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Letter: Response to 'Undermining education'

I've always found it funny, the way in which negativity spreads like a chaotic and rampant disease when it comes to issues which should be looked at through a lens of ambition and optimism. Issues such as education and the negativity which is not heard from people like Senator Gretchen Hoffman, but from those who attack our conservative Legislature and shove that negative rhetoric into the mouths of our Republican Senators and Representatives.

I wish to address the unfactual and frivolous letter which was written a few days ago by Jerry Horgen in regard to Senator Hoffman and her outlook on education. While I respect the opinions of all people and feel that every American citizen is entitled to freedom of speech and thought, I simply could not let such unfounded lies and bias spiel go uncommented upon.

Let not Horgen's letter become a town crier lament for the Minnesota educational system before you know all the facts; facts which that last letter conveniently left out. I agree that educators should be given the utmost respect for the work they do and I challenge anyone to find a single negative word from Sen. Hoffman directed towards our Minnesota teachers and educational employees. You would most certainly come up empty handed from your search.

Sen. Hoffman campaigned on a better educational system for rural Minnesota and the state as a whole. And so far I have seen nothing but the senator keeping her promise down in St. Paul. The senator is in favor of the Senate education bill which contains numerous mandate repeals which give control over schools back to their local community. This means we, the citizens of Otter Tail County and our local officials, will have say over our school system. Tell me how that undermines educators when we're bringing local control back to our schools so they are not controlled by people hundreds of miles away from the district?

There are also measures in the bill which plainly save the jobs of many of our teachers. I believe the last estimate was the measures in this bill save 1,000+ statewide public education jobs and around $104,000,000 to use in order to save education jobs and programs.

How does keeping teachers from losing their jobs translate to undermining teachers?

As for the "proposed destruction of the collective bargaining process" I would again challenge anyone to find a quote from Sen. Hoffman or any conservative senator even remotely hinting at that. The measures in the bill which affect the striking rights and tenure of teachers do not take right away from teachers but, in fact, give them more ability to be recognized for their efforts! Our Minnesota legislators are giving teachers the opportunity to showcase what they can do and to be rewarded for their outstanding efforts!

The bill includes a measure which has teachers being evaluated every five years based on their performance and the performance of their students. I would think parents would want these sorts of measures in which the school is aware of the performance history of the people responsible for our children's education. Besides, if you are a good teacher then there is nothing to worry about. All jobs are subject to performance evaluations, even the kid who bags your groceries at the supermarket. It is ridiculous and so utterly false to try and twist this as unfair.

I would encourage everyone to read the bills Senator Hoffman is in favor of; call her office and speak with her or her staff, email her. She is so easy to get in touch with that you need not take my word or Jerry Horgen's word about what she stands for. Just ask the Senator herself.

Ginny Saul

Fergus Falls