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Letter: Undermining education

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The Minnesota Republi-can legislators are undermin-ing education. Senator Gretchen Hoffman is their lead person. She's attempting to follow Governor Walker of Wisconsin by advocating tax cuts for one group at the ex-pense of another. These at-tacks are meant to undermine educators, not improve edu-cation. She wants to give a tax break to one group and then require teachers to pay more into their pensions at a time when Minnesota educa-tors pay in more than Wis-consin teachers. There is no mention of "closing the achievement gaps" or im-proving "average yearly pro-gress" under No Child Left Behind. There is no mention of replicating "best practices" and then placing those best practices in school districts. No, it's all about undermin-ing teachers.

Educators should be cher-ished. Educators are consis-tently at the front of the class when "a new educational idea" comes out to improve the status of their students. Someone once said "you give but little when you give of your possessions, it is when you give of yourself that you truly give." Well, that's what teachers do! They give of themselves. Three out of five teachers who enter the field leave within five years. In 1990, teacher salaries ranked 8th in the U.S., today they're 20th. It's one thing to propose to freeze salaries, but quite another to propose the de-struction of the collective bargaining process and give tax breaks to one group at the expense of others.

Public schools are part of economic development in a community. There are better ways to balance the budget. The major health companies have already agreed to pay back some of their profits to the state. Get creative, instead of following a scripted, na-tional partisan attack de-signed to undermine educa-tion.

Jerry Horgen

Henning

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