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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Bulletproof Blankets

Category: Education
Posted: 06/10/14 23:20

by Dave Mindeman

Believe it or not, this is a disturbing picture...


It is called the Bodyguard Blanket.

It is bullet proof (in theory) and it is being marketed for your kids.

Selling points from the website:

1. Bodyguard blanket can be easily fastened around a child or adult, and is amazingly lightweight.

2. When seconds count, Bodyguard blanket can provide a quick, simple solution for maximum protection against a school intruder.

3. Bodyguard blanket can provide protection when used properly in many settings. These include, home, highway (cars and trucks), workplace, shopping center, amusement park, sporting event or any other location where people reside.

If we have come to the point where marketing bulletproof blankets for our kids going to school is acceptable....

then we have failed as a society.
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Brown V Board of Education - Topeka, KS

Category: Education
Posted: 03/01/14 17:24

by Dave Mindeman

I got tired of the cold and decided to head south and try to find some respite from the tundra. When you are retired, you can do that sort of thing.

Well, I have been on a brief tour of Kansas during this week. I have long wanted to visit the Eisenhower library in Abilene, Kansas. Along the way I stopped at the Strategic Air Command Museum in Omaha, NE as well.

But as I passed through Topeka, I found another site of interest. The Monroe School that was the focal point of the Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court case that ruled segregation is unconstitutional.

You wouldn't think that Topeka, Kansas would be a focal point of a challenge to a policy that was considered a deep south idea. But where segregation was the law in Dixie, a number of states had segregation as an "option" for local school districts. Kansas was one of those states.

In Topeka, the African-American population was relegated to 4 schools on one side of the city. This led to long bus rides and long days for many kids. And even worse, the schools could not accommodate the large African-American population in Topeka. Schools had to teach children in half day shifts. One group of children would be taught in the morning and a completely different group of children taught in the afternoon.

One parent had enough and started a parent group that petitioned the school board for redress of their grievances. His outcry touched a nerve in the community and the membership of his group expanded rapidly.

Soon, African-American leaders began looking at a court challenge. There were actually 5 different pertinent lawsuits that moved to the Supreme Court around the same time, but the Topeka case had the right set of circumstances to consolidate the challenge around.

And Brown v Board of Education struck down segregation in May, 1954.

One of the things that I took from this history lesson is this policy of preferring local control.

Our Congressman John Kline has been relentless in moving education control to the local level - with the idea of abolishing the Federal Department of Education and its national policies.

Topeka wasn't a deep south school district. They had the option to educate all of their children in an equal manner. But a discriminatory policy was chosen by the district and many students suffered because of it.

Local control of education has advantages in a number of issues that are unique to a local area. But there are also broad education issues of fairness, equality, and opportunity that only a broad national goal can accomplish.

Brown v Board of Education eliminated segregation from any legal status, but segregationist policies can still find its way into local school policies if not watched carefully.

There is a place for national education policies, just as there should be a preference for local policies that affect buildings and procedures and teachers.

There isn't a simple either/or answer to these questions. We have to discern the difference and act accordingly.

Education doesn't come down to political decision making - it comes down to what is best for educating all of our children.
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Congressman Kline Works For Student Exploitation

Category: Education
Posted: 11/21/13 00:42

by Dave Mindeman


MN Attorney General Lori Swanson is working to protect Minnesota students. The US Senate via Tom Harkins committee is working to protect all students.

John Kline?

He protects the for-profit colleges.

I don't know how much data can escape the notice of Congressman John Kline's office in regards to this - his purview. Maybe he is too busy looking for bones to pick about Obamacare - in fact, that is probably all he is doing. But our students are being exploited and Kline has the power to help.

MinnPost and WCCO are bringing this issue front and center...and it needs to be there because the next generation's future is being stolen from them by massive student loan debt.

Not all of the for-profit vendors are involved. Some are actually helping students in need get a chance at that necessary education. But the good ones don't give unrealistic expectations or recruit as if they were selling used cars. Believe me, there are for too many who do exactly that.

And you would think that Congressman John Kline would side with the students. To protect the students from predatory sales pitches. To provide them full disclosure of what they are committing themselves to.

But no, that is not what the Congressman is about. He has other commitments.....commitments to those for-profit donors who expect him to let them keep their "freedoms". Freedom to exploit. Freedom to profit unfairly. Freedom to exaggerate.

In this economic environment, students need a fair shake. They aren't getting any needed protection from John Kline.

He's working for the other side.
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