Minnesota’s teacher of the year decries ‘tyranny of the 1 percent’

“From where I stand, teachers are the last line of defense against the tyranny of the 1 percent.”

That line in a speech during the annual Education Minnesota conference last week put Megan Olivia Hall, the state’s teacher of the year, in the line of fire.

Hall, a grade 7-12 science teacher at Open World Learning Community in St. Paul said:

I think about all of the teachers in the St. Paul Public Schools who gave up our cost of living raise in 2010 in an effort to limit class size in our district. Teachers are persistent and responsible and generous because we believe every child in America, regardless of circumstances of birth, deserves a decent chance at a good life.

From where I stand, teachers create equality of opportunity, from where I stand, teachers are a profession that takes a gritty patriotism, and from where I stand, teachers are the last line of defense against the tyranny of the 1 percent.

She was named Minnesota’s teacher of the year last May.

The one line in her speech has set Twitter afire from her critics.

But the theme she articulated in her speech last week isn’t new. She believes the biggest problem facing education is the achievement gap.

“We’re a democracy,” she said when she was named teacher of the year. “We care about being a nation of equals. And we don’t have it right now. Not everybody is born with the same advantages. And I think education is the key to closing the achievement gap, I think that teachers are the agents of democracy and the more we work together in our schools, the closer we’re going to get to a true democracy.”

  • Jim G

    It’s a great speech. She is speaking the truth. I’m a retired Minnesota teacher and she has it pitch perfect. As for the 1% comment, you need to know the oligarchy is already controlling the message. Watch how this speech is massaged by the various media outlets over the next few days, if it is covered at all.

  • Horse

    Egalitarianism is a much maligned value in our society. The plutocrats have had public ed in their sights for awhile now.

  • mason

    She should stick to science.

    • raz

      Her point went right over the top of you didn’t it….and you didn’t even need to duck!! Education is the great equalizer. Slave owners of past centuries knew that and the Taliban enforces its superiority today by depriving some of education. Money buys education and the poor strive to get it. In order to be a truly free and democratic republic of equals, we need the opportunity to be equally educated. Teachers are a pivotal link in that chain. I hope you can appreciate their gifts to you. In most cases they would make more $ and work fewer hours in the fast food industry.

      • mason

        My wife is teacher and she certainly makes more than what we did when we were working together in a fast food place.

        Also, saying I must be dumb because I disagree with your ideas is pretty silly.

    • Why do conservatives hate free speech so much?

      • Wade Smith

        She is free to say almost anything she wants to say. But this does not mean what she says is accurate or even truthful. As an American she is in the 1% when compared to the rest of the world.

        • RCD

          Who cares about the “rest of the world’? It’s in the context of the United States that it matters or not.

          • Wade Smith

            Spoken like a true isolationist! But if you use the context of the USA alone, we are an extremely rich country.

          • mason

            So does relative wealth matter or not? You need to make up your mind.

      • mason

        What do conservatives have to do with this?

        • You conservatives are attacking a teacher for telling the truth, just like you attack scientists for stating the facts (evolution, climate change, stem cell research, the value of pi, etc.).

          • Wade Smith

            Evolution is mathematically unsound, in re the probability theory.
            Climate change [used to be global warming until the warming stopped] is a natural cycle. Now human driven global warming or cooling is not based on science. It is based on models that do not represent reality.
            Adult stem cell research is a viable and growing medical technology. Embryonic stem cells which cause the DEATH of the unborn when collected have not resulted in any viable medical progress. Umbilical cord stem cells are as viable as adult stem cell research.
            The value of pi is an nonrepeating number, nobody knows the exact value of pi.

      • Sez Eye

        Why do liberals demand that we pay for their failed policies with our money, yet refuse to participate themselves?

        • Indiana Jones

          You say “we” as if she was talking about you. It’s funny how so many of the 30% consider themselves in the 1% because they have a high-paying job or lots of assets. The 1% has the same power over you as it does anyone else. It isn’t a liberal or conservative thing. It’s a truth thing. If you can honestly say that your information, economy, politics, and environment are not impacted by the whims of the 1%, you live in clinical denial. It isn’t even something that the so-called 1%ers deny. This isn’t the upper middle class v. the welfare state argument you think it is. It’s about whether we (99% of us) are at the mercy of the largest and most powerful people and corporations on the planet. Anyone who craves true freedom would be concerned about this. To poloraize this concern as liberal or conservative is foolish.

          • Wade Smith

            No it is liberalism to state they have the right to take another person’s wealth and redistribute it to the people that think should have the wealth.
            The reason most people say, ‘we’, is it is the middle class that will pay through the nose for all of the liberals’ ideas.

            This is why the rich was defined by obama as a person making more that 200K a year.

          • If you steal the wealth that working people create using a corrupt system of thievery, it’s not your wealth to begin with. It’s not like we’re all lumberjacks living in the woods and the richest 1% are the only ones busting their butts to cut down the trees. The richest 1% usually hold a piece of paper that their daddy gave them that claims they own the forest, then everyone else has to give them 99 trees out of 100 they cut down! At least in the vulture system we have right now.

          • Wade Smith

            Now you are talking about inheritance of wealth from one generation to another. So you are in favor of stealing the wealth from the one that earned it BEFORE he/she can give it to their children! What right do you have to another’s wealth?

            If you and the democrats really believed this then the Kennedy’s the Rockefellers (sp?) and other people that got their wealth from their fore-fathers would be the first to surrender that wealth to the government so it can be redistributed. But the IRS laws and regulations specifically DO NOT tax that wealth transfer IF it is transferred by a living trust. I wonder who wrote that law? Could it be the Kennedys? Why is it the democrats that want to seize the inheritance of the working people but do not want to seize the inheritance of the wealthy?

            Another thought why should the government seize another’s wealth that the person creating the wealth has paid federal taxes for?

          • Chris Kirchner

            Mr. Jones, all I want to do is start slow clapping after reading that paragraph. Poetic and truthful; I’d vote for you.

          • Wade Smith

            Please surrender all your wealth to the government. They will decide how much should be redistributed and what portion you get to keep for yourself and your immediate family.

          • Peter Millin

            I agree with you, but only if you add most of our politicians in to the 1% category.
            There is an unsavory coalition between our politicians and the 1% which crosses party lines.
            Did you know that most of our 10 richests senators are actually Democrats? (See: opensecrets.org.)
            The very same who claim to speak for the little guy? Hillarious.

          • While personal wealth certainly can have an effect on how much someone can relate to regular, working folks, it is not always the case. For instance, Warren Buffet and George Soros are incredibly wealthy, but understand that the system needs to change to allow poor and middle class Americans to have a better shot. Most wealthy Democrats (but not all) share this view, most wealthy Republicans (again, but not all) BLAME the poor for their poverty, and the millions falling out of the middle class for their plight as well.

          • Wade Smith

            Then Buffet and Soros should lead by example and surrender all their wealth to the government for redistribution.

            Do you wonder why Soros funds the environmental wackos on the Keystone pipeline? He Soros owns the railroads that transport the oil now. If the pipeline was built the oil would be transported in a safer manner but Soros would lose billions.

            Read An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) Adam Smith to better understand enlightened self-interest.

          • Wade Smith

            If this 1% has this type of influence, then consider the influence the 47% have.

    • jgray

      As Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year she represents teachers in Minnesota. In addition to teaching science, her other role this year is to say what it means to be a teacher, whether you agree with her or not.

  • Dave

    And now we’ll see how badly hearing the truth rankles the average Joe. And we’ll see how badly the media piles on. This is the type of remark that makes the mainstream media very, very uncomfortable.

    Believe it or not, there are a lot of Republicans in the 99%, and they probably agree with what she said, whether or not they’re willing to admit it.

  • Are we arguing that people in America don’t get different educations as a result of the luck of their birth?

    • Sez Eye

      BBBut I thought that public education was the great equalizer? It’s not? /sarc

  • Nicholas Kraemer

    She makes over 64 thousand dollars a year and didn’t get a cost of living adjustment for one year… I guess I don’t feel too bad about that. http://extra.twincities.com/car/schoolsalaries/default.aspx

    • DudeWheresMyCar

      So your argument is that unless you make a poor mans wage you shouldn’t give a speech calling for more equality?

      • Nicholas Kraemer

        The argument is that wealth is relative. Earning $64,000 a year puts a person in the top 0.5% of all people on earth.

        • And $64k for a teacher who holds a Master’s degree (plus) and 12 years of experience is a bargain here in the US.

          So what you are saying is that people in the US should bring down their compensation to a more equitable level?

          • mason

            He is saying that if people in the US want to base politics around relative wealth, they need to check their privilege and realize that even being middle class means they are the 1%.

          • They are the 1% worldwide, hardly the 1% here.

  • Ralfy

    Speaking truth to power takes courage. I, for one, am proud of Ms. Hall (who clearly understands that education is not just for kids in classrooms).

  • jeff

    Yeah but no teachers heard the speech, they were all off on their own little vacay’s

  • Achievement gap. Go.

    • Sez Eye

      answer: Rachel Jeantel. Nuff said.

  • Chris Kirchner

    I was at this conference. In my opinion her speech may have been to the left, but she made a valid point – wealth and the achievement gap are intermingled. Her speech was to inspire teachers for the betterment of future generations. I’m sure the media jackals will do a nice spin doctor and make teachers look liberal; they paint whatever picture they deem necessary for that day. Doesn’t matter. For teachers it’s about the kids – not the money – not the media. Then again, whats the difference?

  • PinguinoRoja

    Education was probably the biggest waste of my life. I feel lied to by teachers like these. I’ve spent over $60k in obtaining an undergraduate degree in Biology believing it would lift me out of poverty; there are no jobs post-bach or post-masters; and really the only thing I have to look forward to is spending another 2-3 years doing post-doc work for $40k/year. Really? 12 years of my life to make $40k with a doctorate? Ridiculous.

    Education is nothing more than the liberal man’s military. It serves its purpose if you have nothing better going for you in your life. But then again, if your parents can swing $50k, unlike mine; that money is better off spent investing it into a small-business. If you really are a top achiever; education, particularly in the sciences, is a waste of time and money. I could have made more money being a garbage man.

    No… money may not always buy you happiness.. but it certainly will buy your freedom in most circumstances. This is the real world. If you believe in the current education system and dedicate your life to it as it stands today; be prepared for a long-term enslavement to a corrupt system.

    • But (a) $40,000 isn’t chicken feed and (b) I’m not sure how old you are but I don’t know that it’s ever been the case that when you get out of college, your starting salary is hardly the payoff for your investment. You still have to work and climb the ladder to make more money.

      I don’t suppose you want to hear about the $110 a week job in radio that I had one I got out of college, right? Six day week. that’s $5,720 a year. That’s $22,000 in today’s dollars and I’m making more than that now because I proved myself better than others who’ve since left the business.

      I’m not unsympathetic to your plight, but you’re right, whoever told you you’d get the big payoff right after college gave you some unreasonable expectations.

      • PinguinoRoja

        $40k starting pay for a doctorate in any science-related field is a joke; you have to understand the profit margins that are made off of your back and the stealing of intellectual property rights throughout the entire process. If you are unfamiliar with how the educational research fields work.. let me enlighten you a bit.

        Initially, you pay a lot of money in the form of tuition, and you basically work for free to gain experience. Undergraduate studies is where the largest portion of a non-medical field incurs their debt. Once you get into a graduate program, it is 100% paid for, and actually you get paid about an extra $20k to go to school, but this is not ‘free’. You are going to be working in the form of academic research and in teaching smaller classes for the actual professors.

        Throughout the graduate studies process; your work gets profited off of massively, not by you. Research professors with the highest pays make all of their extra money through gaining funding from your research as well as by doing ‘collaborations’ with private companies. This is a blatant stealing of intellectual property rights, and trust me… an individual professor can make millions off of your work and you will never see a dime. You can basically find a cure cancer and the only thing you will see is your name headlining a research paper.

        When you take a step back and look at it, the tuition from undergraduates basically pays for the graduates to go to school and the teachers to continue on teaching; so it is an overpriced proposition to begin with. Then, if you don’t get outsourced by foreign students by the time you make it to a graduate level; your work actually becomes valuable and then ripped off. To put the final nail in the coffin; there are no jobs at the end of the road, so you are stuck in the education system for another 2-3 years doing post-doc work at an undermarketed price. It really is tough to find a job out there because there are so many people graduating with doctorates. This is why you hear so many post-docs who ‘settle’ with teaching at the end of the road because there really isn’t anything else out there. I know people who have been doing post-doc for 10 years and are still waiting for their coveted ‘professor’ status; and this is largely due to the tenure system that is still in place.

        I am not saying that you aren’t going to make a good amount of money once you find a job; you probably start around $60k and after about 10-20 years of work you can max out around $120k with a doctorate in the sciences. That is not a bad proposition. But, for the amount of time that you put into that education and the amount of corruption that goes along the side… a smart individual can find a way to retire (by investing their money into a business) far quicker by skipping the educational system entirely. That is my point.

        • Sez Eye

          Didn’t you agree to give up your intellectual property rights when you accepted the position in which you worked? You should carry this life lesson into the workplace if you ever find a job in your speciality. Your employment contract will indicate that any new tech developed by you while employed will belong to your employer. This is settled law, but can of course be ammended by contract.
          Not sure why you are upset at the system when you were aware of how it worked before you agreed to be bound by it.

          • PinguinoRoja

            No… I never agreed for a professor to steal my work for personal financial gain. And I certainly didn’t agree for them patent MY work without giving me credit for it. They had nothing to do with the novel idea, funding, research, or analysis… I just worked in ‘their’ lab for a meaningless piece of paper and at an underpaid rate.

            And I have worked in the private sector for 3 years at 3M. At the very least I would have my name on that patent with a chance for bonuses and upward mobility. At the very least 80% of those research ideas are actually theirs… in which you are just a slave working to create a product that the company wants. Finally, they would put in the work to fund your research. So it goes both ways in the private sector. Research in academia on the other hand is a corrupt system…. they can keep you there for anywhere from 3 to 8 years based on the professor’s preference.. and if you don’t see that or know about it… I don’t know what to tell you.

          • Sez Eye

            Not trying to pizz you off, but did you not know how academic research operated before you agreed to work in that environment? Having never done it myself, I don’t know the specifics, but did you sign a contract or research the professor’s history?

            I also don’t understand the comment that “they can keep you there for anywhere from 3 to 8 years”. This sounds like indentured servitude, something that was outlawed many years ago. Is this even legal? How are they “keeping you there”?

      • PinguinoRoja

        And just FYI… they didn’t tell me I would get a big payoff.. they told me to do what I like to do. This was horrible advice.

        • Bummer. So what’s your next move?

          • PinguinoRoja

            Honestly, I am in too deep to turn back now; I’m already through the hard parts so it’s just a downhill ride of hypocrisy from here.. A working slave to the system. Such is life.

        • You’d rather do what you hate?

          Sounds like a great life plan to me.

          • PinguinoRoja

            Unlike most idealists.. money can make me happy. Only a person with the luxury of not living below the poverty line for the better part of their life would have an attitude that money isn’t everything. When you can’t eat or feed your children, go out and do the simplest things, your attitude will change real quick.

            The bottom line is: work is work. If you are going to be miserable anyways, you might as well get the most buck for your bang…

    • JQP

      secondary education is wrong-sized for todays needs true enough. Many , like you apparently, assume that a college degree is an automatic paycheck equal to your college debt. Why is that … ? well … in par because we don’t equate slowly education and practical experience with over-regulated college coursework. … you have to sell you soul for one ride on the brass ring merry go round.

      Secondly … the failure rate of small businesses is horrendous. About equivalent to your failed college outcome … but you can discharge it though bankruptcy as a tax on he rest of us – when the service costs on our loans go up.

      • PinguinoRoja

        You are correct if you are exclusively talking about non-franchise small-time establishments. Where the money is though is in commodities, not setting up shop somewhere.

    • For the record, higher educational levels do usually correspond with better wages and lower unemployment levels http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

      Perhaps Biology isn’t an ideal profession for making money, but a lot of that likely depends on which path you pursue. I’ve met wildlife biologists and marine biologists who make a respectable living AND enjoy their work.

      It’s not really about money though, it’s about what makes you happy in this world. If all you care about is money, start from scratch and become a hedge fund manager. You won’t be happy, and will have no life outside of work, but you’ll have piles of money.

      • PinguinoRoja

        “I’ve met…”

        Well I am one and I’m telling you different.

    • KT college parent

      A college education has to be understood as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. That is, don’t assume that once you have a diploma you are guaranteed ANYTHING. All students need to plan their next steps (before they start and while they are at college) to prepare for the time they have their degree of choice and are entering the workforce.

      The unfortunate fact is too many students exit college with significant debt plus a degree which does not lend itself to an income to address the debt. Parents and HS counselors need to be engaged in explaining the likely return on the individual’s college investment.

      Colleges must be forthright in explaining what the average salaries received by graduates from their various majors. If the college you are looking at does not provide that information, you probably should move on to another choice.

      • Wade Smith

        Good point, but all the data points you are addressing are available at the Dept. of Labor in DC. The states’ Dept. of Labors also publish its state specific data as well.

    • RCD

      Blame the “banksters” who tanked the economy in 2008, but moreover, blame the fact that the “free market” system is dying of its own internal contradictions. That’s why so many graduates have a hard time finding jobs these days, whether it’s in a sci/tech major or [fill in the blank] studies.

      • Wade Smith

        Better to blame Clinton, and the democrat gang. Their enforced the community bank act to mean every community must have equal access to house loans; whether they could pay them back or not. This created the housing bubble which lead to the recession of 2008. The free market as not worked in the USA for over 50 years. The federal government through the power to put you in jail tells all businesses how they must operate.

        • RCD

          Meh. That old canard has been disproven repeatedly. Besides, the worst offenders in the mortgage industry were not banks but mortgage companies like Countrywide–that were not even covered by the Community Reinvestment Act!

          • Wade Smith

            Countrywide was a mortgage originator and as such was subject to the CRA. The banks told the mortgage originators what type of mortgagees were required to be in the mix.

            The mortgages were then bundled under the supervision and support of Fannie & Freddie; which means the federal government wads involved. Since the federal government gave the market an implicit guarantee the mortgages were collateralized as “A” grade debt when they were really “C” grade debt.

            These actions are similar to the actions the federal government took in the mid-80’s which caused the collapse of the federal savings and loans industry.

    • Chris Kirchner

      You sound like Michael Rupert in Downfall. The World isn’t black and white, like the picture you are trying to paint with your writing. Fact is the universe is one big grey area that we all try and navigate. You’ve hit a few asteroids and landed on the wrong planet, but at least you’re still on a journey. There isn’t a reason to walk around with this much antagonism and hate towards a system you feel betrayed you. Instead spending the time and energy sharing all this negativity, why not find a more positive way to spend your time – it’ll be better for the both of us.

  • Gregory S

    I find it incredible that she thinks that “we’re a democracy.” I realize she is a science teacher, but any teacher should know we are a constitutional republic, NOT a democracy. Then again, if we were a democracy, there would no longer be any “1 percent” to worry about – we would all be suffering the tyranny of the “51 percent.” “Mason” is right – she should stick to science.

    • spaz06

      Democracy and Republic are not mutually exclusive. Our country is both. It is a republic with democratically elected politicians. it is not a direct democracy, but nothing is.

      • Peter Millin

        Sigh…..not knowing the difference between a Democracy and A republic is a direct slap in the face to those who created this great country.

        • spaz06

          The United States has a republican form of government chosen through indirect democracy. It is both a republic (structure of government) and a democracy (way leaders are chosen). It has been refereed to as both since the time of the founders. Some founders were more democratically inclined than others, and the franchise was initially limited. However, it was the very idea of the US as a democracy that led to the expansion of the franchise. The canard that “The United States is not a democracy” is an immediate indicator that the person saying it does not understand much about political systems and governance, or the history of the US political system and evolution of the franchise and citizenship.

          • Peter Millin

            Unlike in Germany (where I am from) and Canada (where I have lived) in the US no law can be made by a simple majority.
            In the countries I mentioned the ruling party can pass anything they like by a simple majority. Party leaders force compliance to the party line and seldom allow “free votes” by their members.
            In my mind thats a Democracy, which is very much different from the USA.

    • RCD

      “Democracy” and “republic” are virtually interchangeable in modern politics. The sort of nitpicking I hear about this is little more than the mating call of the teabagger.

  • Marty

    Bob – Unless there’s more than a few Twitter comments, I don’t think this deserves the, “…line of fire” characterization. Unless this was just a blatant attempt to drive traffic, I think it falls more within the, “Speech by teacher garners a few Twitter comments” heading.

    • The end of the second paragraph is a pretty poor place to put a sentence to “drive traffic.”

  • Ormode

    It is the top 10%, not the top 1%, that rules the country. Those with a household income over $115K are the well-educated professional classes who control the political system. They stick together and make sure everything is to their advantage. They use billionaires as a bogey-man to distract attention from their own selfish behavior.

  • What’s fascinating is the speech was about opportunity and the achievement gap and nobody seems to want to talk about that, which is probably why even HAVE an achievement gap.

    • Sez Eye

      So you are also demanding equality of outcome? Is not equality of opportunity enough? Personal responsibility for one’s life is such an anarchism that we must not allow it to enter the conversation?

      • Nope. I’m saying people should at least talk about the achievement gap. State policy — from both liberals and conservatives, by the way — has long said there shouldn’t be one. You can take it up with them at the ballot box if that’s something with which you disagree. But her speech was very much about equal opportunity at an education and it’s the one point not being discussed herein.

        • Peter Millin

          But we have equaal opportunity at an education. Any differences are driven by local school districts and those who are teaching.
          A school voucher would go a long way to flatten the current paradigm.

    • Peter Millin

      We have an achievement gap because not everybody wants the same things in life. Some of us are happy to be a worker bee and punch the clock. Others want to be leaders and work harder. Both are needed for a functioning society.
      The notion that everybody should be performing at the same level is the source of failure to any equaliterian system.
      Equal rights don’t guarantee equal outcome. You have to do your own part and the US gives you all the chances to do so.
      If you decide not to take it don’t blame society or ask for a hand out.

  • gahanson

    How much money has been spent (or wasted) trying to close the “achievement gap?” About $1 TRILLION has been spent on Head-Start, with no measurable results. No amount of money will close the gap, because the gap is largely caused by the IQ gap, and little can be done to change that.

  • Sez Eye

    Teacher of the year and she doesn’t even know that we are a Repbulic, NOT a democracy. A good indication of how low the bar is to receive this “honor”. Additionally she spews the socialist demand for equal outcome, when the United States was set up to ensure equal opportunity, leaving the rest up to the individual.

  • Tony

    Call me old fashioned, but shouldn’t our teachers encourage Minnesota students to strive to be in the 1% rather than settle to be like everyone else? This toxic mentality embedded within democratic teachers is the #1 reason why there is such an enormous achievement gap in St. Paul Schools between the priveleged elitist white liberal students and their Hispanic, African-American, and Homong-American counterparts. Our students should be taught to excel in their field and strive to be the best they can be no matter their color, creed, or class. Ms. Hall is another reason why my children will not be indoctrinated into poverty by St. Paul public schools.

    • Paul

      Thank you Tony, you are 100% correct. Strive for excellence, not excuses!

  • Pretty interesting analysis here. Which schools are closing the achievement gap?


    And a good one from the Mpls Fed on the economic construct of closing the achievement gap:


    • Peter Millin

      I always have to smile, when those who have an interest in it, are comparing schools within our broken system.
      The real comparisson, in this world economy, should be on how do we compare to the rest of the world.
      Our country has one of the highest per capita spending in education, but land in the middle when it comes to outcome.

      • Well, the U.S. has the 14th amendment, which brings us back closer to the original theme — SHOULD all people get an equal education K-12?

        • Peter Millin

          Whats the connection here. I am sorry I dont get your 14th ammnedment reference.

          • Sorry. The 14th amendment requires equal educational opportunities and, obviously, is unique to our country. Whereas SOME other countries do not believe in providing equal education opportunities but, instead, identify those students deemed worthy for special attention.

            Anyway, that’s one reason why we spend so much on education. We have to under the constitutional interpretation.

          • Peter Millin

            Cant speak for all the countries, but in Europe there is no such thing as selective education. But you also cant go just in to any profession unless you have the grades to do so.
            Also the school system doesnt spend any time or money on organized sports, that is handled outside of schools and colleges.
            So as far as Europe is concerned your the 14th ammendment doesnt apply.

          • Wade Smith

            The 14th amendment:

            Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
            Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

            The students in a state do have equal protection. They are taught the same state mandated curriculum, and state education funds are distributed via a FTE count. Unless you want to eliminate the local education agency and mandate direct state control over all public education system this is a close to equal protection. The key is not the funds, the curriculum the teacher to student ratio; the key is the motivation of the students and their parents.

            And before you state some students have horrible or absent parents; if that is the case and you assert that the parents are harming their children then you should advocate the removal of the children from their homes.

          • But school funding is not exclusively from the state. So students in some wealthier districts often have more educational resources and opportunities than students in poorer ones.

            Which brings us back to the original point of the speaker which was the “circumstances of birth.”

          • Wade Smith

            Yes I addressed that in my comment that should the state control the schools directly and eliminate the local districts. But your comment about circumstances of birth will always occur in a free society because people will achieve to the level of their abilities in relationship to the level of their desires to achieve.

            To eliminate the circumstances of birth you would either require equal outcomes for all which would result in the lose of ALL freedom. Equal opportunity as far as the state funds something is freedom, equal results is tyranny.

            Plus consider the students that are educated outside of the public system.

          • Dave

            Which is why school vouchers and school choice is a step in that direction. But why do education unions in general oppose it?

  • Peter Millin

    Dear Mrs. Hall My tax $$$ support your salary and I don’t belong to the 1%. I am offended by your comments.
    BTW. The USA is not a Democracy it is a Republic, as a teacher you should know.

  • Quick housekeeping note for the newcomers: We don’t do the usual “comments section” thing where an insult to another commenter is thought to add intellectual heft to an argument. Make your point. Be nice.

    Also, real names, please.

  • Jay T. Berken

    It truly saddens me reading comments attacking the teacher about what she says with comments about her character, salary and/or vacation. We as a society think it is our vendetta to attack public workers when the structure of the system which they work needs fixing. When someone working as a director for a company making six figures division is losing money, we do not go to the comments section complaining about how much they make and their vacation. We comment instead on that it is a part of the free market, and we need to pay them these salaries to get the best talent. It is the byproduct of the market or the structure of the system that needs to be adjusted. Look, do teachers need to be scrutinized…yes, but do not say that they are being paid to much. All that says is that to those whom could be the best teacher work somewhere else if you want a wage and benefits you deserve.
    If we can get to the point that most, or powers that be, are on the same page that there is a structural problem in society with kids falling through the cracks with the achievement gap, then we can debate how it is best to take care of the problem.

    • TJ Swift

      Jay, you overlook the fact that it is the union to which Megan belongs, and for whom she speaks, that runs public education. They broke the system to benefit themselves and they fight tooth and nail to protect it; whatever the cost to our kids.

      • Jay T. Berken

        So Meagan is part of the problem of the achievement gap? And it is because she is part of an union? Plus she and other union teachers do not deserve pay and benefits they receive because they are in an union? The union may be part of the problem, I do not know. What I am saying is going after this teacher’s character, salary and benefits just make the commenters feel better, and does not get to the heart of the argument of why the gap and problems in education are there. Plus, instead of always going after the bad in education, why do we not celebrate the good things education is providing. How about celebrate a teacher that really makes a change in the students each year…

  • Dave

    Perhaps, you – Megan – have forgotten who pays the tax bill in MN and ultimately your salary? Why is being rich equal to being an evil tyrant? I have met some poor people who are not so virtuous. I went to school (yes a public school system), eventually to college and now work hard for my family and for the hundred or so of my employees who otherwise wouldn’t have a job. I thought we lived in the land of the free where we were all had equal opportunity to fly as high as our abilities allowed. I guess I better be very careful to stay “average”lest my wings get clipped by someone like Megan when I reach too high. It’s this kind of hate speech and stereotyping that our “teacher of the year” is indoctrinating our children. Education in MN is a sham! Stop pretending to be so virtuous just because you teach kids. Great teachers are great, but not all teachers are great! Do you think I (being in that 1%) want to oppress those who are less successful? Do you think I hate my children? Stop your inflammatory rhetorics and politicking for once and just get back to the basics of teaching. Also, next time you get your paycheck, remember who’s paying you!

  • TJ Swift

    Couple of things.
    First, if one of her students improbably manages to climb their way to the top 1% of earners, does the Teacher of the Year count that as a failure?

    Second, unless she’s being paid less than her predecessor (sorry about that coke) EdMN President Denise Specht is in the 1%. Why is she being so tyrannical to her underlings?
    Meanwhile, another couple thousand former SPPS students hit the streets last year without a diploma, many functionally illiterate. Seriously, these people are really beneath contempt.

  • TJ Swift

    While the Teacher of the Year was busy memorizing the Occupier’s Guide to Meaningless Leftist Talking Points, another couple thousand former SPPS students hit the streets without a diploma; many will face the life of a functional illiterate.
    Bravo, Megan.

  • Bored by comments in which people can’t refrain from calling each other names. Closing comments.