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Guest Commentary: Education should be our priority

Recently, the House Republicans approved their education bill that underfunds our state's education needs and particularly hurts Greater Minnesota. Disguised as a technical change, the House Republicans changed the "compensatory revenue" formula which results in gutting education funding for school districts in Northern Minnesota and many native communities.

Minnesota can move forward on two different paths. We can invest in children and education by providing access to quality public schools and opportunities for Minnesota children to succeed, or we can prioritize private schools and the rich and well-connected families ahead of the hundreds of thousand Minnesota children that rely on our public schools.

Minnesota's schools have always been our state's crown jewel. Minnesotans believe in our children and the role they play in our future. I'm proud that House DFLers are working to expand early childhood education, despite House Republicans trying to eliminate the very successful voluntary pre-kindergarten program across Minnesota.

I'm proud House DFLers are proposing to add 2.5 percent each year to the education funding formula, instead of the House Republican proposal that won't keep up with rising inflation and will cause cuts in classrooms.

I am proud House DFLers are working to address Minnesota's statewide teacher shortage by incentivizing more people to become teachers rather than the House Republicans proposal to make it easier to fire teachers.

While I understand that reasonable people can disagree, I don't understand the priorities of House Republicans when they are choosing to fight for tax cuts for corporations and the rich before Minnesota's students.

With a $1.65 billion budget surplus, we should prioritize our children's education by fully funding our schools instead of spending Minnesota's surplus on tax cuts for the super rich. I will continue working with my colleagues for a better education bill and I will fight every proposal that I believe will hurt our communities.