Education Montana Politics

Representative Hansen To Lobby Against Quality Education for Montana Students

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It seems Representative Kris Hansen of Havre isn’t content to attempt to impose her discriminatory values on Montana communities—now she wants to bring her unique perspective to education reform. The Havre Daily News is reporting that the representative is leaving her government job as deputy county attorney to take an undefined job with unnamed education groups:

Hansen said she is negotiating contracts with the education groups to promote their education policies to the public, and declined to name the groups until contracts are finalized.

It seems clear that what Hansen is referring to isn’t the MEA-MFT or anyone interested  in improving student outcomes. Instead, she’ll no doubt be working with some collection of anti-public education conservative groups who will attempt to impose Idaho’s failed model on Montana.

I guess getting a job from anti-education advocates to promote “possible education reform legislation” is one way to get around pesky campaign contribution limits, conflicts of interest notwithstanding.

Hansen knows as much about Montana schools as she does about equality. It makes sense that this so-called expert on education issues didn’t sponsor a single bill about education in 2011. In fact, she told the HDN that we need to watch out for Detroit:

She said that, while Montana students often test in the high percentiles compared to the rest of the country, other regions are improving their curriculum, technology and teaching methods and could soon surpass the state.

“We have a short window to get on the bus, ” Hansen said. “We can’t afford to wait 10 years to say, ‘oops, Detroit Public Schools are going to pass us. ’”

Now, I could tell you that Montana has excellent results in education, ranging from top national scores on the NAEP, ACT/SAT, and AP exams. I could tell you that, despite Hansen’s complaints, Montana has been making strong work to improve graduation rates without compromising those excellent results.

But none of that matters. Hansen’s agenda isn’t about improving schools; it’s about destroying public unions, teacher tenure, and local control of curriculum. Her agenda is clear: to attack the public schools and the people who work in them, logic and the truth be damned.

Of course, Hansen voted against increasing funding for schools. She voted to end the requirement that the Superintendent of Public Instruction have a teaching certificate. She voted against local control of health curriculum. She voted to defund public schools in favor of untested alternatives. She voted to deny public education to immigrant children. And she voted in favor of bullying in schools, among other wrong-headed votes.

One specific claim shows just how credible she is. She claims to want to increase access to technology in the classroom. She told the HDN:

She said the state also needs to start upgrading its technology in the classrooms much faster than it has. I want to put the tools in the teachers’ hands so they can excel and the kids can excel.

One way to increase the technology available to students would be to increase funding for schools, something that Hansen, of course, refused to do.

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.

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