Minnesota schools need more, much more

  • Article by: Tom Dooher, Bob Meeks and Gary Amoroso
  • Updated: March 14, 2013 - 8:36 PM

Here are three important recommendations (which would merely catch up with inflation).

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pumiceMar. 14, 13 6:08 PM

Whoa.... Education Minnesota, the Minnesota School Boards Association, and the Minnesota Association of School Administrators all literally on the same page!

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ti1310Mar. 14, 13 7:38 PM

Critics will balk at the cost. They always do. But they need to answer this question: If we really believe public education is the engine of our economy, when are we going to start acting like it?--- You want a 10 percent increase in funding all fine and good. Then the three authors can sign on for a 10 percent across the board increase in student achievement but you know they wont because then they would be accountable. these people always talk about needing more money but never talk about the improved results that we should expect for the additional funding.

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FrankLMar. 14, 13 8:43 PM

They seem to forget the fact that MPS spends more per student than the cost of a private school. Why don't the schools first pledge to hold down the number of administrators. How about that the employment in a district will 90% teachers with full day student contact and 10% administrators. If that means fewer memos are sent, so much the better.

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swmnguyMar. 14, 13 9:01 PM

Absolutely it's time to fully fund education. Past time, actually. But it's also time to acknowledge and fund the non-educational functions we assign to the schools, or to separate those responsibilities from the schools and fund them in other ways. Functions like providing meals to students who don't get them at home, medical screening and care to students who don't get them at home, taxpayer-funded daycare for employers who neither pay their employees enough nor provide such services as benefits (ever wonder why metro schools never have snow days?).

It's also way past time we acknowledge the high and ever-rising costs of Special Education, and the skyrocketing incidence of Autism-spectrum disorders in our communities.

And it's time we admitted that school achievement, or the lack of it rather, tracks poverty exactly. Superimpose a district map over a map of income from census data, and you'll see the schools where kids get bad test scores. It's a bit beyond the mandate and resources of the schools to single-handedly reverse the effects of poverty, when we as a society refuse to face up to it.

When people complain about the cost of education, they rarely admit that the fiasco of our health care finance mess is the main driver of increased employment costs. People gripe about the pay teachers get, but they don't seem to mind how much people get paid in any other profession that requires a Masters Degree as a minimum for a career, along with ongoing training and retraining. I've never heard of anyone leaving a comparable profession to go into teaching for the money, and neither has anyone else because that would be absurd.

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supervon2Mar. 14, 13 9:04 PM

Education Minnesota wanting more money? I never heard of such a thing!

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farcicalMar. 14, 13 9:07 PM

ENOUGH WITH THE PER-PUPIL AVG COMPARISONS! Private schools (and some charters) cherry-pick their students and usually have involved, supportive parents. Public Schools ACCEPT EVERY KID who walks through the doors. That requires additional resources. True reform would eliminate all private schools and limit charters to truly underserved populations. But this is the USA, where some privileged, racist/classist, and/or limousine liberals enjoy living in their gated communities and then complain about the "other" people always causing problems. Teachers & Schools or Police/Correctional Officers and prisons. Which is a better investment?

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bootsy07Mar. 14, 1310:00 PM

I have no problem with more money for education, but it is galling that we have a system where we can't get rid of the dead weight or bad apples because of union protections. In much of the private sector, a strategic layoff or simply firing the incompetent has a cleansing effect, and everyone benefits. We need to be able to do that in public education.

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buzzard23Mar. 14, 1310:21 PM

"That’s why our classroom teachers, school board members and school administrators have formed an unprecedented alliance to support three legislative priorities. These priorities will benefit all Minnesota students, from their first day in kindergarten until they graduate into the postsecondary program of their choice." What is wrong with our school system? The fact that classroom teachers, school board members and school administrators working together on priorities that benefit all Minnesota students is an 'unprecedented' alliance. Sad.

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ztwoodsMar. 14, 1311:00 PM

The cost to schools of unfunded mandates takes a huge amount of money out of the general education budget. If a law is passed mandating schools to implement a program the schools should be allowed to not implement the program if it is not fully funded. No new mandates should be allowed without adequate funding built into the bill.

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tonyyarussoMar. 15, 1312:46 AM

Quote FrankL, "They seem to forget the fact that MPS spends more per student than the cost of a private school." ==== A *huge* portion of that is because of special ed costs. My mom at one point compared the cost-per-pupil for the private school I went to and the public school district we live in, and found that if you didn't count the special ed portion of the public schools' budget, the figures were nearly identical. The private school simply didn't have any special ed - if you couldn't succeed without it, you had to go to the public school instead.

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