Mayors, school leaders decry GOP education billby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Mayors and superintendents from three of Minnesota's largest school districts are criticizing a Republican-sponsored education bill moving through the Legislature.
Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth have a disproportionate number of the state's English language learners, and city leaders say the bill would cut literacy programs for children.
Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak told a group of supporters at the Capitol Thursday the Republican proposal sets a goal of all children reading by third grade.
"But you don't do that by cutting off the funding for a kid in preschool, kindergarten, first grade and second grade and pretend that giving them a test in third grade will somehow teach them to read for a lifetime. Wrong idea," Rybak added.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said the bill targets their cities.
"This is not an educational proposal, this is a political vendetta. But the politics aren't played out against the mayors or superintendents of our three largest cities. The politics play out in the classrooms, around the dinner table and the future prosperity of our communities," Coleman said.
Two education advocacy groups, the Minnesota PTA and Parents United for Public Schools, say the proposal would boost per-pupil funding but would freeze special education and compensatory aid affecting a disproportionate number of children of color and in poverty.