Education Montana Politics

Montana Education, Our Constitution, and the GOP Fringe: A Dangerous Mixture

Shares


I think that if someone goes around parading that he envisions his job as some sort of modern Madisonian defender of the Constitution, he should be capable of reading the documents that govern our nation and state. Clearly, Representatives Knox and Stahle haven’t read the Montana Constitution lately, or are choosing to ignore what it demands: quality education for all of our children.

Representative Knox sent the following in an e-mail today:

Rep. Wayne Stahle has an education bill I look forward to considering. The gist of it is it defines what a ‘basic education’ is as it is required in the Montana Constitution. It would reduce the mils taxed from 95 to five (estimated) but based on the market value. Then school districts would be capable of voting on additional mills to provide anything more than the basic education. An interesting model and my explanation is a quick rundown of the plan.

Let’s dismiss the obvious first. Knox is distorting what the Constitution says. Because both Montana Republicans and Democrats knew in 1972 that an excellent education is the best way to ensure equality of opportunity and hope for every child, they wrote:

The legislature shall provide a basic system of free quality public elementary and secondary schools.

Not barebones, not just “basic,” but quality education. While Representative Knox seems to believe that we can educate every child in Montana for $500/year, a quality education requires services ranging from full-day aides for students with disabilities to advanced opportunities to study the highest levels of science and math. It provides extra-curricular opportunities, heat, sound buildings, and buses. And yes, it requires paying quality professionals an adequate wage for what is occasionally quite thankless work.

And Montana teachers and schools are working. While Representative Knox and his ilk contend that “alternate education produces a better result,” they refuse to acknowledge the great success of Montana schools. Name an educational measure and Montana students excel at it; name the national test and Montana students are near the top of the list. Montana students are achieving.

If you want to understand the radicalization of today’s Montana Republican Party, you don’t need to look much farther than this hostility to public education. In 1972, both Republicans and Democrats believed that education was fundamental for an active, productive, informed citizenry, because they believed in the promise of our young people and knew that schools were the center of our communities. As the preamble notes,

We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.

Let’s not let the reactionary fringe of one party deny the gifts of this great state to future generations.

Photo by Patti McNeal.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

68 Comments

  • Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

  • Somebody necessarily assist to make seriously posts I’d state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular publish extraordinary. Wonderful activity!

  • Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thank you Nonetheless I’m experiencing subject with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting equivalent rss problem? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  • Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any points for novice blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

  • We prefered to stop in and furnish you individuals the possibility to check out our web site so that you are able to investigate our outstanding service. Our staff and customer support group are unbelievable and we recognize that we can easily fulfill your needs. Our abilities are a lot higher than our competitors and need to observe you flourish by having us on your side. If there is nearly anything we can do, satisfy let us understand. 100 % customer joy happens to be our number one objective.

  • Fantastic job here. I definitely enjoyed what you had to say. Keep going because you definitely bring a new voice to this subject. Not many people would say what youve said and still make it interesting. Well, at least Im interested. Cant wait to see far more of this from you.

  • I must say, as considerably as I enjoyed reading what you had to say, I couldnt help but lose interest after a while. Its as if you had a fantastic grasp to the topic matter, but you forgot to include your readers. Perhaps you should think about this from far more than 1 angle. Or maybe you shouldnt generalise so very much. Its better if you think about what others may have to say instead of just heading for a gut reaction to the topic. Think about adjusting your own believed process and giving others who may read this the benefit of the doubt.

  • How is it that just anyone can create a blog and get as popular as this? Its not like youve said something incredibly impressive –more like youve painted a fairly picture more than an issue that you know nothing about! I dont want to sound mean, right here. But do you actually think that you can get away with adding some pretty pictures and not truly say something?

  • I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: