When I was a skinny kid in Worthington, from a family without much money and searching for a future, education gave me a chance. A chance to go to college, build a career prosecuting white-collar criminals, and begin a lifetime in public service. But for our kids, particularly in rural Minnesota, those kinds of chances have started drifting out of reach.
The simple truth is that Republicans like Tim Pawlenty and Tom Emmer think it's more important to give a tax cut to someone living on Lake Minnetonka than it is to give our kids a five-day school week.
You don't have to take my word for it - just look around. Schools are shifting to four-day weeks. Our leaders just wrote our schools a $2 billion IOU, forcing schools like Park Rapids to raise more money through local property taxes. These failures are Tim Pawlenty's legacy, and now Tom Emmer is calling him "fabulous." I think our kids would disagree.
What I know about the Pawlenty-Emmer agenda, I know from experience. In 2005, when I was the leader of the DFL in the House, Tim Pawlenty wanted to throw thousands of Minnesotans off MinnesotaCare. But I said "no."
Tim Pawlenty dug his heels in and shut down the government. But along with Dean Johnson, I stood up for Minnesota families, even when some in my own party thought we should give in.
My first act as governor will be to get rid of NCLB once and for all. It has shamed and blamed our public schools based on tests that don't help our kids.
I will replace NCLB with fewer and better tests, and accountability measures that work. When schools continually struggle we'll work together toward solutions that are sensitive to the unique circumstances of each community.
When I walk through Worthington someday, and see another skinny kid who hasn't had all the breaks, I want to know that I gave him the opportunity Minnesota gave me. That's the Minnesota I want to lead.
DFL gubernatorial candidate