Unanswered Questions Remain about the Jensen-Birk Radical Education Plan
September 1, 2022
ST. PAUL, MN – Yesterday, Scott Jensen and Matt Birk released a radical education plan that would cut funding for public schools, convert existing public schools into private schools, and put politicians in charge of students’ learning.
Several unanswered questions remain about the Jensen-Birk education plan including:
Under the Jensen-Birk plan, just how much would state funding for public schools be decreased?
Jensen and Birk have already said they supported cutting funding for public schools and have proposed eliminating the state income tax – even for the very wealthy – which would require unprecedented cuts to education without new revenue.
Is Jensen suggesting he would amend the state constitution to pass his plan?
The use of vouchers for private religious schools is legally questionable in Minnesota because the state constitution clearly states we must provide a “general and uniform system of public schools.”
Can the Jensen-Birk campaign point to a single example of a state where their voucher program was tried and led to improved student performance?
Students participating in voucher programs in other states have performed no better and sometimes even worse than their counterparts who remained in public schools.
Will Matt Birk and Scott Jensen release their tax returns?
Matt Birk admitted that his own private religious school would be eligible for the Jensen-Birk voucher program, raising more questions about how many other policies supported by Jensen and Birk would benefit them financially.
In May, when asked by MPR “Do you support more money for public schools or less money?” Jensen replied bluntly, “Less money. I think it's a black hole,” affirming his long-standing commitment to defunding public education.
Jensen has also said that public schools need to “share the pain” and led the campaign against a school funding referendum in 2011 to help build new schools in Waconia. It got so bad that the local school district even had to put students in warehouse space.