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Education Minnesota to receive citizen input

WORTHINGTON -- Frustrated with the amount of money the Minnesota Legislature provides for public education? Have a bone to pick with teacher pay? Don't think that parents and students are getting their money's worth?

A rare opportunity for citizen input with Education Minnesota, the state's top educators union, will be coming to Worthington on Monday. Education Minnesota President Judy Schaubach will host a listening session as part of the statewide initiative, "Schools First!" from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

Education First has scheduled 13 discussion sessions as part of a five-year program designed to solicit the public's feedback on Minnesota public education and build community-school partnerships.

"We're hoping that people will come out to give us some feedback -- what they would like to see their public schools doing," Schaubach said Thursday. "It's definitely a listening session."

According to the Schools First! Web site (, 61 percent of Minnesotans believe that schools don't have enough money. Eighty-seven percent believe that putting education decisions in the hands of teachers, parents and the local community -- and not state administrators -- would be effective. At the same time, 84 percent believe their public schools are good or excellent.

At a recent Education Minnesota listening event in Willmar, topics ranged from lack of funding for technology to building maintenance, from early childhood education to poverty's effect on students. Residents discussed dress codes and lack of parental involvement as well.

District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard encouraged local citizens to attend Monday's meeting.

"Education Minnesota is out there trying to educate the public on items that affect the public on educational issues," he said, "and I think it's an outstanding opportunity for people to take part."

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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