Posted: July 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

GOP Wants to Pack ‘Em In to the Rafters (Classrooms, that is)

Want Larger Class Sizes, Vote GOP

Since Republicans deregulated the energy utilities in Montana, the price of energy has gone up, hurting businesses and families alike.
Now, the same people who gutted consumer protections that regulated utility companies would like to nix the standards that ensure Montana kids get high quality public school classrooms. Republicans Sandy Welch and Rick Hill seem to think that removing accountability and standards to open the doors to larger class sizes will somehow help students succeed. Welch is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction and Rick Hill is running for Governor.

Welch complains in her speech to the GOP that “class sizes are not determined by your local school board, they are centrally determined in Helena.” Rick Hill is also on the record calling for “deregulating” education–eliminating the accountability and the standards that make sure sure class sizes are small enough for each get the attention they need to learn.
Never mind the fact that our students already rank among the top ten states for reading and math scores – and that the number of students who graduate from college is increasing in Montana at the fastest rate in the nation.

17 comments

  1. Norma Duffy (@Ilikewoods)

    Republicans in this state talk small government, but in reality they are lying their pants off. What they have been trying to do unsuccessfully so far is take away the power of local Government from county commissioners and education boards in each county.

    And they really tried doing this starting last session, with bills like :

    SB358: The most important problem with SB 358 is one that would endanger the State’s constitutional obligation to equalize the funding of schools. Taking away, tens of millions of dollars from state school funding!

    SB379: Re write zoning laws. In short, the protest provisions contained in SB 379 elevate the rights of a minority of Rich landowners over the rights of the community as a whole, and over other landowners whose quality of life and economic interests may also be affected — whether positively or negatively by zoning.

    HB 456: Would establish dangerous precedent as a content-based restriction on the power of local schools to make their own curriculum decisions. the bill runs afoul of the Montana Constitution’s requirements for local control of schools, and limits free speech, freedom of association, and equal protection already established under state and federal constitutions.

    They are continuing this dangerous lurch towards, taking away community’s rights within counties this election year again. Time to stop this once and for all!

  2. Havre Voter

    Let’s be honest -republicans don’t think larger class sizes are better for education- no one does. They think they can cut teacher jobs to give a nice fat tax break to Exxon and friends–not that those companies pay their taxes anyway, as I read on the gazette recently, the utility and oil companies aren’t paying their taxes and schools are the ones to lose.

  3. Paul S.

    He shall hereafter be known as Congressman Cancer.

    This dick is already under fire for trying to eliminate funding for cancer screenings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaB_BSaMzQ4 So then, the Cancer Congressman doubles down on his efforts to deny screenings and other health care services to tens of thousands of Montana women.

    Rehberg, unfortunately for Montana, chairs the Congressional committee responsible for funding health care, wants to zero out all funding for women’s reproductive cancer screening. Rehberg voted to approve his own plan this morning.

    • Rob Kailey

      Larry, I’m certainly not trying to start an off-topic argument here, but I am really curious what this graphic has to do with anything?

      I have 3 complaints with it that have nothing to do with the context of this post, however.

      1) It is remarkably and discordantly US-centric, displaying ignorance of other interests. What is not displayed is that the overwhelming majority of what were “native lands” 1n 1780 were actually ‘owned’ by the French and the Spanish. See number 3. This leads to …

      2) Flaws of an arbitrary timeline. The only reason any of that graphic map is white at the beginning is because well before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock a super-plague wiped out an estimated 90+% of Native peoples on the eastern coast. Though not nearly as devastating further west, sickness thinned opposition to European settlement. I know that is harsh to write, but factual. It is well known that Scandahoovians (viking by trade) attempted to establish settlements on this continent 500 years before Columbus found his way into Caribbean waters. They got their asses kicked out and didn’t come back. Obviously something changed in half a century and it wasn’t guns. That would be germ plague. It is widely accepted that that sickness was brought by Europeans to the ‘new’ world, and I certainly wouldn’t argue against it. I also would be the last one to argue that we haven’t committed acts of genocide against Native Peoples. Still, ignoring large and very significant portions of the European invasion is a half-truth at best, leading to your introduction: “We the People screw the Indians”. The Constitution didn’t do that, nor did the US as you present.

      3) This graphic of cultural conflict suffers from the same bias that caused the conflict to begin with. Europeans had, and America certainly carried over, a vastly different idea of property than most Native peoples had. Montana did not ‘belong’ to the Crow, the Salish, the Black Feet, the Sioux and the Kootenai. When the Constitution was ratified, much of it belonged to the French, and then to Emperor Napoleon. “We the People” bought it thanks to Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon’s need to finance war against the rest of Europe. Any claim that the land was ‘ceded’ by rightful owners is accepting a European ideal that directly applies and sadly justifies the actions of ownership. Under that view, the view of the graphic presented, “we” simply kicked squatters off our property. Of course what “we” did wasn’t right, depending on the moral foundation one carries into the topic, especially considering the numerous and egregious treaty violations of the US government (the Black Hills being the best of examples.) But asking one to have sympathy for a different cultural view based on the dominant cultural view is counter-productive at best, and an offensive effort at worst.

      Now, to bring this back to the topic of the post, one of worst forms of cultural genocide committed by America was the insistence that Indians be made white through a draconian educational system. Though not nearly as fascist as a century ago, that still continues to this day. The best thing Montana could have done for Native education is to elect Denise Juneau as Superintendent of Public Instruction. She has maintained a sympathy for cultural education that defies the meat-grinder paradigm of the Republicants. That is a net benefit to us all.

      • larry kurtz

        Verbal bomb-throwing has its risks, for sure, Rob: my being off-target is hardly rare.

        You read my mind, though, as far as too much American History goes untaught because of classroom limitations and the body of law associated with textbooks alluded to in your rejoinder.

        Glad it got your attention.

        • Rob Kailey

          Just for the record, I’m thankful I was taught the true story of the “Battle” of the Big Hole. It was nothing but a fricking slaughter of women and children.

          • Craig Moore

            Rob, perhaps Terry C. Johnston’s book “Lay the Mountains Low” is the better history. He was going to follow up the story with the flight of Chief Joseph but cancer took him first.

  4. Queen City Dem

    This is interesting. When Welch writes for a audience not made up entirely of rabid Republicans, she takes out the part about needing to eliminate the class size standards. Too funny!