Friday, March 23, 2007

Education Minnesota cashing in their chips - and children suffer

By John Helmberger

MFC supports school choice as a key part of the solution to the problem off ailing public schools. Nobody cares more about the education of children than their parents do, and nobody is in a better position to determine what's best for their children's education than the parents are.

So we share the dismay of charter school supporters around the state at the Minnesota Senate proposal to limit school choice by capping the number of charter schools in the state at barely more than the current number (Pioneer Press, March 23rd).

Minnesota's experience with charter schools may not be problem-free, but there is no disputing the fact that they have given thousands of students, and their parents, a desperately needed alternative to public schools that were letting them down. Nick Coleman's ranting in the Strib not withstanding, the success of the charter school experiment makes the senate proposal to pull the plug on them that much more difficult to explain. Even House education advocate, Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville) - no moderate herself - described the proposal as "a pretty loopy idea that came out of left field," according to the Pioneer Press.

We think the Senate's "loopy" proposal reveals who's really in control overthere: Education Minnesota, the state's largest teachers' union, which played a major role in the DFL legislative gains last November, is calling in it's chips.