Recent events at the Capitol make clear that we Minnesotans are on track for one of the biggest tax increases in recent state history.
But suppose you could wave a magic wand and erase our budget deficit, pay off the $801 million left from the school shift, actually have a surplus — and do it all without raising taxes. There’d be dancing in the streets, right?
Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up. The latest cause célèbre for prominent lawyers and judges in Minneapolis is the rights of a new, disenfranchised class of victims who, we’re told, can’t vote, serve on juries, or — in some cases — live in public housing.
Is a bigger K-12 budget a key to improving academic achievement in Minnesota schools, especially for poor, minority students? Lots of folks at the State Capitol say the answer is yes.
The latest proof that they’re wrong comes from Camden, New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie just announced the State will be taking control of Camden’s public schools. Christie says the step is necessary because the district is “at the breaking point,” with “chronic and severe problems.”
Testimony of Katherine Kersten on S.F. 783—“The Safe and Supportive Schools Act”—before the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee
March 15, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear that the Constitution protects freedom of speech for students in public schools. As the Court declared in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District in 1969, it “has been the unmistakeable holding of this court for almost 50 years” that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
The marriage amendment may have fallen short at the polls in November, but a majority of Minnesotans continue to support marriage as the union of one man and one woman, according to recent polls by KSTP/SurveyUSA and the Star Tribune. In the Star Tribune poll, only 38 percent said they favored legalization of same-sex marriage.
Excitement over new early childhood education initiatives is building at the State Capitol. No wonder. After years of frustration and failure in trying to shrink our state's yawning K-12 racial and income achievement gap, there's hope that we may have found a new, and simpler, route to success.
Who -- in the sensitive, civilized Minnesota of 2013 -- could possibly be in favor of bullying? If you were short or fat in sixth grade, you may have cringed from bullies yourself. If your kids have endured bullying, you've suffered through it with them. No child should have to put up with bullying. So how could a decent person oppose a campaign at our State Capitol to prevent it?
On just about every front today, Europe offers Americans a peek around the corner at our future. We seem to be taking Greece as our model on government debt, France on entrenched unemployment, and Italy and Spain on the bloated welfare state.
Minnesota's secretary of state is our state's chief elections official. His duty to impartially administer elections requires him—more than any other constitutional officer—to remain above the fray of partisan politics. Yet on the proposed voter ID amendment, which he opposes, Mark Ritchie has replaced the Legislature's straightforward title with a fog of bureaucratic gobbledygook.