Post election thoughts

Wow. Huge sigh. After all the anxiety and turmoil that consumed us prior to this year’s election, I think we can safely say that, no matter what our political beliefs, it’s a huge relief to have them behind us.

I think I probably share the exhilaration with many TC Daily Planet readers that both of the constitutional ballots were stopped. I was delighted to find out that my fellow Minnesotans were able to see the inherent discrimination that both of these initiatives presented, but I can’t help but thinking now what an enormous waste of time and resources the fight over those two amendments became. Now, of course I’m not saying that there wasn’t a need to put all the energy and money that we possibly could into these fights — and I have to give it to Minnesota United for All Families, Our Vote our Future, and all the organizations that worked so hard to block these amendments — but it’s just sad to me that we even had to have those fights.

I wonder what kind of positive change we could bring to our state if we were able to put that kind of organization and power behind something that would be for the good of our state. But I suppose that is for the next round. Now, let us bask in the glory, just for a moment. 

But while we are basking in that euphoria, I do see a slight cloud in the horizon — a looming battle that didn’t get much coverage this election cycle, but it’s sure to come up soon. It’s a battle that I see happening not between Democrats and Republicans, but within the Democratic Party itself. And while the Republicans regroup and try to figure out how they are going to get more women and people of color to vote for them in elections to come, the Democrats are going to have to figure out exactly where they want to be in terms of “Education Reform.”

The teachers’s strike in Chicago could have been a much bigger disaster than it ended up being. Rahm Emanuel, former Obama chief of staff and current mayor of Chicago, faced off against Chicago teachers, calling for a teacher evaluation system that included standardized tests. In fact, it turns out that Bush’s education policies have only been slightly revised under Obama’s administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and that Race to the Top has many similarities with No Child Left Behind. 

In Minneapolis, just before the elections, school board member Rebecca Gagnon endorsed write-in candidate Eli Kaplan over current school board Carla Bates, who last year voted against the teachers' contract, saying it didn’t provide enough accountability for teachers’ performance. Meanwhile, Josh Reimnitz, who also favors more accountability and seeks an end to teacher seniority, beat Patty Wycoff by a hair in the District 4 race. 

I’m not sure why education didn’t get much traction in the national dialogue, but I feel that it’s a debate that will continue in the years to come. 

  • I quite disagree with the idea that there was any waste of effort there. Issues are what motivate political organizing; And the sense of empowerment in these amendment victories will have many positive effects downstream, from the wider network of engaged voters and their increased understanding of how to fight for change. Whew indeed, and Onward! - by Ben Kreilkamp on Mon, 11/12/2012 - 2:22pm
  • I think the two 'vote no' campaigns were a big part of the reason the DFL flipped the Legislature. Suburban Republicans, plus the state shutdown, plus the sex and money scandals... OK, so there's lots of reasons the Leg flipped, but I do think they were strong motivators. And voters who voted NO were very strong DFL votes, I would think. - by John Slade on Tue, 11/13/2012 - 11:51pm
  • I agree with the "Whew!" As for teacher accountability, can I rant here, because, frankly, it's become the latest trickle-down. A teacher can only be as effective as the parent raising the child. Get off your cellphones when you're with your child. Stop dragging your children to the nearest Target and take them to museums. Read to them. Teach them to respect the world around them. Teach them to listen through example. Turn off the tv. Turn off the movie in the family van. Show them the world. Stop looking to the teachers to fix what you screwed up. Whew. I feel better. - by Michele Olson on Mon, 11/12/2012 - 12:41am
  • honestly, its easier to vote 'no' than to vote 'yes. - by Bill LIndeke on Mon, 11/12/2012 - 3:46pm

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Sheila Regan's picture
Sheila Regan

Sheila Regan (sheila [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net) is a Minneapolis theater artist and freelance writer.