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Northland lawmakers being lobbied to support the Page Amendment

Duluth’s legislative representatives in St. Paul aren’t sponsors or signers of the bill yet.

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Adam Zyglis / Cagle Cartoons

Duluth’s legislative representatives in St. Paul aren’t sponsors or signers of a bill to let Minnesotans vote on the Page Amendment. Not yet — and it’s something pushers of the Page Amendment are working to change.

Where do Duluth DFLers Sen. Jennifer McEwen, Rep. Jennifer Schultz, and Rep. Liz Olson currently stand?

Contacted last week by the News Tribune Opinion page, Sen. McEwen declined to comment, stating she hasn’t formed an opinion and is conducting her own research.

Rep. Schultz responded: “I have not voted on this bill since it did not go through a House committee. I do agree that all children have a fundamental right to a quality public education that fully prepares them with the skills necessary for participation in the economy, our democracy, and society. I do have questions about the uniform achievement standards that would be used, so I would be interested in learning more when this bill is heard in a House committee.”

And Rep. Liz Olson said: “Minnesotans value education, and lawmakers need to step up and deliver the strong, ongoing funding students deserve. Too many years of chronically underfunding public education at the state level has led to haves and have-nots across the state, which makes disparities even more stark. On (Election Day Nov. 2), many community members voted to directly raise their own taxes to fund schools, but this shouldn’t be the standard. A quality education for every student shouldn’t just be a goal; it should be an expectation. A constitutional amendment has the potential to move discussions about funding our classrooms from state Capitol committee rooms and school boardrooms to the courtroom. We need to have a meaningful discussion about what the amendment’s enactment would mean for our children, our schools, and our communities.”

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Our Children MN is the advocacy organization created to pass the Page Amendment. Its Campaign Manager and Executive Director Nevada Littlewolf told the News Tribune Editorial Board this month that the group is working to win over Northland lawmakers.

“We hope to inform residents, build strong coalitions in the area, and encourage more legislators to become co-authors of the bill as it moves through the legislative process,” Littlewolf said. “Education gaps exist in all 87 counties of the state, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ new data tool shows these gaps based on school and legislative districts, including the disparities present in Duluth. We believe the sharing of this data tool will grow support for the Page Amendment in Northeast Minnesota and get the state one step closer to providing quality public education for all."

— News Tribune Opinion page

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Opinion by News Tribune Opinion page
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