My stance on education
Working in a factory to pay for college taught me three important lessons:
- Skilled trades are vital to America’s economy and national security
- I was very fortunate to return to college each year to read, learn, and debate
- If I ever became an instructor my style would be different. After teaching at 12 colleges and 2 prisons in Minnesota this college newspaper (pages 7 and 8) summarizes my approach.
Minnesota was once a leader in education reform – the Minnesota Miracle legislation of 1971 reformed school funding and charter schools were created in 1992 but what ground breaking innovation have we had in the last 30 years?
During the 2023 legislative session I want to advocate education policy changes based on the following critical thinking:
- Competition – my “schools within a school” essay outlines a framework where teacher salaries increase based on demand and without raising taxes.
- Empowering families – education funding should follow students not simply get poured into our education system bureaucracy. Reading and Math achievement gaps need new approaches so let’s allow parents and students to determine what works best for them.
- College Access and Affordability – in 1995 the State of Minnesota decided “to merge the 7 state universities, 34 technical colleges and 21 community colleges under one board.” (Source: Minnesota State website) to become a centralized bureaucracy called MNScu (now Minnesota State). Over the last 27 years the education industry, technology, student needs, and the global economy have dramatically changed so reform is overdue. The 2023 legislature should advance legislation to phase out the MNScu/Minnesota State central bureaucracy coupled with empowering the 62 schools currently in the system to follow their own paths. One possibility that would benefit students in House 53A is the creation of a K-14 entity via the merger of Inver Hills College and Simley Schools/District 199. The money saved from eliminating duplicate functions once the merger is complete could be re-allocated to teachers for equipping their classrooms and buying supplies – no more pleading with PSTA volunteers to host fundraising events!
- Restructuring – unfortunately most governors simply fill the cabinet/commissioner positions based on political allies, policy agendas, and other motivations so as a member of the House of Representatives I would work with our Senate to drive changes via the commissioner confirmation process. One reform I discuss when campaigning is combining the state Department of Education (DOE) with our state Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to become the Department of Education and Economic Development (DEED. Taxpayers would benefit from combining two commissioner offices into one coupled with staff overhead cost savings. The money saved could be re-allocated into classrooms and/or paid internships for students via reductions in business taxes.
Overall the status quo in Minnesota’s education system needs reform and a little revolution which would empower students, parents, and teachers to innovate, compete, and succeed versus simply feeding the beast which is our current education-industrial complex.
For an audio explanation of proposals such as these please listen to my interview with the Jack Tomczak Podcast for AM1280 (36 minutes in length but based on decades of thinking!).