if the university of minnesota can have 200 students in a classroom, why can’t your high school?
i'd like to think that i'd champion public schools even if i had pursued a different career path. i've been a public school kid from garlough elementary, to grass junior high, to sibley high school, to the universities of minnesota and wisconsin. i've personally reaped the benefits of a public school education, while the writings of jefferson and others on the subject have made me a true believer.
with dozens of closely-contested school bonding referenda looming on the election calendar, however, i sometimes wonder about the opposing viewpoint -- that public schools are taking too much of our resources or that they have outlived their usefulness altogether. well, here's a nice example of the sort of ideal-typical arguments made by those who vote no on such referenda.
the speaker, mr. phil krinkie, once represented my district in the state legislature -- a fact that nearly enraged/inspired me to seek political office myself. today, mr. krinkie is president of the taxpayers league of minnesota. via mn2020.org and lori sturdevant's piece today in the strib, i got word of the following excerpts and video clip taken from his september 14 speech at a schools for equity in education meeting in st. paul. a few highlights:
On public school parents: “If a child goes to a private school, you have a significant investment on the line, and therefore you want performance from both the school and your son or daughter. Public school — what’s your investment? For most parents, cash out of pocket? Little or nothing. But yet, they can continue to make demands on the system. They don’t have any ‘skin in the game.’ But they come to the third grade teacher and say, ‘Why can’t my son read?’ This is what I call the ‘all you can eat buffet.’ They get to come in, they don’t pay for the up-front cash invested in the system, yet they get to consume all they want, and if they are not satisfied, in other words, ‘I need more roast beef, I want another piece of apple pie,’ then it’s up to the system to try to provide it. The parent can continue to demand whatever they want even though they have invested little or nothing in terms of money.”
On class size: “If the University of Minnesota can have 200 students in a classroom, why can’t your high school?”
On special education students: “Stop spending millions and millions of dollars where there is no true possibility of academic improvement or academic success. There are hundreds, thousands of children in our public schools today that we are babysitting, we are warehousing them. When we pay a para to be in a classroom to take care of the child’s feeding tube, there is literally no way that individual is going to gain anything from being in that school building.”
On emotionally disturbed students: “The same thing is true of our emotionally disturbed children who disrupt the entire classroom, the entire building. The one that I think is the easiest to remove from the classroom is the aggressive or violent student in the school building that needs to be taken out. The way we get them out is to give them a voucher and say good-bye.”
yeesh. i find such comments demoralizing but instructive, as they are the most unminnesotan utterances i've ever heard by a former officeholder in my home state.