The big buzz in Montana politics today is the shocking front page article in the Great Falls Tribune, revealing that a borderline illiterate person is now the head of our school system. In case you missed it, Arntzen was asked, in front of a classroom, whether she’d support a statewide preschool program for the neediest and poorest children. The response was so alarming that the Tribune decided to print the entire thing. I would encourage you to read the whole article, but I have printed excerpts below.
As you will see, this is a person who is barely able to speak English. There are fourth graders who could have uttered more coherent and complete sentences. And there are recently arrived immigrants who could have, too, even some for whom English is a second or even third language. She is now in charge of Montana elementary and secondary schools. (Her predecessor went to Harvard).
The grounds for recalling an elected official, under 2-16-603 of the Montana code are:
(3) Physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of the oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense enumerated in Title 45 are the only grounds for recall.
Perhaps the process should begin. You be the judge.
Here are the excerpts:
Arntzen danced around the question before saying, “I do need to share with you that when I did ask that question, and I did a lot of traveling, it was not on the number one. The number one was making sure I had a teacher that’s there. So I do believe in our tight, fiscal minds, we have to say that wish list is big. That wish list is there and it’s on that list. But at this opportunity time, is that it? But again, I’m going to reiterate, if the Legislature does so happen, because it would take that opportunity to occur, if that happens, then I would do that within my power and with your energy in this room, to put that forward for our neediest and our youngest. I will not impede that.”
Arntzen then talked about education budget cuts and ensuring a bright future for students before adding, “And yes, my granddaughter, I’m blessed. Working parents, both of them are. And it is a difficult thing for child care, but I look at you, you don’t take care of that child. You’re educators. You educate that whole spirit, that whole mind. Yes, the whole mind you educate. And you educate the body. You cannot get to that entire end unless you have taken care of everything, and that’s very important. So with that, it is up to them. I would not impede it. If it is the wish, then that would be the case. Thank you.”
Later she discussed the ACT test:
“This is a free test,” Arntzen said. “Some of these students have never been to college before and to allow them that opportunity to say ‘I could go to college,’ that was what the whole purpose of this is. So what occurred with the last administration in the heat of the hour for filling in these with false numbers, does shed some darkness on that, but we’re going to plow through with lightness because it is about putting our Montana students first.”
“That’s why we’re having a very robust discussion with the federal government,” Arntzen said. “It’s in transition as well and we need to make sure that Montana is as harmless as possible because it does affect our kids. The ultimate thing of any non-compliant with the federal government is that we’re trying to do a work around, we’re doing everything we can. It’s about communication. So whatever didn’t happen, we’re putting 10 more issues into it to make sure Montana is harmless. It’s about our kids.”
“There was also a grant that occurred, and I did sign that letter because here’s the deal, if the money is not there, what happens to those young ones? What happens to that need? You cannot bind one legislative session to another. We’ve had education cuts before. What happens to them? We can’t be rash. We have to be sincere in going forward and making sure that that pathway is as bright and robust for all of those students that are there.
“And yes, my granddaughter, I’m blessed. Working parents, both of them are. And it is a difficult thing for childcare, but I look at you, you don’t take care of that child. You’re educators. You educate that whole spirit, that whole mind. Yes, the whole mind you educate. And you educate the body. You cannot get to that entire end unless you have taken care of everything, and that’s very important. So with that, it is up to them. I would not impede it. If it is the wish, then that would be the case.