Thursday, November 10, 2005


Scholar the Owl was pleased to find this statement on Judy Johnson's campaign mailer, received in the mail this week:
Judy will continue to work with public, private, charter and home schools to make sure all kids receive a quality education.

Terri Bonoff's web site is silent on school choice, but perhaps her endorsements from the Education Minnesota teachers union, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the Service Employees International Union speak louder than words.

Johnson isn't an anti-government school ideologue. She believes that "all kids" should "receive a quality education." Judy and her husband were listed as supporters of the Wayzata Schools levy referenda, and their kids are enrolled in Wayzata schools. Support for the public schools and school choice are not mutually exclusive (although the unions might lead you to believe otherwise). Craig Westover said it best:
In short, "public education" is education in the public interest. It is a "public good" in the sense of "benefit to all." It is worthy of tax dollars. But "public education" is NOT the private fiefdom of the tenurial few. "Public education" is NOT equivalent to a government monopoly. It is NOT a specific institution.

"School choice" is committed to the concept of "public education" in the public interest, not to any specific method of delivering knowledge and skills. A vital "public education" system consists of a diversity of educational options — government-run schools, charter schools, private schools, religious schools and a plethora of other options.

Furthermore, "school choice" means that when any educational institution is not meeting the needs of any individual student, that student has an actionable alternative — a choice. A public education system has a moral obligation to both provide that alternative and make it actionable — for all students.

Johnson is in the mainstream as a school choice supporter. According to a recent column on charter schools by Joe Nathan, Director of the University of Minnesota Center for School Change, "Eighty percent of Minnesotans answered 'yes' earlier this year, when asked in a Center for School Change poll if they thought families should have a right to choose among various public schools. Like other public schools, charters are free, non-sectarian, and open to all."

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