The most important issue for the residents of Minneapolis and Richfield as well as the future of our families, is the deplorable condition of the public education system. For over 40 years the taxpayers have increased funding (in real, inflation adjusted dollars) to our schools. The result has been declining test scores and some of the worst graduation rates in the country, especially for our minority and disadvantaged students. Individual teachers can be great, but despite their efforts the public education system is failing students. A poor education can condemn our children and grandchildren to a life of poverty, dependency or low income jobs. We must do better.
The experiment has been conducted and the only conclusion that can be reached is that more money equals a worse education. We cannot continue to fund failure. We cannot just maintain the status quo. Parents and students deserve education choice. Charter schools are a start but must continue to offer approaches, other options. Opportunity scholarships will allow our poorest students the financial mobility to choose the school best for them. Tax credits will fuel this opportunity. No more across the board funding increases until results are improved. Increase in teacher pay should be offset by cuts in administration. The old model of public education is not working. We must change our approach. We must reward success not failure. We must do it for the children.