By Barb and Randy Sutter
In the recent past, it has been a challenge to fully take up the traditions of this time of year, of Passover and Easter. It has been hard to step outside of our lives, so full of worldly distractions and self-gratification, and truly focus on remembrance, on reflection, and on gratitude to a power greater than ourselves.
This year has been different. There is little to distract us from the barrage of dark news. There is little gratification in the austerity of our social isolation.
Perhaps more than ever, this is the time for remembrance of the hardships that our forebears encountered. This is the time to reflect on the freedoms that we take for granted, on the personal responsibilities that we ignore while insisting on our rights.
Now is the time to pray to our God for his mercy, that He will give us the strength to stay the course and to help us meet the challenges that we are facing.
Those that are continuing to work at critical jobs deserve our sincere thanks. May we all commit to reflect in our conduct and in our action a caring attitude toward our neighbors.
Let us look forward to greeting each other warmly when we all emerge from this sad chapter, hopefully having learned something positive that we can incorporate in our lives as we get back on track.
I try hard not to be overtly political even though that's been a challenge lately. The Left makes it so hard for me. For example, the presumptive Democrat nominee for President of the United States, Joe Biden, ripped President Trump in January of this year for halting travel to and from China, calling Trump a xenophobe. AKA Trump is a racist. That move alone by President Trump may have saved hundreds of thousands of American lives. Trump will never get the credit.
Recently the media has attacked Trump for using the term “Chinese Virus”. Now I don't really care if you agree or disagree with the World Health Organizations decision in 2015 to name diseases with descriptive terms and move away from attaching locations in the names. I am referring to the blatant hypocrisy of the media for calling Trump out when they too have egg on their face. Take a look at the photo on the left from the front page of the Washington Post from Monday, January 27, 2020 where the top headline is about ..... wait for it..... the Chinese Virus.
A friend of mine, Daniel Greenfield, recently penned a great piece titled "The Media is a Public Health Crisis" meaning the media always does its best to make a crisis worse.
I think he hits it out of the park with the last line of the article:
"Local governments have shut down bars and eateries. Nobody has shut down the media. But an hour of CNN is far more of a public health threat than all the bars in all the cities of the country."
The November 2019 School Board Meeting passed a proposal to add 7 classes to give Edina students in Middle and High School a choice of Honors classes where there was none. The current school board will be voting to take that choice away at the 2/10/20 meeting at 7:00 pm. There is a chance to change this decision if everyone lets the board know you want to keep educational choice.
What you can do:
Email the school board to let them know you support choice in the schools next year. The current board doesn’t believe that parents and kids care about enhanced educational choices. I ask you let them know you do care. Your one email will reach every school board member. Tell them not to rescind Policy 601 which added choice.
You can also attend the meeting where they will vote. It is at the Edina Community Center, room 349, on Monday 2/10/20 at 7 pm. You can address the school board at this meeting
For years,Parents have been complaining that 9th and 10th grade English was not challenging enough. One of the required 10th grade books is a graphic novel (comic book) at a 3rd grade reading level. About 10 years ago there was an enhanced English choice for students. In an effort to promote racial equity and test scores, that choice was eliminated and everyone had to take the same class.
This did not work. State test scores have declined. Students are not making the progress academically that they should be. It is time to go back to what worked.Read more
It is the responsibility of the school board to set the direction for our schools. They have been developing a strategic plan over the last two years and gotten input from all sectors of the Edina community. The overall goal says “the mission of the Edina Public Schools, working in partnership with the family and the community, is to educate each individual to reach their full potential.”
On November 19, 2019 the Edina School Board voted (4-3) to add Honors classes to the High School and Middle Schools. These steps will add options for our kids to take enriched classes throughout their academic career.
Over the last 2 years, 322 students, who were Edina residents, have left Edina schools for other schools. Each departure cost the Edina schools about $8,500 per student. That is over $2,700,000. While losses are reduced by allowing students from other school districts to enroll in Edina, that is still a big fiscal hit for the school district. The major reason students departed Edina was for rigorous academics. This policy hopes to keep more resident students staying home
I commend the school board for getting the best information available and making this decision.
In the High School, this policy adds honors classes in 9th and 10th grade English which do not exist currently. Edina is the only school out of 37 comparable metro schools without an enriched option.Read more
GOP should launch ‘Middle Class Capitalism’ and ‘American Families First’
By Willis Krumholz
We need to make clear that we stand for strong families and a financially sound middle class.
We need to promote middle class and working class wage growth and real return on savings. This means ending policies that redistribute wealth to the rich, that encourage inflation or drive down interest rates. We should stand for
- Balanced budgets
- Sound monetary policy.
We need a new antitrust push. Pro competition, not anti-business. Too little of the American economy is subject to healthy competition.
We need to stand behind “Made in America” and the hiring of U.S. workers.
- Support a tax policy that rewards making things in America. Offset the vulnerability of blue collar workers in the manufacturing sector to “free trade” deals with countries with lower wage labor.
- Make Trump’s small business tax cut permanent (only the corporate cuts were permanent).
- Cut the payroll tax (half of which is paid by employers)
The role of the Edina School Board is to represent the interests of the citizens of Edina and the school children in the Edina Public Schools. The board is also to make sure Edina meets the standards set by the Minnesota Department of Education. It is not to represent the teachers union, or the administration.
The Edina Teachers Union recently endorsed 3 candidates for the school board because they are “Union Friendly”. At the last election they spent thousands of dollars mailing postcards supporting their endorsed candidates. From their point of view this makes perfect sense. After all, the Edina School Board votes on contracts with the union.
There has been a budget shortfall every year in the recent past. The board is faced with decisions on what programs or services to cut. There is a conflict of interest between what the Teachers Union desires and the needs of the students of Edina.
To avoid that conflict of interest, I ask that all union-endorsed school board candidates pledge to abstain from voting on Teachers Union contracts.
Mayor and city council candidates need to be evaluated based on how they would govern. We support candidates that have been willing to be open and truly listen to the residents of the city. We have grown increasingly concerned with the degree to which decisions in Bloomington have been made behind closed doors.
Bloomington’s City Council has approved initiatives that increase the role of government and increase city expenditures, like organized trash collection and (it appears) mega-sized community centers. They have rejected legitimate requests of citizen groups that these decisions be put to referendums. Even when the city council chartered a citizen panel to advise them on the Hyland Greens golf course, they picked probably the least favored recommendation and moved to sell off some of the land for development.
In Bloomington, it is time for a new approach to governing the city. It is time for a change in the make-up of the City Council.
We recommend Ryan Kulka (Mayor), Brian Clemens (At-Large), Al Noard (District 1) and Susan Woodruff (District 2).
For more information on these candidates and their positions, CLICK HERE . This link also provides information on the Bloomington School Board races.
City Council and School Board races have been touted as non-partisan races, as if the recommendations of political party organizations somehow compromise the independence of the candidates. Yet partisan groups, like Edina Indivisible, and organizations with a strong vested interest, like Teachers Associations and Public Employee Unions, have been free to release their preferences without a murmur of concern.
It is time to recognize when local races cease to be non-partisan. In those races, it is appropriate for the views of local conservative groups like the SD49 Republicans to be heard.
In the Edina School Board race, that time has certainly come. In separate announcements, Education Minnesota/Edina (the Edina teachers union) and the Senate District 49 Democrats both issued recommendations. And they are for the same three candidates.
It is more than ironic when, for the second election cycle in a row, the Edina Teachers Union has chosen not to endorse former teachers. This year, they passed over Linda Friede, a recognized education intervention specialist and former math teacher.
As the curriculum in the Edina School System has become politicized, so now has the election. We stand with the parents who are questioning why Edina’s education standing in Minnesota has gone from 1st to 10th. Unlike the DFL, we don’t support a school board that is a cheerleader for the administration. We believe that the board should govern the administration.
Our recommended candidates believe that data on academic performance needs to be open and available, and decisions need to be driven by what clearly works.
In the election for Edina School Board, I will be voting for the candidates who
- believe that Edina Schools should focus on helping each student become the best they can be.
- support grouping students in classes according to their abilities and allow the teachers to set the pace for their students.
I will be voting for Sarah Patzloff, Linda Friede, and Lou Nanne.
In 2013 the Edina School Board adopted a policy of “All for All”. There was, and still is, an education gap in Edina schools. One key focus of the plan was “looking at all district work and initiatives through a lens of racial equity”.
While the goal was noble, it did not work. State test scores (MCA) are one measure of academic achievement. 8th grade math scores ranked South View middle school as the number 1 middle school in Minnesota in 2008. In 2017 it was the 37th best school. MCA test results for 10th Grade Reading declined from 1st in 2013 to 19th in 2018. The test changes every year so there is some variability in results each year. The ranking of Edina Schools dropping relative to other Minnesota schools is very concerning because everyone takes the same test.
Another way to look at academic performance is to evaluate students to see if they are at, below, or above grade level. In 2017 65.6% of students were at or above grade level in math. In 2019 only 49.1% of students were at grade level in math. Reading had 63.5% of students at or above grade level in 2017. That declined to 59.0% in 2019.
All of the focus on racial equity has not improved the scores of those it was meant to help. All groups have declined.
So what happened? The purpose of education is to grow each individual toward their full potential in order to pursue their dreams. Previously classes had been organized by student’s abilities. The “All for All” program, in the search for racial equity, classes have a mix of abilities. This made the job of our great teachers, much more difficult.
How can you push and challenge the high achievers without leaving everyone else behind. Conversely how do you set the pace where the bottom 1/3 of the class really learns the material, without boring other students.
We need to go back to a focus on educational excellence, not racial equity. Sarah Patzloff, Linda Friede, and Lou Nanne are committed to achieving education excellence in Edina schools.
Hundreds of Minnesotans, including many from SD49, attended the Protect Kids Rally September 22 at the Capitol. There was no coverage / reporting on the event from the Star Tribune or Pioneer Press, but the Mille Lacs News and this week's Alpha News provided information about the attendees, speakers, and the issues. The Child Protection League offered this Press Release on the Rally, which they organized, and estimated the crowd size as close to 800.