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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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We Need School Choice

Friday, July 8, 2022

The State of Arizona has just passed the most comprehensive school choice legislation ever seen in the United States. Under their new law, Arizona parents who want to send their child to a non-public school will receive $6,500 per year per child. With this money, parents can choose the type of school that best fits their child whether it be private, religious, charter, or homeschool. This is a monumental achievement, and Minnesota needs to follow suit.

In Minnesota, we spend roughly 40% of every tax dollar on E-12 education. As a matter of fact, there is no area of state budgeting that is larger than education. Despite this massive amount of spending, most parents I know are frustrated with our education system. We see LGBT ideologies being forced on children without parents knowing it, failing schools in and around Minneapolis, and an achievement gap that does not change no matter how much money the state spends.

Clearly, there is no improvement when you just keep throwing money at school systems and teachers unions. The only way to make a substantial difference in our public education system is to enact a school choice plan just like the one in Arizona. We need to empower parents with the ability to get their children an education that is best for them.

Arizona’s legislation is the perfect way to weed out failing schools and reward successful schools. Parents will not willingly send their child to a bad school if they have both the option and means to send their child somewhere else. As a result, good schools will flourish, and kids will no longer be trapped in defective institutions. In a big way, expansive school choice will enhance learning, help families, and improve the educational landscape of our state.

In Minnesota, we need to stop funding teachers unions and start funding students. 

Update: Fraud in Minneapolis

A few weeks ago, I told you about the Minnesota Senate ethics investigation into State Senator Omar Fateh. The investigation involves two different matters.

The first component of the investigation involves Sen. Fateh’s possible quid pro quo arrangement with a nonprofit group called Somali TV. Back in 2020, Somali TV ran campaign ads for Fateh when he was a candidate in the 2020 DFL primary. However, Somali TV is a nonprofit and is prohibited from engaging in political activity or endorsing candidates. When Fateh became a state senator, he authored legislation to give Somali TV $500,000 of taxpayer money.

The second matter is about Sen. Fateh’s ties to Muse Mohamud Mohamed, a campaign volunteer who worked on Fateh’s 2020 senate race. Mohamed, who is also Fateh’s brother-in-law, was convicted of lying to the FBI in connection to a ballot fraud case.

The Minnesota Senate ethics investigation has gone on for several weeks and is seeking answers regarding Sen. Fateh’s involvement in both matters. On Thursday, the committee met to hear testimony from Dawson Kimyon, Sen. Fateh’s former campaign manager and former legislative assistant.

However, Kimyon informed the committee on Thursday morning that he would not show up to testify as previously arranged. As a result, the ethics committee has decided to subpoena Kimyon and compel him to testify. If Kimyon ignores the subpoena, then he could be charged with a misdemeanor offense.

Legislative subpoenas are extremely rare. The top lawyer for the Minnesota Senate stated that 2005 was the last time such a subpoena had been issued.

In addition to the subpoena for Kimyon, the Senate ethics committee will also subpoena Siyad Salah, the president of Somali TV. His testimony may provide answers on whether Somali TV and Sen. Fateh inappropriately traded campaign support for favorable legislation.

The ethics committee is now planning to meet on July 27th at noon.

Steve Drazkowski