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Letter: Encourage excellence in education

I attended the Technical Academies of Minnesota informational meeting at the MinnWest Technology Campus on Nov. 21. I am excited for the opportunities this new public charter school will provide to students in middle and high school in our community.

The state of Minnesota education system has made it a priority to cultivate interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics within our student bodies. Our nation is losing ground with other countries in the sciences and something needs to be done. I applaud MinnWest Technology Campus for their leadership role in this initiative and I encourage business leaders and everyone interested in education to support this effort any way they can.

From what I learned at the meeting, I am disappointed in our state’s lack of support for charter schools like Technical Academies of Minnesota. These are institutions that are held to the same standards as all other public schools but their funding is different.

They suffer under the same fund shift model. Yet they are unable to borrow against that shift like regular public schools. Charter schools are unable to propose levies to the voters in their district. They cannot apply for state bonding money.

Even with these challenges, charter schools have made a positive impact in many communities throughout the state. Studies have shown more of their money gets to the student than most traditional public schools.

I challenge our local legislative leaders, Mary Sawatzky, Andrew Falk, and Lyle Koenen, to do something about this in the upcoming session. All three are DFL members, a party that stakes claim to care about education more than Republicans. All three representatives enjoy majorities with a DFL Governor. They can get this work done if they wish.

Do what is right. Support this charter school. Change the laws that put them at a disadvantage. They are working hard to do what is best for our children. We should as well.

Tim Miller