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Minnesota Senate Republican: integration ‘destroyed’ Minneapolis

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2010/08/MahurinElephant_Thumb.jpgA move by Minnesota Republicans to repeal school integration laws resulted in heated debate about the decades-long program that aims to diversify schools in the Twin Cities metro area and Duluth. During a floor debate on elimination of desegregation programs Thursday, Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, said, “I watched Minneapolis get destroyed, so I not only didn’t want my kids in the school system. I took them out of Minneapolis because they ruined our neighborhoods with integration and [de]segregation.”

The K-12 education omnibus bill in the House and Senate would take funding from integration and desegregation programs in the Twin Cities and Duluth and shift them to statewide programs for literacy. The bill also repeals the unfunded portions of Minnesota law dealing with desegregation.

Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) has significant problems with the bill. “Let’s talk about how segregated many of our communities still are,” he said. “Minneapolis over the last 40 years has been intensely engaged in desegregation and integration. With this bill, all that is now knocked away without any hearings.”

Dibble said the bill would harm college-readiness programs, college and career centers and magnet schools which have helped foster diverse learning environments, improved opportunities for minority students, higher adult incomes for low-income students and low-income students completing more years of higher education.

“I fear what we see here the is the politics of envy and division and protecting our own,” he said, “not the ‘one Minnesota’ we hearken back to.”

Freshman Sen. Hal’s statement on the Senate floor seemed to back up some of Dibble’s concerns. Hall backs taking the integration funds and using them for statewide literacy programs.

“Well, I don’t speak up too often, but this one has pushed my buttons. I am a product of the Minneapolis school system, completing all of my years, all the different schools,” said Hall. “I graduated with a 6th grade reading ability. I struggled my whole life. We need to teach kids how to read.”

“I watched Minneapolis get destroyed, so I not only didn’t want my kids in the school system… I took them out of Minneapolis because they ruined our neighborhoods with integration and segregation.”

He said he applauded the teachers and coaches he had growing up, but said, “The system is broke. My best friends are minority, they think integration in foolish. It’s a ploy to get more money.”

He added, “Treat everyone equally and with respect. Right down the line I teach my kids. I teach them every day we treat everyone with respect. It’s disrespectful to tell my friends, my minority friends that they can’t make it without extra special help.”

The K-12 education omnibus bill passed the Senate on Thursday by a party-line vote. A bill with a similar repeal of desegregation programs passed the House as well. Both are headed to conference committee to hash out any differences before heading to Gov. Mark Dayton.

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