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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Breaking News: GOP Supports Home Schooler for Minneapolis School Board

Well, I received a sample ballot from the Minneaplis City Republican Committee, to assist with my decision making in the September 9th primary election.

The only competitive race for the GOP is next Tuesday, when the Minneapolis school board candidates vie for a spot in the general election.

Kari Reed is the endorsed GOP candidate. Her website is

The sample ballot mailing tells me to only vote for Kari Reed... 'we have an opportunity to bring new ideas to help our failing public schools.'

Before I comment further on Ms. Reed's platform, I need to point out that in 2004, I provided some support to another GOP school board candidate, David Dayhoff. At the time, he made it through the primary, but did not win a seat in the general election. It was hard to find any official support from the GOP party, particularly in mailing out sample ballots. For the record, Mr. Dayhoff actually wanted public schools to work, vs. undermining the process.

The September 2008 issue of my neighborhood newspaper, The Bridge', offered up profiles of all the school board candidates.

Here is Kari Reed's profile....

Reed is a home-school teacher of her five children and has taught English to a refugee family in Zaire and “provided motherly care” for 33 parentless children in El Salvador. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Goshen College in Indiana.

Minneapolis’ public schools “are failing our children now,” Reed said. “The district is asking for more money, and more money is not the answer!” she said of the proposed referendum on a special tax levy for schools. Rather than giving the district more funds, a better education for the city’s children could be found with “more universal tax credits [for private school tuition], charter schools, and more home-schooling.”

When asked why she was running, Reed said “I want parents to know they don’t have to send their children to the local, government-run schools.”

“With less money, you can and should be more creative,” she said. Reed described home-schooling her five children with a South Minneapolis home-school co-op, spending roughly $4,000 per child per year, in contrast to the “$10,000–$15,000” she claims MPS spends per child per year.

“I understand that they have a certain amount of overhead,” she said, but she implied that resources were not being spent effectively and that she would push for as much cost-cutting as possible.

To Reed, the goal of “every child college-ready” by 2020 —from the District’s new strategic plan — is an example of this poor spending.

“Every child doesn’t fit into the ‘go-to-college’ box,” she said. Giving parents more choices for their child’s education would produce the kinds of results Minneapolis schools are not delivering.

It's hard to know where to start, but I'll toss out one response.... the Minneapolis School Board doesn't have the authority to issue tax credits for private school tuition and other options. If she feels strongly about that issue, she should run for a seat in the Legislature.

I find this candidacy, and the GOP party's endorsement and support of it, to be a perverse joke. While it isn't difficult to find fault with public education, electing leadership who would support shutting it down is not a good answer.


strikecity said...

So, here's the math:
Total MPS enrollment = 34,570
Total MPS Budget = $654M
Giving MPS the benefit of the doubt, let's calculate based only on their "General Operating Fund" of $435M.

So, when your neighborhood newspaper says that she "claims" MPS spends $10k-15k per year, they demonstrate that they're too lazy or partisan to check her facts and print them as such. Check for yourself at:

We all agree MPS isn't working, and throwing more money at them just seems like an easy way to "feel" like we've done our part. I don't think anyone wants to shut down MPS. But if they can't educate students on $12k-$18k per year, then it's time for some fresh ideas. Reed may have come across a few good ideas in her daily work as a home educator.

Markh said...

Strikecity -

If you're trying to apply 'blame the media' tactics to The Bridge newspaper, well, that's quite a stretch.

If anybody was fuzzy on the facts, I'd say it was the school board candidate herself.

I read all of the profiles that The Bridge published on school board candidates, and there were some doozies.

My interpretation is that rather than argue or correct anything the candidates said, they let the direct quotes stand.

strikecity said...

I did leave two options for The Bridge: partisan or lazy. Either way, one of a journalist's core responsibilities is to check facts. Five minutes on the MPS website confirms the truth of Reed's numbers, but The Bridge's term, "claim" implies that Reed is misleading us.

It is interesting that MPS never directly states the number of dollars they're spending per student per year. Perhaps they're hoping that the voting public's math skills are as poor as MPS students'.

Kris said...

The Bridge article on Kari Reed is inaccurate Kari only spends about $500 per child per year not $4,000 as was stated. This is important becauseif her kids were in public schools it would cost the taxpayer 5 children x $18,900 per child = $94,500 a year to educate her kids. Do you still think the schools need more money?

Kris said...

The bridge candidate profiles, at least the one for Kari Reed, are not accurate. They take quotes and insert opinion. They also made up statistics about how much Kari Reed is spending to educate her own children. If you want to know what Kari Reed thinks on the issues please expand your research beyond the Bridge article.