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Monday, January 31, 2005

Local control of schools?

Republicans are an interesting bunch. One of their mantras is "local control" no matter what. As time has gone on, though, and Republicans have become entrenched in power in many states and the federal government, "local control" has fallen by the wayside. A couple of good examples at the federal level are the gay marriage amendment (can't let states decide for themselves what relationships to acknowledge) or attempts to prevent states from enacting tougher air pollution standards. There are a lot like these.

At the local level, a couple of Republicans from northern Minnesota want to take local control away from school districts by preventing them from starting school early. They are doing this, they say, to help the resort industry in their area.

That's all well and good, but why should summer resorts be the only beneficiaries? Why not extend winter and (early) spring breaks to help out our ski areas? Why not give a week off for deer or fishing openers? Lots of businesses would no doubt love to have the opportunity of a forced school vacation.

Let's leave school calendars to the schools themselves, shall we? U.S. students consistently test near the bottom when compared to the rest of the world, and while Minnesota students are better than average, I still think we should err on the side of more instruction, not less.

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