- Sen. Larry Pogemiller (DFL-Minneapolis), arch nemesis of the Republicans, favoring "across the board" spending cuts of 13.65 percent, which would mean a $1.5 beeel-yun cut for K-12 education.
- Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall), House Minority Leader and conservative stalwart, responding with "I don't think that slashing K-12 funding and dumping quality improvement programs [Q-Comp] is the right answer to what ails Minnesota."
Democrats calling for cuts to K-12 funding? Republicans, including the governor, vowing to hold K-12 harmless? Curiouser and curiouser.
In the words of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, "You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid."
Governor Pawlenty, this is not the time to let a crisis to go to waste.
Republicans should (I can't believe I'm writing this) reach across the aisle to Sen. Pogemiller in a bipartisan spirit to help him reach his bold goal of cutting $1.5 billion from Minnesota's K-12 budget. We should start by opting out from the impossible "Adequate Yearly Progress" accountability provisions of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). School districts are finding that the costs of compliance with NCLB are exceeding the federal funding they receive from it.
We should continue by dusting off Republican K-12 education reform measures that increase school choice (education tax credits), increase the local control of our independent school districts, and decrease the power of the state and Education Minnesota over those districts' local decision making.
I know, only in Wonderland.