The Issues


Minnesota has a longstanding reputation for quality primary and secondary education.

No child should be trapped in a failing school. Under DFL control, our schools have gotten worse, with lower standards despite more spending. The DFL-controlled legislature actually lowered teacher licensing standards and repealed the graduation standards for students. So we are sending kids out into the world without basic skills in reading and math; this is unacceptable, and it must change, now.

  1. Identify failing schools. Each child deserves the best possible education at every grade level. We have one chance for every kid to get it right.
  2. Reform the system to place an emphasis on teacher performance, not seniority. I supported this legislation in the Senate, and was disappointed when Governor Dayton vetoed it.
  3. Promote competition in education by creating education scholarships that follow the student, rather than simply funding schools, particularly those schools that are not doing a good job educating our kids.

I am a strong advocate for expanded choice in education. As governor, a top priority will be to stop the vicious cycle of trapping kids in failing schools. There are many ways to do this, such as education scholarships to tuition tax credits. For me, the only option that should not be on the table is the status quo. We must do everything we can to make sure every child in Minnesota gets a quality education.

Also, our current education funding formula needs to be adjusted so the funds are distributed fairly. Under current law, greater Minnesota does not get a fair share of education resources. I grew up in Northwestern Minnesota in a small town. I am sensitive to the failure of government officials in St. Paul to consider all Minnesotans when allocating education dollars.

I have long been an outspoken opponent to national, top-down education standards. In fact, I cut my teeth as a conservative activist when I traveled the state in opposition to the Profile in Learning, one of the early attempts at a one-size-fits-all education program. Since then, I’ve been a vocal critic of No Child Left Behind and Common Core. I do not believe that the government, either in Washington, DC or St. Paul, ought to be dictating to parents, school boards and local administrators how best to educate their kids. In Lakeville, we have outstanding public schools, and Rhonda and I have been very happy with the quality of education that Amanda and Phil have received. Common Core and other one-size-fits-all programs are not the way to improve education in Minnesota.