a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most
agreement, please indicate how you rate the following points discussed
Vision. Candidates for governor in 2010 are failing to
demonstrate sufficient vision for the future of the state.
Budget. It won't be possible to exempt education from budget
cuts to balance the budget for the next biennium.
School district size. Some school districts in Minnesota, like
Minneapolis, are too large; some, certain rural districts, are too
Minnesota would be better off it if rejected federal funds for
John Branstad (7.5) (2.5) (0) (2.5)
Vision. The cynic in me would point to our Governor for the last 8
years and say candidates have learned that a complete lack of vision
for the future of our state is by no means a barrier to being elected.
Budget. Investing in education is one of the wisest, most intelligent
uses for state resources and cuts/shifts to this area should be
'last-resort' type cuts. Can education be 100% exempt? Maybe, maybe
not. But the cuts will be much, much deeper if additional revenue
sources ("tax the rich", expand sales tax, etc.) are not used and I
believe Minnesota would be worse off for it. Minnesota's Public School
System, along with the vast majority of public school teachers, are
top-notch in spite of what certain politicians would lead people to
believe. While I agree there is always room for restructuring/reform
in our public education system, his "tenure is ... outrageous"
boogeyman argument was presented without any evidence or support.
School district size. Mr. Jennings may be correct that some districts
are too large. However, his stance regarding the current size of rural
districts completely ignores the huge geographic areas covered by many
consolidated school districts. In rural Minnesota, it's not uncommon
for kids to get on a bus 1.5 to 2 hours before school starts and not
get home until nearly 2 hours after school is out. The mentality and
approach of urban / suburban school administrators doesn't translate
to rural Minnesota in this case.
Federal funds. While I'm no fan of the strings attached to federal
funding, the current budget realities make refusing these dollars
General comments: It seems like it would serve Mr. Jennings well to
spend more time in truly rural parts of Minnesota (i.e. more rural
than Chaska). His view of LGA being a "nice to have" is short sighted,
especially for towns of a few thousand residents that are dependent on
a local farm economy (as opposed to a strong manufacturing sector,
Mary Jane Morrison (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5)
John Sievert (10) (2.5) (10) (10)
Vision. This is evident by the overall low quality of the candidates
and how little they have thought about the problems. Especially
galling is Emmer, who starts thinking about it when he is actually
campaigning and said that he was traveling the state to figure out
what to do. That's no vision; it's a 30-day strategy. Disgusting.
Budget. We need to cut deeper in other areas. This is the goose that
lays the golden egg.
Federal funds. A sensible plan for the feds would be to leave the
states with schools in the top third alone, keep a watchful eye on the
schools in the middle, and be aggressive about improvement on schools
in the bottom third. "Fairness" isn't the issue, results are.
Debby Frenzel (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (10)
Robert Freeman (10) (10) (7.5) (2.5)
Budget. Absent reforms, cuts will be harmful, and increased funding
will not change the picture.
Rick Krueger (5) (10) (5) (2.5)
Vision. So what's new? Counter-intuitively, campaigns rarely provide
a venue for serious discussion of issues. Vision gets reduced to
virtually meaningless 'bumper sticker' slogans. Regrettably there is
a huge disconnect between campaigns and governance. Some of the best
campaigners are atrocious public policy makers.
Budget. I chaired the House State Government Finance Committee, and
if we were to eliminate all three branches of government and every
state agency that would "save" about 5% of the state budget.
Education at all levels amounts to over 50% of the state budget. In
addition there are certain areas that are relatively impossible to
reduce without aggravating other budget problems. For example cutting
programs that are required for a federal match can have the impact of
increasing greater deficits. From a practical perspective, debt
service is another area that is relatively untouchable. So given how
irresponsible we have been paying for services we already have
accepted, (this) likely means all areas of the budget need to be on
the table in order to get us out of the mess we are in.
School district size. I am not convinced that it is the size of the
district that is the critical factor. The bigger issue is how best to
serve students in districts where the "deck is stacked against them"
from the start. There is evidence that some of the high performance
school districts actually make less annual progress with
demographically challenged students than their larger (or smaller)
Federal funds. It depends on the specific federal program. I don't
know what percentage federal funds account for on average in
Minnesota, but it used to be approximately 3%. That doesn't seem to
be the most important issue to focus on in education budgets than the
Tom King (5) (10) (5) (10)
Vision. It always comes down to whose vision makes the most sense to
us. The last governor who had or supported a vision for education
was, believe it or not, Rudy Perpich. A case might also be made for
Wendy Anderson, but he promoted himself to U.S. Senator, so we will
never know for sure.
Budget. Not unless repair to the State Capitol dome finds a cache of
bullion hidden somewhere in the walls. The other formerly sacred cow,
Health and Human Services, will also find its rations reduced.
Carville was wrong. It's not the economy. It's the expectations of
those of us who believe we have a perdurable right to its fruits, no
School district size. The size of the districts is not nearly as
critical an issue as the disparity in achievement among our learners.
Nor is there any evidence that it's even correlated with more
effective learning. Classrooms, of course, are another issue
Federal funds. Only a short time ago, I would have strongly disagreed
with this statement. Having recently seen what the feds have done
with NCLB, RTTT and lately the efforts of Secretary Duncan to put the
onus entirely on teacher performance, I now believe our founders were
right: education is the purview of the states.
Dave Broden (10) (10) (0) (7.5)
Vision. The candidates seem to think in sound-bytes not in vision.
Successful governors (most, but not all) have shown a vision and then
worked to make it happen. The three (candidates) this year each have
some soft vision words on redesign or tax-the-rich etc. but not a
meaningful full-scope vision that will lead and shape Minnesota for
the future. It is also important to note that often someone else or
some group defines a vision and the candidate grasps this vision and
uses it--today there is no strong vision package that can be used.
Budget. Definitely agree particularly if the term “budget cuts” also
means change in structure and how objectives are achieved. Adjustment
for budget cuts in education may have to be sold as value added tax
School district size. Size is a bad word. As in business, big
businesses work well, small businesses work well, mid size businesses
work well. Similarly in government small states work well --large ones
have issues but some work well also. Let’s not worry so much about
size but about process and outcome. Moving to outcome-based structure
and stressing innovation is simply not size-dependent. Let the size
roll with the people who are the district—yes, there max be a some
critical minimum for some reason but focus on that does not add value.
Federal funds. Generally agree, but use of federal money, if provided
to meet reasonable value-added objectives and not connected with a
long checklist of federal must-do’s to be compliant, then may make
some sense. If the federal government causes the state to lower or
shift superior operations or processes then the federal money is
simply the wrong color.
Dennis L. Johnson (10) (10) (7.5) (10)
General comment: Why was there no discussion at all about the
teacher's unions, and their role in both education costs and
rigidities in the system?
W.D. (Bill) Hamm (10) (10) (7.5) (10)
Vision. Not the spark of a new idea among the leading three choices.
Budget. This is going to be like pulling teeth without Novocain
because it means taming the teachers’ unions control over us all.
School district size. SD consolidation went well beyond what was best
for kids and created institutions rather than schools. In the process
we lost local control and decisionmaking.
Federal funds. While I agree with his statements as far as they went,
they also lack any understanding of what we lost.
Peter Hennessey (5) (10) (10) (10)
Vision. Sorry to be doing a Clinton, but it really depends on how you
define "vision" and what you are willing to accept as evidence of
"vision." Is it "vision" if you promote progressive policies even
though they are disastrous failures, but it is evidence of 'lack of
vision" if you propose going back to standards that worked very well
before the progressive "reforms"?
Budget. Not just the next biennium but all the biennium to come. You
have to find a way to maximize the dollars going into the classroom,
and forcefully minimize the administrative overhead -- non-teaching
staff, pensions, the whole works. Pay the teachers, buy the supplies,
eliminate non-teaching expenses, fire the bureaucrats. I went to
different schools in three States. As I recall, even the deans of boys
and girls had at least one classroom teaching assignment. The football
and baseball coaches were also classroom teachers. The PE teacher also
taught history. The principal in one school was also a vice mayor.
School administrative staff consisted of a couple of secretaries in
the front office. And they still got the job done, even in a working
class urban neighborhood. We did not have to leave textbooks in the
classroom, to share with the next class, as they do in San Francisco.
Classroom time was not spent on doing homework, because obviously you
could not take your books home. And there were no federal mandates, so
there was no army of administrative staff, bigger than the teaching
staff that is the norm today, to explain, enforce and document
School district size. If they are too big, why don't you cut them
down to size? People can relate to people, but they are inhibited and
disgusted by bloated bureaucracies. Opt for local control, accessible
to the parents.
Federal funds. With funds come mandates, whether they make sense or
not. Case history: State College, Pennsylvania 16801, home of The
Pennsylvania State University. Practically everybody employed at PSU.
Small enough, rich enough, enlightened enough, good enough balance
between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, to have
good local government and adequate public support. So in the
mid-1960's the feds decided to "help" schools with funds they can't
raise locally. Great! But within one year came the first of a long
series of strings attached: local schools must offer school
lunch... Everybody was baffled and outraged. The town is small enough
for every kid to walk home for lunch, or they brown-bag it, and anyway
no more than a dozen kids out of a few thousand would benefit. Too
bad. You can't return the money. The town had to raise several times
the federal funds they received to retrofit all the schools with
cafeterias and kitchens, which then stayed unused or underused for
years. The point is, let the locals control their schools. Far-away
bureaucrats do not know better.
Jack Evert (2.5) (0) (5) (2.5)
Vision. We only have three choices. I think Horner is doing the best
job of the three.
Budget. Here is one place where I agree with the "starve the beast"
mentality. The teachers' unions are too powerful and exert a negative
influence on the quality of education in MN. And pensions must be on
the block as part of all this (as Horner has advocated).
Federal funds. I think the Obama administration has shown some useful
approaches in their revisions of NCLB. The State could benefit from
this and then take the money to boot.
Bob White (7.5) (7.5) (10) (2.5)
Alan Miller (8) (2) (8) (0)
depends which candidate you listen to with regard to a vision for the
future. The refusal of Federal funding and options, as well as health
care, by the current Administration, has been catastrophic.
Kevin Edberg (6) (7) (8) (8)
Outstanding session, and on so many more points than simply
Mr.Jennings’ insights on education. The thoughts from this session
deserve wider testing with other visitors.
Lynn Gitelis (10) (10) (10) (0)
think we would be better off if we disregarded everything we currently
have in place and began all over again. We know that if we landed on
this planet for the first time today, we would not create the mishmash
of programs and systems that we have now. The problem with massive
re-engineering is that it takes a lot money and unchanging leadership
for around 10 years, and in a political system, neither is likely to
be present. I wonder sometimes if the Itasca group or some group like
them should be "deputized" to run a re-engineering effort. The
political system is not likely to be able to muster the ability to
challenge the status quo nor to sustain the effort in the face of the
inevitable storm of protests.
Phil Herwig (10) (10) (9) (10)
would enjoy sending a comment. However, given the current crop of
candidates we have for governor, Minnesota is in for four long years
of zero leadership!
Clarence Shallbetter (8) (8) (10) (8)
Ray Cox (10) (10) (10) (10)
School funding cannot be spared in this time of economic turmoil, as
unpleasant as that may be. Labor agreements are going to have to be
modified substantially. We need to be instituting full-year schooling
with school employees working 52 weeks in some form of 7-9 weeks on
for students, 1-2 weeks off. We cannot continue to model our school
year on an agrarian economy. I agree that the federal government has
no business in state education and we should reject their funds.
Minnesota will be a stronger state by doing that. The key to school
performance is centered on family life and how parents take care of
and raise their children. If we cannot improve that we will never
substantially improve school achievement. Lastly, the 'tax the rich'
plans will not work. The rich have the means and methods available to
eliminate many taxes, including relocating a residence. The poor do
not have these options. What we need is fair taxes and well run
governments where taxpayers do not object to paying taxes and feel
they are getting good value from the government. We are a long way
from that position right now.
Dave Christianson (8) (10) (7) (8)
Jennings has particularly good observations about localized revenues
and spending, with accountability, including school districts. MN was
perfectly able to maintain a world-class education system before state
aid and especially without federal unfunded mandates. Our tax code
needs both to be progressive in rate schedules, and incent growth.
Quie (10) (10) (10) (10)
on cutting the size of school districts. The few school districts that
might be "too small" are not hurting us. Cutting size is more
difficult than consolidating. We have already less than 22% as many
districts as we once had. Dave made excellent comments. I especially
agree that it would be better if we did not take federal funds for
education except for research. It would be better if we did not have
the LGA program or the state limiting local taxes.
Bright Dornblaser (10) (5) (8) (1)
Bert Press (10) (10) (10) (10)
Paul and Ruth Hauge (8) (7) (9) (5)
Jerry Fruin (10) (10) (8) (5)
Rick Bishop (7) (5) (7) (1)
Carolyn Ring (10) (9) (8) (4)
Leadership is badly needed in the Governor's chair, and so far, none
of the candidates has shown that capability. We need a well thought
out plan for the future of Minnesota based on outcomes and how we get
Donald H. Anderson (8) (8) (5) (10)
Reject federal funds if they continue to be tied to the No Child Left
Behind Act as it presently stands.
David Detert (10) (10) (10) (10)
is there going to be a discussion of year round school?
Chuck Lutz (6) (9) (9) (7)
Andy Driscoll (-) (-) (-) (-)
You're doing a bang-up job with this outfit and the website,
especially these days.
Ted Kolderie (-) (-) (-) (-)
continues to amaze me how people can at the same time look to 'the
governor' for leadership and yet see, and accept, that the candidates
for governor don't/won't deal realistically with the problems.
Everyone continues to over-personify the process. "When elected I will
. . ." "He will do this . . ."
Larry Schluter (7) (8) (9) (7)
lot of good ideas. I would like to see David Jennings lead the debate
with the governor candidates and be able to ask follow-up questions if
the candidate does not answer the question or dodge it.
Robert J. Brown (8) (10) (5) (5)
School district size. Minneapolis is only about half as big as it
once was in terms of student enrollment so if the trend continues it
may not be too big – if the overhead is cut in proportion to the
decline in number of students. Some rural districts serve large
geographic areas and it may be difficult to have them serve even
larger areas. If intermediate districts picked up some of the
nonacademic things (insurance, purchasing, etc.) then small enrollment
districts could still exist and would give their constituents a
personal relationship that is necessary for effective education.
Federal funds. I agree with this in theory, but schools and the state
are so dependent on the federal money now it would be difficult to
replace most of the federal money for things like special education,
the lunch programs, and paying the salaries of most of the state
department of education. If the economy turns around and the state had
a long-term plan it would be possible (and good) to phase out some of
the federal involvement.
Ray Ayotte (7.5) (10) (10) (5)