TruthToTell, Monday Oct 1-9AM: EDUCATION FUNDING: Grasping for Elusive Adequacy; PODCAST: Monday Sept 24: EMPOWERING U: Civic Engagement for the Disengaged - AUDIO PODCAST BELOW


Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, October 1, 2012

KFAI is respecting your time and your patience this Fall with ONE WEEK’s worth of membership seeking. Can we make our stated goal of $90,000 in one week instead of two? Only you can answer that question and set a new standard for minimal pledging time and maximum donations in half the time. HERE”S THE GOOD NEWS: we’re almost 25% there after just three days. KFAI – the stand-out community programming service for music and public affairs throughout the Twin City Metro AND online at – is YOUR radio station in this crowded market. Please – step up to the plate and keep us on the air. Call 612-375-9030 OR give online at And thanks to all!


One more THANKS to all of you who put your dollars toward CivicMedia’s mission to make TruthToTell a premier program of state, local and regional public affairs coverage. We, too, need special commitments to what TruthToTell does for – click on the DONATE button or in the Give to the Max box there.


Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us@TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page. 

As we enter the last few weeks of the election season, we’ll be bombarded with so many messages our heads will spin, probably causing most of us to scream “Enough!!.”

Even those of us proud to claim political junkie-hood – call us policy wonks or whichever monkey is on our back at the moment – will want the spin to stop spinning our heads. Never will so many channels be switched and switched away from the inundating and vapid commercials touting the candidate of the moment or denouncing and distorting his or her opponents as they will be starting about now. None of them is immune and is off the hook for their crimes of lying to the public or bloviating over the records of their candidate or their opposition.

But, we can be sure of one thing: the issues themselves don’t change and neither do the candidates’ position on them.

One of the most important, needless to say, is education, the way we pay for it and how much we’re willing to lay out for our children and grandchildren to become the citizens, business owners, civic leaders and educators of tomorrow.

Year after fiscal, never-take-a-riskal year*, Minnesota has allowed itself to slide into reverse both in terms of the amount allocated to the Constitutional mandate of adequate and quality education for all children, but of the source of those funds. Before 1972, it was all about local property taxes. Soon, the so-called Minnesota Miracle was passed by a huge wave of DFL majorities putting the burden of state education equalization – or distribution of the funding burden – more heavily on the income tax on the theory that our kids’ education shouldn’t rest on the artificial fluctuations in property values.

That seemed to make sense, but subsequent state legislatures allowed the funding base to slip back on to the property tax and the excess levy referendum was born, allowing some districts to seek approval from voters for additional dollars to enrich their academic and extracurricular activities. Of course, that was a lot easier for family-rich suburbs where education investment was a no-brainer. But in the core cities where the poorest of the poor live and aging populations represented DIS-investment in schools – sometime understandably, sometimes selfishly – excess levy referenda became tougher to pass. (St. Paul is venturing back into this marketing arena with a referendum this November. Watch and listen for our October 15th TruthToTell on this.)

Add to this the frustrations of recession, the resulting rise of conservative governance – say, election of Tea Partiers – a few years of tearing down the very soul of educational achievement – good teachers, and the yawning achievement gaps in a re-segregating education system of many Metro Areas, especially the Twin Cities – and you have a formula for persistent crisis management of the schools and the failure of too many Pre-K-12 students by poverty level.

Governor Mark Dayton’s failure to convince a newly emboldened GOP legislative majority in 2010 and 2011to add a dime’s worth of new revenues to the state budget and you have the makings of a kamikaze legislative leadership style that would rather watch its own children starve for knowledge – and maybe food as well – rather than back down from Grover Norquist’s imposed and intimidating no-new-taxes pledge.

Back in June, a  27-member Education Finance Working Group, established as part of Governor Dayton's Seven-Point Plan to establish better school funding, the goals of the reform proposals crafted by the working group are to:

·      Improve the adequacy, equity and stability of pre-K-12 education funding

·      Simplify education funding

·      Preserve local control

·      Close the achievement gap

·      Promote high achievement for all students

·      Direct resources closest to students, teachers and the classroom

What to do about education funding or investment? Despite legislative entrenchment, almost all surveys show that sizeable majority of taxpayers willing to cough up several hundreds of dollars more taxes per year to meet the fiscal demands of a successful schools climate. And, because this is true, it’s up to voters to show their elected officials and candidates just how much they believe schools and students – our children and grandchildren, to be sure, have taken it in the neck for too long and for all the wrong reasons: political expediency, among the leading causes.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI spend this Pledge Week’s conversation talking with two leading members of that Education Finance Working Group and try to get a handle on what to expect with respect to future public education financing and investment – election or no election?


 MARY CECCONI – Executive Director, Parents United for Public Schools

 DANE SMITH – President, Growth&Justice – progressive think tank

INVITED: Rep. Carlos Mariani Rosa/Jennifer Godinez – Minnesota Minority Education Partnership

AND YOU! Call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page. 


*See “How to Succeed in Business…”

No comments yet - be the first!



Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Become a Friend of TruthToTell. and let us put you on RADIO! We want to THANK YOU for coming to and/or donating to TTT’s 5thAnniversary Bash last Thursday, Sept. 20th. Your help will keep our weekly shows exploring and examining the issues that matter most – and expand our reach into other corners of the community and Greater Minnesota! If you were unable to join us or donate thus far, you can do so now: Always time to become a part of our family HERE! Welcome aboard!


Collaborative efforts between and among advocacy and service groups seeking social justice and eliminating disparities – race, class and otherwise – are nothing new, but Heartland Democracy, Twin Cities RISE! and 180 Degrees have figured out how to take the time necessary to touch many age groups finding it tough to succeed in today’s world.

From Heartland’s website:

Empowering U is Heartland’s deep civic empowerment program. Through a series of guided discussions, participants discover the tangible benefits of involvement in community, politics, and self-governance. They develop the motivation and tools to become active, informed members of their communities. Heartland Democracy works with partner groups serving our neighbors with little or no experience of participation in community, government, or politics. Hence, Twin Cities Rise!, which provides employment training to adults who have faced challenges in gaining and holding jobs, is a natural host. TCR! understands that when their participants learn the methods for networking to achieve a community or political goal, that same network pays off in job networking, the identification of resources, financial stability, and wealth. In other words, when you can till the roots of democracy, you can cultivate the roots of the economy as well. Similarly, HD is working with juvenile ex-offenders under the auspices of 180 Degrees. Both cohorts are in St. Paul.

Policy analysis and progressive advocacy group Heartland Democracy is able to bring Empowering U to our St. Paul area neighbors at Twin Cities Rise!, 180 Degrees, and, later this year, Unity Center for Youth Leadership's high school internship program with the generous support of the F. R. Bigelow Foundation and the St. Paul Foundation. In this way, Heartland and cohorts are helping Minnesotans realize their own self-interest in the full range of citizenship.

Citizenship is really what TruthToTell has been about, lo, these past five years-plus. Civic engagement is the source of survival for our entire democracy.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL urges you to listen to Empowering U stories of the young men and women this program is meant to assist in gaining a grasp of public life and citizenship coming out of more troubled pasts.


TOM VELLENGA – President, Heartland Democracy

KEITH SIMONS – Director of Personal Empowerment, Twin Cities Rise!

MONICA SANDERS – Alumna of Twin Cities Rise! Program