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Horner on Education: More Corporate GOP Doublespeak

Category: Tom Horner
Posted: 09/21/10 00:23

by Dave Mindeman

Sorry, but this is another post about Tom Horner. I have trouble understanding why Democrats would send their vote his way because I think he is being intellectually dishonest with us.

For instance, he talked about his programs for education. He gives lip service to educational support but continues the Republican programs that have slowly starved public education.

1) The $1.4 billion Shift. While telling us that education needs to have steady funding, he tells us that he can't find a way to get that back to the schools any sooner than 2014. His position is not a digit different from Tom Emmer.

2) Teacher's Union to Blame. Here's a quote:

"We need Education Minnesota to either join us as partners, or we'll have to work around the barriers the union has established," he said. "There are too many instances of good teachers, and along with them good programs, being lost to outdated seniority rules."

Good teachers and good programs are lost because the funding forces school districts to cut staff. In some instances, tenure may cause a young, innovative teacher to get lost in the shuffle..but by the same token we get to keep good teachers with a wealth of experience that might be gone if salary is the only criteria used to make those cuts.

In addition, Horner expresses support for alternative licensure. Bringing in professionals to teach with a minimum of certification. But what we neglect to talk about it is what type of "alternative professional" teachers will work for the salaries we are willing to pay teachers currently? Will we get the best professionals? Ones who would be willing to give up lucrative private sector salaries?

Horner voices the same tired Republican line that education problems are focused on the teachers. It is easy to demonize the teacher's union --but they have to fight for their membership because they are vulnerable in this budget cutting climate.

He and Emmer, again, are no different.

3) Higher Education Gets More. Horner does step up with significant help (at least on paper) for higher education. At least there is a chance that tuition could be spared yet another hike. But Horner doesn't pay for this higher ed support with taxes on those who benefit from it. No, his revenue source is not taxes on the wealthy, it is taxes on the middle class. The same people who are struggling with tuition for their kids are asked to pay that tax on clothing to keep the funding in place.

Different from Emmer, but mixed revenue priorites.

Horner does talk about about moving to better support for early childhood education....actually all three candidates have voiced support for this in one way or another.

But Horner doesn't talk in this regard with the voice of true understanding:

Horner, who after the forum acknowledged that he had never attended public schools.

He has never been involved in public education up close and personal. How does he really know what teachers are up against? How does he know what the inner city schools deal with?

Horner speaks to what he knows. He's a corporate, 3 piece suit, Republican.

It is as simple as that.
comments (8) permalink
08/15/15 11:52

09/22/10 11:58

It's obvious that you have not listened to the debate that occured on the floor of the House on May 11. I provided all the links you need to get there. I'd have posted a link but this Blog is not set up to accept direct links. Instead of hearing the facts, you choose to ignore them and simply repeat the headline talking points of ED MN.

This is not about computer skills. It is not about teaching skills as a profession. It's about closing the achievement gap. Put your head in the sand if you like, but this is one demonstrated method of closing that gap. And you are right about the money. This is not about budgets, it's about helping inner-city schools deal with drop-out rates many multiples of normal. It's about mentoring kids through school.

It's about who cares for kids and who cares about being endorsed by ED MN in the next election. I know for a FACT that one Republican was given ED MN's endorsement because he voted against this measure. They bought his vote and he was dutifully awarded an endorsement. It's amazing how cheap some votes can be bought. You listen to that video and I guarantee you will walk away shaking your head in bewilderment.

09/22/10 11:32
and I don't know about you, but I guess I would prefer that instructors in the various fields should be the best qualified people with the best preparation. I'm not sure that a 20 year vet in computers can simply turn around and educate people directly about what he knows. Teaching is still a skill.
09/22/10 11:27
on Teach for America....this is a fine program but I'm surprised you are so excited about it. From what little I know about it, it has a number of government subsidies from Americorps. There is no cost savings to the school district because they are paid and have the same benefits as the other teachers. And these "volunteers" have only a two year committment and for that, they get some student loan forgiveness. The program is fine but it is not a substitute for other teachers. It's purpose is to get help in places that have teacher shortages.
09/22/10 11:04

Another point that needs to be made is that it is not just teachers that are facing this issue. Nursing instructors, business instructors, professional trade instructors, are all facing this same situation. The academic requirement to get an MS is a huge roadblock to recruiting teachers. Why? Because if you were going to study enough to get a MS in a subject, you are going to focus on a career that uses that MS for the biggest $$$. You are not going to get an MS in teaching. I've known nurses, for example, who would like to teach, need to jump through the hoop of getting an MS in teaching on top of being a licensed nurse, and find that they would be WAY more valuable to a hospital as a nurse with an MS in nursing, not an MS in teaching.

ED MN hates this for reasons I can only speculate. I referred to it as Gold-Bricking previously. Gold bricking is a reference to a union's way of creating a slow-down in production. While this is not a slow-down, the manifestation is. In a slow down, the stewards come around and threaten workers that are over-producing, making the rest of the workers look bad. This is no different, these young bucks come in and turn around young teens at risk for dropping out. They do it by relating and mentoring them through school. It makes the old white guys with the teaching degrees look bad, so they fight it--damn the kids.

09/22/10 10:43

I'm glad you asked. Two scenerios: 1) rural schools with not enough students to warrant, for example, a chemistry and a math teacher. So they get waivers and have one do double duty. The school district could opt to find a good alternative and supervise the heck out of them. and 2) inner-city schools interested in closing the achievement gap can recruit, primarily people of color, to provide teachers that inspire students. The DFL shot down the entire measure. When you listen to the debate on the House floor, you will hear passionate and dedicated people describe how the measure would provide an incremental improvement to what is in place now.

"Teach for America" is a program gaining HUGE success in closing the achievement gap in inner-city schools around the country. The premise is simple. Take people who are passionate about learning, and kids, and inject them into classrooms that have failed to engage learning. These are typically high functioning students of color--in the 90%tile themselves--young, often from similar ghetto situations, that can engage these high-risk teens and get them to turn around their academic path.

The measure imposed substantial restrictions on qualified candidates. 3.0GPA for example, is not a requirement for being a teacher. They must have actually passed their curricula test, which is not required of standard teachers who have 3 years to complete. They are subject to a mentor group of other licensed teacher--again, a step above the standard path. They must be in the Union, which undoubtedly was a concession to ED MN. And finally they must be on a path that leads to standard licensure within 3 years.

ED MN hates this. Those Reps rising to argue the ED MN case presented strawman arguments about the 'fairness' of making a standard teacher do all the academic work. The debate was 50%/50% yet the final vote went down on party lines. Disgusting!

09/22/10 00:03
Exactly what purpose does alternative licensure serve+
09/21/10 23:38
Dave, I speak to issues, not candidates. The Gov is not the King. Policy and funding all starts in the legislature.

You indicate:

"Good teachers and good programs are lost because the funding forces school districts to cut staff. In some instances, tenure may cause a young, innovative teacher to get lost in the shuffle."

You are further critical of alternative licensure for teachers. I honestly believe your criticism is unfounded and uninformed. ED MN has spent a lot of money to fight it. If you want to hear the floor debate, go to the Legislature website, house audio & video, House floor sessions, 2010, scroll to May 11, 2010, part 3, watch video. Demmer(R) presents the amendment at 1:38:30, which Mariani(D) (Ed committee Chair) strongly supported. Pro and Con debate ensues. Demmer closes at 2:36 and Mariani closes at 2:51. So we are talking about 1:13 of discussion.

This is important, and it will be heard again. Passions and hate runs high. You will see and hear real tears of passion, and bursts of outrageous lies.

The Amendment allowed voluntary adoption of "Teach for America" style program, mentored and monitored by Hamline University. The debate is about 50% from each side of the aisle, but the vote came down to party politics as usual, with ED MN's Dooher foaming at the mouth over non-issues. The opposition used strawman arguments to simply thwart the measure, regardless of value, insignificant cost, and its educational merit.

Particular passion was presented by Jeff Hayden (D), a Black Rep from Mpls at 2:10:30. Linda Slocum (D) is a ED MN Teacher and strongly supports it--see 2:20:20.

This was pure and simple "gold bricking" on the part of ED MN. It's disgusting that the DFL, the party purporting to be for those in need, will let this irresponsible union run our schools.


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