Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The sky is no longer the limit (UPDATE: Education MN President touts 1% quote)

This past May, St Paul public school teacher Megan Hall was named the 2013 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

Upon being bestowed with such a prestigious award, Hall shared a couple of thoughts for a Star Tribune story.

“We believe in liberty and justice for all in this country, but we don’t have it yet,” she said.

“Teaching is one of the best ways to achieve that dream by opening the doors to higher education that ends poverty.”

Fast forward to last week. Hall gave a speech at the 2013 Education Minnesota conference. As such, the official EM Twitter account highlighted a few bullet points of her speech.

Keep in mind that Education Minnesota is the official labor union of Minnesota public schools. Look, I'm fully aware there was never any pretense of political objectivity coming out of EM. Back in 2008, my wife (who is an educator in the MN public school system and thus is forced to pay union dues) was given placards which touted the candidacies of Barack Obama for President and Al Franken for U.S. Senate. But what is really appalling is the fact EM chose to accentuate a part of the speech which suggested that the state's wealthiest citizens are "tyrannical."

To be certain I wasn't taking anything out of context, I decided to indulge in audio/video footage of Hall's speech. The money line is about 4:42 into the clip.

"Teachers are American democracy's last line of defense against the tyranny of the 1%"

You'll recall that Hall said upon accepting her MN Teacher of the Year award that her profession opens the door to higher education which in turn "ends poverty." So when her students grow up, go to college and enter the workforce, is there a limit to the amount of money they should make? How about lifestyle potential? Does Hall tell her students not to aspire to create a successful business nor strive to be a high level executive of a major corporation? While those would certainly be admirable achievements, that would result in those people being in the {gasp!} 1%! Oh, and you know what else the 1% does? They buy palatial estates. Estates which are subject to property taxes. Property taxes which funds public schools. Is Hall insinuating that money her school receives from the tyrannical 1% is essentially "blood money?"

When I was in elementary school, there was absolutely zero limits placed upon aspirations of students. How is it we've come to the point where tremendous financial success is subject to disdain from a person who is supposedly the standard bearer in her profession? A profession which has a profound influence on children, mind you.

As is stands now, today's kids will practically need to be in the 1% just to offset their share of the national debt.

UPDATE: A friend of mine contacted EM the other day. He was told that the quote is "on the teacher" and that they had no further comment.

Then the President of Education Minnesota tweeted out this:


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