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District 45 Candidates Focus on Education Funding, Achievement Gap in Forum

Candidates from District 45 answered education-based questions at a forum last week.

Adult basic education, special education, the achievement gap and early childhood education were topics discussed at the Robbinsdale Area Schools Legislative Action Coalition last week.

Attendees included:

  • candidate for Senate District 45
  • Blaire Tremere, candidate for Senate District 45 
  • candidate for State Representative District 45B
  • Lyndon Carlson, candidate for State Representative District 45A
  • Jeffrey Pauley, candidate for State Representative District 45A

Reid Johnson, the GOP candidate for State Representative District 45B could not attend.

Moderator Carissa Wyant asked a total of eight questions through the hour-long forum. Each candidate had 90 seconds to answer. The below topics were discussed:

Early Childhood Education: All candidates agreed that early childhood learning is one of the most important staples of Minnesota's education program.

"I think all day [kindergarten] and early education is one of the most important functions of education that's out there," Freiberg said. "I see the benefits it has on our kids."

Tremere agreed, though he wants to examine how early childhood education is funded. "We might be able to provide services through other private and semi-private functions," Tremere said. "We need to examine how we do it, before we do it."

Achievement Gap and Special Education Funding:"The achievement gap is scary," Pauley said. "The AIM program needs to be tied to measures. We need accountability if we’re going to fund it."

In order to close the gap, Lyndon said that districts need to focus on early education. "There’s a lot of good evidence that if you want to close the achievement gap you begin in those early years," Lyndon said. "If you want to get those students off to a good start, you build those bridges in the early years."

Budget Cuts: Candidates agreed that there's a better way to approach the budget than to cut education programs. "Rather than talking about programs to cut, we need to be working on giving more empowerment to the local school boards," Rest said. "The most difficult elected officials job is that of being a school board member."

Jeff Kolb October 31, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I attended this Forum and was impressed by the way Jeff Pauley addressed the issues. He was the only candidate who seemed to understand that the pool of money is not endless, and that we need to have accountability in our spending. Everyone agrees that we need a quality education system, but we need to adapt to the 21st century, not look backwards to the 1970s. It was disturbing to hear Representative Carlson complain about the state of education in the Robbinsdale district when he's been in office for more than 40 years. He acted like he had no control these past 40 years, but if we just give him 2 more then he'll fix everything. No thanks.
Candace Oathout October 31, 2012 at 02:46 AM
It seems that only one candidate recognizes the impotance of managing and measuring student perfomance. It is very difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers. Focussing on early childhood education with out effective teacher evaluations is pointless.

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