Opinion: Move steals local control

Now, the Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature figure they can freeze teacher salaries and restrict the right for them to strike.

This move strikes right at the heart of local control by school boards, elected to make their school district the best it can be. School boards are elected for that purpose and they know the local needs of the education system better than Republican legislators in St. Paul.

My first reaction is: Why is the bill aimed only at freezing the salaries of teachers? Why not all school employees or for that matter why not freeze the salaries of all government employees?

I’ve always thought there was an anti-teacher element in the Republican Party and certainly in the Tea Party. You can see it in the local letters to the editor and now in this latest maneuver.

Teachers are professionals who are college graduates, many with MA degrees who a major influence on our young people. They deserve to make a decent, professional raise.

A retired superintendent who I greatly admire when asked what is the number one factor that makes a quality school system? Without hesitating, he said “good teachers.”

We should not have the state legislators, who lack the courage to fund public education adequately, take over the management of the school systems.

Teachers already are getting slight or no salary increases. School boards already are cutting teachers jobs, increasing class sizes and forcing them to do more with less.

The Republican majority in both houses would freeze teacher salaries, cut 15 percent of the state’s workforce and at the same time cut the corporate income tax, adding millions more to the state debt.

I can’t believe this is what the majority of Minnesotans want in their state government. — Don Heinzman, ECM Publishers

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