The first thing I thought after reading this article was whether the media outlet just reprinted a DFL press release. Here’s the opening to the DFL-issued statement:
St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) — Nearly $2.6 billion of the $2.8 billion borrowed from Minnesota schools has been repaid under the leadership of Governor Dayton and the DFL Legislature.
Governor Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Paul Thissen, Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter, and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius announced that Minnesota schools were repaid an additional $636 million at the end of the 2013 fiscal year.
Talk about chutzpah. That’s breathtakingly arrogant. First, the DFL’s all taxes budget didn’t go into effect until the start of the 2014 fiscal year. Further, the DFL legislature voted against the K-12 Education Omnibus bill. DFL senators didn’t vote for it. DFL representatives didn’t vote for it. Gov. Dayton signed it but only after he shut state government down for several weeks.
The GOP, thanks to the hard work of Pat Garofalo, Sondra Erickson and others, put together a fiscally responsible budget that produced a surplus. That surplus was used to refill Minnesota’s rainy day fund before being used to pay down the school shift.
Under the leadership of Governor Dayton and the DFL legislature, Minnesota has now repaid nearly $2.6 billion of the $2.8 billion that was previously borrowed from our schools.
“Last spring, the DFL legislature and I passed the first responsible state budget in more than a decade,” said Governor Dayton. “This additional repayment of the state’s debt to our schools marks another step toward a clean fiscal slate, from which we will build a better Minnesota.”
First, raising spending by $3,000,000,000, then recklessly increasing taxes and fees by $2,400,000,000 isn’t a responsible budget. Next, the money that repaid the school shift came from the budget that the GOP passed.
“Schools across Minnesota were put under enormous financial stress by the Republican school shift, and paying back every penny remains a priority in the Senate,” said Senator Bakk. “This repayment, along with the significant investments in education approved last session, further strengthens the state’s partnership with local school districts.”
The DFL legislature touts itself as ‘the Education Legislature’. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s the enemy of school reform. I wrote here about how the DFL gutted the education reforms that the GOP put into place. Here’s language from the GOP bill:
“The board must adopt rules requiring a person to pass a skills examination in reading, writing, and mathematics as a requirement for initial teacher licensure. Such rules must require colleges and universities offering a board-approved teacher preparation program to provide remedial assistance to persons who did not achieve a qualifying score on the skills examination, including those for whom English is a second language.”
Here’s language from the DFL bill that gutted the GOP’s accountability-oriented reform:
The board must adopt rules to approve teacher preparation programs. The board, upon the request of a postsecondary student preparing for teacher licensure or a licensed graduate of a teacher preparation program, shall assist in resolving a dispute between the person and a postsecondary institution providing a teacher preparation program when the dispute involves an institution’s recommendation for licensure affecting the person or the person’s credentials. At the board’s discretion, assistance may include the application of chapter 14.
The DFL bill doesnt’ require teachers to pass a test on their competency to teach a class. If the DFL wants to brag about gutting teacher accountability requirements, I won’t object.
A decade of cuts, shifts, and gimmicks caused Minnesota to lurch from one budget crisis to the next, limiting the state’s ability to fund education and job creation. This year, the Governor and DFL legislature put an end to roller-coaster deficits with a fair and balanced budget that put Minnesota on sound fiscal footing and delivered key investments in education.
Again, this isn’t an editorial. It’s an actual ‘news story’. At least, that’s what it purports to be. It’s more like a DFL press release.
Comments welcome at Let Freedom Ring.