Gov. Tim Walz allegedly declined a meeting with school choice advocates who gathered at the Capitol Thursday as it reopened to the public for the first time in more than 400 days.
State lawmakers joined parents and kids outside the Capitol for a rally before crashing the governor’s press conference inside the building. According to one reporter, Walz’s team moved his microphone stand so that the protesters wouldn’t appear directly behind him in the camera shot.
“Why don’t you give these parents the opportunity? Why don’t you meet with them? You’re right here, Gov. Walz. They want a meeting with you and you said no. They’re right here,” Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, said at the rally.
Parent Oredola Taylor of The Exodus Minnesota said education in Minnesota has become “a money-making enterprise and our kids are the commodity.”
Taylor observed that Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers union, benefits from administrative bloat in schools because it results in more dues-paying members. The union then uses that money to “fund the Democratic Party,” she said.
Education Minnesota’s political arm donates millions of dollars to the Minnesota DFL each election cycle, meaning support for school choice policies from a Democratic governor (also a former public school teacher) is highly unlikely.
Taylor and her allies would like to see the Legislature pass Education Savings Accounts into law during next week’s special session. This policy would allow state money to follow children to private schools if their parents choose to pull them from failing public schools.
According to Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, Walz declined to meet with school choice advocates following his Thursday press briefing despite assurances from his staff.
“Instead of listening, Gov. Walz chose instead to hide for 15 minutes and move microphones so choice advocates wouldn’t be behind him,” Benson said. “Once his press conference finished he went back into hiding despite his staff assuring choice advocates he’d meet with them. We need a Governor who listens to Minnesotans and not just EdMN.”