105 Peavey Rd, Ste 116
Chaska, MN 55318 952-361-4931
April 28, 2004
Yesterday afternoon DFL members of the Senate Education Committee voted against the confirmation of Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke. Since the DFL maintains a razor thin majority in the Senate, they prevailed in a party-line vote: 6 DFL, no; 4 Republicans, yes. They then voted to recommend that the full Senate also defeat her confirmation.
DFL members are Sens Kelley, Pappas, Ranum, Skoe, Stumpf, and Tomassoni. Republican members are: Bachmann, Hann, Olson, and Michel.
ALL senators should hear from the public on this one. Please contact every person you can to call (not e-mail) their state Senators today and tomorrow morning. Leave a message if they aren't there. Also call other Senators and ask them to vote to confirm Commissioner Yecke. (See numbers at the bottom of this post.)
1. The governor should be able to choose his administration.
2. Commissioner Yecke is well-qualified for her position.
3. Commissioner Yecke is willing to show leadership on issues while remaining open to others' arguments.
4. She should be allowed to continue the work she has begun - it is far too early to pass judgment on new reforms.
Thank you! You make a difference. Your action matters! And EdWatch callers always are respectful.
Those watching the confirmation hearing yesterday witnessed a kangaroo court against the Commissioner. Trumped up charges were brought forward simply to justify an unseemly political power grab.
Committee Chair Steve Kelley operated like a prosecuting attorney, as if some criminal sat before him. Commissioner Yecke remained calm, poised, and self-assured, answering each charge with candor and grace. Senator Pappas demeaned herself and the entire body with her deliberate disrespect of the Commissioner, mispronouncing Commissioner Yecke's name to sound like "Yuckie."
Each phoney charge was given a response, but the Commissioner's unforgivable transgression remained, in the eyes of the DFL Senators. Most of all, she was "divisive." Translated, that means she makes them mad.
All of us in the education movement have experienced the education controversy firsthand for years without end, it would seem. Yet, Senators Kelley, Pappas, and Ranum accused the Commissioner of bringing divisivenes into the state of Minnesota. And for that, she should be rejected.
The thousands of parents who have opposed and suffered under the radical education changes in our state are apparently invisible to the DFL Senators on the Education Committee. They don't remember the thousands of parents and teachers rallying at the Capitol only a few years ago? No, each one of those Senators supported a candidate for Governor in 2002, Roger Moe, who clung stubbornly to the failed Profile of Learning. And for that he was badly defeated.
Those Senators have eyes, but they do not see. They have ears, but they do not hear. If the full Senate does not confirm the Commissioner, the DFL majority will most assuredly suffer the same fate as their candidate for Governor in 2002. Minnesotans have very good memories. We will remember in 2006. Whether or not Senator Kelley is personally defeated, he will become the minority in the Minnesota Senate, and the Chairmanship of the Senate Education Committee will transfer to one from another party. Such are the changes elections bring.Anderson, Ellen (DFL) (651) 296-5537
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