As candidates focus on jobs, jobs, jobs, left-leaning organizations are teeing up education as a key issue in the final days of the campaign. The teachers’ union Education Minnesota urged voters to approve a near record 78 operating levies. Ed MN President Tom Dooher said “Originally we called these levies ‘excess operating levies’ but that doesn’t fit anymore. We should be calling them ‘school survival levies’.”
Besides asking voters to kick in more money to their local schools after the “state’s failure to adequately fund education” Dooher called on “the next governor to live up to the mandates in the constitution” to fund a uniform general education system. The union has endorsed Democrat Mark Dayton, but said they’d work with whoever gets elected.
Meanwhile the DFL sent out this “reminder” to reporters on the Republican candidate for governor: “Tom Emmer would cut K-12 education by $525 million, harming districts around Minnesota. School districts are already at their breaking point, and Tom Emmer’s proposals would only mean more layoffs for local communities, a lower quality education for students, and a less-prepared generation of workers for Minnesota. Education is the key to future economic prosperity. And when it comes to education, Tom Emmer’s clearly not up for the job.”
Emmer’s Campaign Manager Cullen Sheehan responded: “The DFL should take some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars they have received from Tom Dooher and Education Minnesota and hire a math tutor because they clearly have a problem with numbers. Tom Emmer’s budget increases K-12 state spending by $500 million dollars. Mark Dayton said he would not cut K-12 funding “no exceptions, no excuses” and called shifting education funding a cut. Mark Dayton filled the $1 billion hole in his budget by shifting – or cutting if we want to use Mark’s own words – education funding.”