Gov. Walz ignores meeting requests from parents, so they go to him

Minnesota parents, education advocates and even students themselves have been urging Gov. Tim Walz to stand up for all students by expanding school choice through Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). But it has been an uphill battle to get Walz’s attention to even discuss the school choice provision.

A rally in front of the Governor’s Mansion in May, a press conference last week (June 3) and another press conference yesterday (June 10) in front of the Minnesota State Capitol all asking for a meeting with the governor have so far only resulted in a form letter from Walz’s office filled with platitudes.

“How frustrating,” said Kofi Montzka, a mom of three and a founding member of The Exodus Minnesota, an organization started by five black mothers who believe expanding school choice is a must to ensure all students can access a quality education.

Oredola Taylor, a founding member of The Exodus

Oredola Taylor and Earline McCauley, also both founding members of The Exodus, delivered powerful messages in front of the Capitol yesterday, telling Gov. Walz and Democratic leadership to fund students over systems and asking why meeting requests have been ignored.

“We [parents] just need a little bit more control so we can get our kids out of failing schools and into schools that are determined to educate them,” said Taylor.

“Why is Gov. Walz not out here?” McCauley asked. “Parents are out here begging, and parents should not have to beg for more school choice. We are tired of waiting. We cannot waste any more time on kids not learning.”

Dawn Beavers, a former public school teacher, also spoke in support of Education Savings Accounts, sharing how her daughter struggled greatly when her school was closed during COVID-19, so the family moved her to a private school that was open for in-person learning. Beavers wants all families, regardless of income, to have the same opportunity to access the school that works best for their children.

Despite being invited to the school choice press conference, Gov. Walz scheduled his own last minute press conference yesterday, 15 minutes after the moms spoke. But not to be deterred, the school choice supporters walked into the Capitol and positioned themselves around the microphone where Walz would be speaking. His aides stood in front of the largest portion of the group, blocking the children standing in front.

But this didn’t prevent school choice signs from being seen in every camera angle. After Walz’s remarks (which didn’t acknowledge the group), Taylor gave her contact information to one of his aides and repeated the request for a meeting.