals and
the 20 percent formula allowance for students with limited English
proficiency should be attached to individual students and provided to
the schools they choose to attend at an 80 percent rate to the school
(with the 20 percent holdback waived if a school has a significantly
high proportion of low-income and/or limited English students). The
remaining 20 percent and any unused portion of the $7,500 allowance
after tuition is paid should go to the district school in the
geographic area in which the family lives on an annual basis for a set
period of years (e.g. three years) to compensate the district school
for lost revenue.
The level of funding is not the problem with education. The problem is
how the money is spent. No group of educators, legislators or
bureaucrats can create an education system the meets the needs of all
students. A state-run education system fosters conflicts among people
of different values and different education expectations. Under the
current system, the only way a family can ensure its needs are met is
by using the political power of the state and forcing its views on
others. A system based on choice doesn’t eliminate conflict, but a
system based on choice provides a way to resolve conflict without
coercion. People will choose and take their dollars where they are
As long as the focus is on the education system, rather than on
individual students, education will continue to be a funding black
David Broden (8) (4) (2)
Question 1: Yes but with a strong sense of purpose of the
increase--not funds for funding sake only but with a purpose to
upgrade the overall quality of education across the state--this must
include innovation in education such as on-line capability to enable
sharing of teacher skills across districts--we do not need duplicate
teachers in all districts --share the skill and direct the funds to
the students. Funds in some cases should be for technology and
tactility upgrade if that fits the funding criteria --w need to use a
portion of the added funding to achieve individual instruction ---and
further reduce the group teaching-need to focus on innovation in
techniques with the overall fund increase.
Question 2: No, this should not be the primary criteria for funding
distribution--we can establish some sort of a formula for cost of
living adjustment, district size or travel/bus distances but we should
not or cannot discriminate between the students in rural Minnesota and
the urban/metro--the student across Minnesota need access to the same
basic capability--there may be some factors if additional courses are
added but we need to be careful--rural students should not be
penalized because they are from the farm or small town-simply does not
make sense in any way.
Question 3: Measuring results before the funds are spent makes no
sense. Defining a way to have strong purpose for the funds--asking the
districts to show how the added funds will be applied--not just we
have more money lets spent it thinking--so a monitoring system with
out a check list and excessive mandates tied to it should be able to
work. A way to reduce the funds to a district if value is not shown
each year does make sense--this measurement needs both local
district--and state oversight--but not by a bureaucratic mess to
manage the measurement.
Mary Tambornino (10) (10) (10)
This must have been an energizing session. I don't know Rep. Greiling,
but your excellent summary suggests that she has a remarkable
combination of experience, vision, practicality and, not least,
willingness to work hard at translating inventive ideas into appealing
My ratings below are short of 10 because I'm sure there are reasonable
arguments against some of her proposals -- arguments about which I'm
insufficiently informed. Certainly education funding increases will be
difficult to support when the state faces daunting fiscal problems,
compounded (perhaps exponentially) by the national and international
financial crisis. But neither can the state afford to fail doing
everything possible to improve K-12 education.
Chris Brazelton (9) (5) (10)
Question 1: Only if we can come to agreement on raising the revenue to
pay for it.
Question 2: Some of those costs are offset by access to public
transportation, something almost non existent in rural areas.
Bill Hamm (0) (0) (0)
All of these questions lead into the "New Minnesota Miracle" model not
out of it. A little history lesson here, 1967 the Federal Dept. of
Education was created and staffed strongly by the Teachers Union
Representation organized in 1964 as a result of the Civil Rights act.
Now you have the groundwork for the Federal takeover of Education
which is what the first "Minnesota Miracle" was all about, selling us
out to the socialist takeover of education by connecting up to the
Regional Education Laboratory System ours was MCREL. MCREL became the
intermediary between Federal and State Departments of Education as
well as the source of all curricular material.
Let us take a moment to describe what our education system had looked
like when we were truly an education leader. Our education system was
first and foremost a "Liberal Arts" knowledge based program that was
locally controlled right down to the choice of curriculum and dress
code. Within that system every segment competed with every other
segments providing proof positive of what worked and what did not as
well as who was able to teach and who was not while our districts
still had authority to deal with less than productive teachers. Our
school system existed for the purpose of teaching our children what
they needed to know to move onward and upward after High School, it
was student based. The root word of teacher is teach and the
definition of teach is to impart the knowledge of, (whatever subject
was being taught) and that is what a "Liberal Arts" based system does
and has done since Greek times.
Let us look at the UN based "World Class" education model now, ( first
signed on to in 1959 by Eisenhower, signed out of by Jimmy Carter, and
signed back onto by Ronald Reagan). The "World Class" education model
has some extreme problems right from the start due to the mixture of
phonetic and cuneiform (often called "see and say") learning styles in
its language education component. It gets worse when you also come to
realize that it is based upon the needs of global business (the
collective needs not individual) and is based on minimal needs of
business not what is best for the child (grade 8 standards rather than
the grade 10.5 we had before). Looking deeper you find a psychology
and philosophy based education system not a knowledge based one, in
short it is no longer teaching but training that is happening in our
schools. Finally we come down to the kingpin here, how do you get rid
of a tenured bad teacher this is what the teachers union was about
doing in this whole deal, making it almost impossible to get rid of
people who many time should not have chosen this profession. It
actually goes deeper than that as we use to draw our best and
brightest to the teaching profession, now it is less important how
intelligent they are than it is that they are good team players. We
stifle the system out of any change oriented activities instead of
encouraging them as we did in the old system that could make or break
them, we undermine any education competition as divisive and avoid by
all means any objective analysis of teacher performance under this new
"World Class" model. In short this system is bad from every angle yet
the push is on to deepen this bad connection again. While this is the
extremely short version, we do need to work hard and together to get
back to the true "Liberal Arts Knowledge Based" system controlled by
local citizens and competing against each other academically again. I
trust what works not any central control model that undermines local
input, ideas, and growth.
I didn't get much beyond response number 1 in your discussion of HF
4178. The bill includes something called the Location Equity Index
that guarantees Minneapolis will continue to get the biggest
percentage of ed money, just like it does now. With that whopper from
the pols, didn't seem like going on made much sense. The bill is an
election year ploy to charge taxpayers more for education even though
schools are graduating fewer students (a deal any industry would love
to get, charge more money for fewer products). More money but no
improvements in an outdated system. The miracle is that so many can
say so much with a straight face.
Bill Kuisle (2) (0) (10)
Ray Schmitz (8) (8) (2)
First, I have this general feeling that the school board system is no
longer an effective method of administering schools. If there is
statewide funding, and professional administrative staff at the local
level, what real function does the board perform/
Second, Does the current administrative system in local districts
duplicate and/or replicate function. That is, does each district need
the cadre of administrators in curriculum, programming, etc. or could
those functions be provided by the state since the requirements are
put in place by the state department.
Question 3: This again simply leads to the grant writing model taking
precedence in the systems, that is, to get the money we have to write
a proposal so we hire folks to do so, this does not necessarily lead
to real change. I heard a military recruiter commenting that high
performing high school grads are not able to pass the military
Rob Duchscher (10) (5) (5)
All public schools can use more funding. But we need funding without
chains. Shifting money around or allocating funds with specific
targets, doesn’t help the General Fund in many situations. Special
Education costs are killing all of us.
Our mission for our 28,000 students is “to educate all students to
reach their full potential”. We are wondering if we can accomplish
this mission in today’s market. ISD 196 is somewhat of a poster child
for finances. We are sitting really well and enjoy great support from
our Community. However this comes from hard work and a solid 5 year
plan. It would be great if the State could provide us with a 2 – 4
year plan so we can take “small course corrections” versus massive
Qcomp is a great program. Our District has embraced it. This won’t be
very popular with the Union that supported me for 3 elections but
revamp the tenure system. Any industry has good employees and bad
employees. We need to be able to get rid of the employees who no
longer think they need to do the job.
Keep the focus on “cores”. We need to get these students ready to
compete world wide.
Lastly, a longer school year. Something that needs to be looked at in
my opinion. Currently not enough contact days.
This is a terrible plan. Throwing an additional $2 billion at
education simply because they need the money will not create a better
system. To say this plan some how represents the work of the Minnesota
Miracle is a insult to those who truly worked on that project.
Bob and Jackie Olson (1) (2) (7)
I believe that the multitude of tax formulas should be simplified
whether they are fair and equitable or not. Reading the proposal makes
me think that the additional "improvements" are neither. I wonder
about the additional $2 billlion cost especially at these hard
times.and also wonder about making kindergarten an all day affair or
special ed at age 3 at the school.
Anne Finch (10) (8) (2)
Incentives to economize need to come for the WHOLE of MN not school
district by school district. I will use the example of creating Smart
Board classes.....having each school district fund the creation is not
as cost effective as creating ONCE then giving to ALL school districts
to customize from a base. Same with training teachers on this
technology. Vs only affording to send a few.....do what businesses do.
Have a "Virtual Classroom/ELearning" set up, one instructor can teach
literally hunderds of teachers without anyone traveling anywhere. I
think on the whole we can be more effective with our $$ vs. having the
districts nickel and dime their savings. Similarly schools that have
re-engineered their classes into a more problem solving/engineering
focus. How to we incent them to publish these for use by all schools.
The technology is now there to make all this readily available to all
schools vs. again having them all do it on their own over and over.
4. So we are letting the entertainment/leasure industry drive our kids
education?! Maybe is why global specialists see America's future as
the entertainment capital of the world while India and China take over
the innovation space! Shameful if that is the reason we can't go to
longer school years. Challenge those industries to propose programs
that mix entertainment and education as a class maybe summer becomes
picking education camps we would fund instead?! See TechID Camp (www.internaldrive.com)
and www.bestprep.org as two places that have made "fun" summer
learning camps. Year long school doesn't have to mean more time
sitting behind a desk in a school building....lets get creative.
9. Huge cost savings and for today's learners we must adjust our
teaching methods to the new reality of expectations based on the multi
media world our kids are growing up in. The standard methods are no
longer a match for how their brains are wired. Read books on how Gen Y
learns best, also the "New Brain".
13. I agree. I would suggest that they are able to stop focusing on
fund raising and focus instead of engaging not just the students but
the parents. Engagement at home is a critical success factor that all
the in-school work in the world can't totally address. Yes this may
mean some funding has to go to parent engagement.
Question 1. YES!!!!! Highest priority above all else we must invest in
our future. We must change the social reward structure for teachers
vs. other professions. We need a campaign to help those "that don't
have kids", "already raised my kids", "I pay private already"...to
understand the long and short term ramifications of NOT funding better
and benefit OF funding better. What happens to whole economy and
support structure when done well vs. done poorly.
Question 2. I do agree teachers in metro areas have a higher cost of
living thus need higher salaries. That said I think we also need to
pay a premium to attract good teachers to very rural areas in
MN...while their cost of living may be low...there are other
disadvantages we need to counter to give similar quality teachers to
the more remote areas. (Also need to be open to other teaching models
to address that problem - distance learning, virtual classrooms,
e-learning). But I do not think that metro schools should get better
equipment, connections or access to resources. That needs to be evened
out so students across the state get consistent opportunities.
Question 3. I don't believe all school districts have equal
"talent/experience" with how to turn additional funds into equally
better learning. I think some schools do much better with their $$
than others and we would be better off with best practices across the
schools driving methods to leverage funding to produce better student
learning vs. promoting re-inventing the wheel school district by
school district. That shouldn't take away from the flexibility that is
needed for special needs of a school district. I do feel that school
districts should be able to make a case for special funding uses due
to their special district needs (ie low at home reading skills might
justify more after school tutor/reading resources). In business under
performing departments get "help/expertise" from solidly performing
departments vs. being asked to solve it themselves. We need to find
ways to get more bang for our buck by leveraging best practices cross
MN vs asking the schools to come up with ideas for change. At some
point it doesn't even become an option to ask for help, they are
"assigned help" just like in business.
Dan Loritz (3) (2) (9)
If we start with the assumption that there will never be enough money
for the schools (echoes of Rudy Perpich) the question we are left with
is what is the appropriate amount of investment to get the results
that we need. We need to shift the discussion from "we need this" to
"we need to use our funding in the following way". One Perpichism -
Rudy would ask school superintends, when they came looking for new
money, to tell them what the new money would be used for. Once they
laid out their priorities he would say "How important is it? They
would say "Very important." Rudy would then say "No really how
important is it? and they would say "It is very, very important". He
would ask again and they would say very, very, very important. This
would go on. He would then say if it so important what can you stop
doing that is less important to pay for these things. The conversation
would end there. I agree with what Rudy was driving at (I suspect you
already know that).
Robert A. Freeman (6) (10) (10)
According to this recap, schools will only be required to file a plan
with the Education Dept of how this 50% increase if they are not
making progress. This appears to be the only transparency measure in
the proposal. There is apparently no plan for accountability to
parents or taxpayers, no consequences if the funding infusion does not
work, no attempts to reform the way we train or pay teachers. It is
difficult to see how this can be described as anything other than
throwing money at the problem. New increases in education funding must
be tied to results or at least tied to a plan of how results will be
achieved. It is not even clear what will be considered an improvement
David Alden (8) (5) (2)
Donna Anderson (6) (5) (10)
Ruth Usem (8) (8) (8)
I am casting my vote(s) with the understanding that there will be good
oversight of any additional state aid increase in 2009.
Don Mink (10) (7) (9)
Glenn S. Dorfman (0) (5) (10)
Robert J. Brown (3) (2) (10)
Question 1: Any increases in aid should be related to performance. It
does no good to give more money to schools to do the same things if
they haven’t been successful. Increases should relate to increases in
student progress, attendance, and graduation rates.
Question 2: One of the problems with the school aid formulae over the
years is that they are a mess of special interest packages to buy
support of various constituencies. Once you start with this type of
thing then other groups come in with their “unique needs” such as
geographic isolation and you end up with the kind of formula we have
today. If you are to have special treatment of certain factors,
population density, percent of students in poverty, etc, those things
should be based objective research, not just on political clout.
Malcolm McLean (8) (9) (8)
This was an impressive look at school funding. She touched most bases
and seeks to eliminate some problems, such as too much reliance on
property taxes and differential between high school and elementary
school funding. It will be hard, of course, to do all this soon with
the economy reeling, but some steps forward should be taken, and no
priority should be higher than education.