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Last week I started a process by which I will be sending off questions to different candidates in the area to get a more detailed examination of their positions on different issues. For this week, I sent off education questions and the first candidate to respond to those questions was House District 14A candidate Rob Jacobs.

I have provided the questions and the answers (in green) without commentary:

What are the major issues facing education in the state of Minnesota and what are your plans to address those issues?

I believe the number one issue in Minnesota public education is the funding of our schools. In 2001, Mn lawmakers adopted a plan to fund K-12 where the quality of education would no longer be determined by the wealth of the school district. The state has not kept it's promise. Under Pawlenty, and my opponent Dan Severson, state aide for schools has dropped, forcing school districts to depend on voter approved property tax increases to pay for education. Under the "no new tax" pledge, the local school districts have had to shoulder the burden of raising our property taxes to pay for educating our children. In effect, schools districts have become the "taxman." I believe that the state should fund education in a way that the quality of education would not be determined by the wealth of the school district.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is another problem. It seems that students are learning more about taking tests than actually learning. This program increases costs and decreases the time that teachers are actually educating students. I would push for the elimination of this program entirely.

The Governors Teacher Quality Compensation Program pours money into a few districts in an effort to change how teachers are paid from years of experience and education levels to pay for the quality of their work. In theory this sounds great but in practice this is very complex. Many school districts have been denied the opportunity to get this money while other districts have sought ways to get the money and get around the compensation issues by paying teachers for extra in-service.

What, in your mind, is the role the legislature should play in educating our children? What role do educators play? What role do parents play?

The legislature should set standards and goals and then get out of the way and let the teachers teach. Mandates stress the finances of school districts, create paperwork for teachers and administrators, and take away from the quality of education. As a legislator I would try to eliminate mandates and let the school districts make the decisions on how to reach the set standards and goals.

Parents play a key role in education. They need to be involved in the schools in the decision making of local policies. Parents need to work with their children early on to influence a life of reading and learning at home, not just at school. Parents need to be partners with the school in the education process.

Anything else you would like to add about education?

Special education puts a big drain on the finances of the school districts. The federal government needs to pay its share of the special education mandates.

As the summer progresses, I hope to send off more questions to the Jacobs Campaign on issues ranging from health care to transportation and lots of other issues in between. If you have any suggestions for questions or issues, then please leave your requests in the comments section.


1 Response to "On The Issues: Rob Jacobs (DFL) & Education"

  1. Gary Gross On June 23, 2008 at 10:02 PM

    Rob Jacobs should tell the truth. Pawlenty's budget called for a 3%, 2% increase in eK-12 funding. The DFL plan was a 2%-1% plan. When will the DFL stop being the cheapskates?