Sunday, May 01, 2005

Classrooms, Diversity, and 65%

This post is part of SwanBlog's "Every Day in May" campaign. Check each morning for a new post!

Governor Pawlenty is promoting a new "65 percent" plan that would require 65 percent of all education operating dollars to be spent directly in the classroom. By some state-wide estimates, this would mean an additional $92 million per year for classroom instruction without raising taxes. But with some districts already exceeding this figure and other districts falling as low as 47%, the result may be an additional $217 million per year spent in Minnesota classrooms.

So what's the catch? The dour state senator in my own district, Steve Kelley, disputes the figures. George Will reports that teachers' unions are against what would amount to either higher pay or more job openings for their members. Unnamed "critics" in the Star Tribune say that the 65% plan could result in cuts to transportation, teacher training, and (horrors) school nursing. In addition, I suspect that the cottage industry of diversity consultants in schools will take a hit. That alone makes the plan worthwhile.

Teachers' unions, critics, and Senator Steve Kelley (which should have been the title to this post) don't stand a chance against this common sense idea.

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