PoliGraph: Entenza wrong on Emmer’s education record

DFL hopeful Matt Entenza says he’ll pull Minnesota out of No Child Left Behind if he’s governor – and that his Republican opponent, Tom Emmer, won’t.

“George Bush’s No Child Left Behind is hurting our kids,” states a voice over in a recent Entenza television ad. “Tom Emmer supports Bush’s failed policy.”

In fact, Emmer’s never been a fan of the controversial testing program.

The Evidence

Entenza’s campaign says Emmer voted against a plan to drop No Child Left Behind in 2008. And at first blush, it would seem that way.

But parliamentary maneuvering on the House floor muddied the intent of the amendment Emmer voted against. It didn’t just end the program; it contained other unrelated provisions.

In early 2009, Emmer co-sponsored a bill that would have prevented implementation of No Child Left Behind.

Later that year, Emmer told Minnesota Public Radio that he opposes No Child Left Behind.

“I object to the federal government having any law that tells the state of Minnesota, more importantly parents of children in the state of Minnesota, this is how your schools are going to be run,” he said on Dec. 11, 2009.

Emmer supports holding teachers accountable, spokesman Bill Walsh said. He just doesn’t think the federal government should tell the state how to do it.

The Verdict

Emmer has made clear that he’s opposed to No Child Left Behind. Notwithstanding the vote against the muddied House floor amendment, Entenza’s claim is false.


Matt Entenza for Governor, education television ad, accessed Aug. 3, 2010

Minnesota Public Radio News, Interview with Tom Emmer, Dec. 11, 2009

Minnesota Public Radio News, Votetracker: Withdraw from No Child Left Behind, accessed Aug. 2, 2010

Minnesota Public Radio News, No love for NCLB in race for governor, by Tim Pugmire, Dec. 11, 2009

Minnesota House of Representatives, House File 614, accessed Aug. 3, 10

Minnesota House of Representatives, Journal of the House, April 28, 2008

Interview, Bill Walsh, spokesman, Tom Emmer, Aug. 3, 2010

Interview, Jeremy Drucker, spokesman, Matt Entenza, Aug. 2, 2010

Interview David Strom, research director, Tom Emmer, Aug. 3, 2010


The Humphrey Institute

  • Nice to see one of these not: “inconclusive” finally. 🙂

    If Entenza would so blatantly lie about something this stupid (easy to disprove), how can we trust him?

    Has his desire to be Governor made him abandon good judgement and say anything to get the job?

    We know money is no object, but truth and integrity clearly are.

    I urge caution to the other DFLers, don’t forget this guy has hired PIs in the past against fellow DFLers. He sure seems to want this job way too much.

  • Bill Prendergast

    Another good issue choice by PoliGraph.

    There’s a dimension here that’s not included.

    Entenza’s people really should have caught this: it would have been kind of odd if Republican Emmer *had* supported Republican George W. Bush’s big government No Child Left Behind program.

    Both Emmer and GWB try to identify themselves as GOP conservatives, and mainstream media assented to identifying them that way. But in fact, Emmer’s a sort of “winger,” a closeted extremist running as a Republican who still thinks that the state of Minnesota has a constitutional right to “opt out” of the laws of the United States–the federal government. (This is the “pre-Civil War” view of American law and government embraced by many groups on the far right.)

    And No Child Left Behind (NCLB) represents the federal government coming in and setting standards and controls for local education–that’s a horrifying prospect for activists on the far right. It’s the only Bush policy that right wing demagogue Michele Bachmann ever refused to embrace. (She started her political career claiming that federal laws passed by the Republican Congress were aimed at ending free enterprise in the United States and preparing our children for life in a one world socialist government.)

    So NCLB has always presented a problem for extremists posing as GOP stalwarts. They wanted to appear loyal and supportive of “conservative” Bush/Cheney and the “conservative” Republican Congress (remember Bachmann grabbing GWB and giving him a great big kiss?) But at the same time they couldn’t go back to their nuttiest supporters and tell them that “Bush’s federal intervention in the schools was a good thing.”

    Emmer is a Bachmann/tea party kind of candidate, touting these wacky suspicions about how ‘the federal government of the United States is against freedom,’ etc. These play well in Wright County, where many activists and voters suspect that the federal government is bugging our underwear so they can take our guns, etc.

    If Entenza’s people had understood that this weird worldview is now ascendant in the MN GOP, they probably wouldn’t have been caught with their pants down re: Emmer and his stand on NCLB.