Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Denying free speech 

Apparently, according to some opponents of the social science standards, people who exercise their (badly limited) free speech rights by paying for political speech are not allowed on the social science drafting committee.
On November 1st Commissioner Yecke �appointed and empowered� 14 members of the large committee to create the final draft standards based on their �leadership and consensus building.� However, concerned citizens who don�t want education politicized should be aware that 97% of all reportable contributions made by Commissioner-selected committee members over the past six years were made to Republican candidates or conservative causes. Even more disturbing is that a majority of these contributions, nearly $25,000, were made by one person who became the chair of the Civics strand and is the Chairman of the Board of an ultra-conservative think tank called the Claremont Institute.
If you remove that one person, the remaining money given out is under $3,000 plus whatever the hidden contributions of the minority members are. The attack on that person is pretty low. Because he gives money, he shouldn't be allowed to speak on civics education? And it's worth noting that in their adding up of who gave money to whom, they simply removed all the people who signed the minority report, and ignored the fact that Education Minnesota has a $22 million budget, endorsed only DFL candidates for MN constitutional offices (150 DFL legislators vs. 20 Republican) and has a PAC that gave away $2.5 million between 1995 and 2001. Should teachers who have $10 taken from their checks for their PAC be recused from the standards committee, or will we deny free speech only to those who gave voluntarily to candidates?