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by Dan Burns
Jun 6, 2019, 11:00 AM

A pathological hatred of school funding

This is from January.

Gov. Tim Walz is aiming to overhaul the way Minnesota funds its schools, putting more responsibility on the state and making local referendums “either rare or extinct.”

As he finalizes his first budget, the DFL governor said he’s focused on reversing what he sees as a disturbing trend: a leveling off in state support for education that’s putting more pressure on local funding and widening gaps between wealthy and poor and between metro and outstate schools…he said his budget — due by Feb. 19 — will include several proposals that would “start to set the groundwork” for a shift away from the bonding and operating referendums that currently add up to more than $1.6 billion in school funding each year.
(Star Tribune)

A noble ambition, and in other, better circumstances a doable one. But the Party of Trump-controlled Minnesota Senate blocked most of it.

Election day for many school referendums in Minnesota was May 14. In the metro, everything passed. In Greater Minnesota, that was not the case.

There is a “rural/urban divide” in Minnesota as far as how majorities vote. The reason I hate that phrase is that it is twisted by corporate media to imply that electing right-wing legislators actually makes sense for rural Minnesotans. Which is arrant nonsense indeed. For example, the essence of the above is that Walz’s proposals would have greatly benefited outstate schools and communities. It was mostly outstate legislators that stiffed them.

That said, I don’t believe that outstate voters really hate schools and education. Rather:

– There is real, and justified, concern about the cost, especially among elderly homeowners. That of course is exactly what Walz’s original proposal was meant to resolve.

– Yeah, it does make parents uneasy when their kids come home from school questioning the beliefs and values with which they were instilled from early childhood. But, contrary to the stereotype, that doesn’t just apply to evangelical conservative parents, even if it is most prevalent there. And, while I’m not one myself, from everything I’ve heard and seen it’s frankly part of life as a parent in any case.

– There is a hard care that is deeply suspicious of “government schools.” But it’s a small minority. Most parents approve of their kids’ schools.

So, not “pathological hatred.” Rather, concerns that, while they certainly wouldn’t cause me to vote against a referendum, much less turn against public schools in general, are compelling to others. That’s what we have to deal with.

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