Michele Bachmann claims that education and schools are her chief priority.
Despite her repeated claim that she is pro-education and pro-“local control of schools,” Bachmann continues to court politicians and extremists who want to get big government in local classrooms, turn students into state informers, and eventually eliminate public schools entirely.
Bachmann is a fervent supporter of George W. Bush, the president who has done the most to impose federal controls over local school districts. In 2005 Bachmann appeared with activist David Horowitz at a Capitol press conference and announced her intention to enact Horowitz's “Academic Bill of Rights” into law. 1 Horowitz is the founder of an organization that encouraged its members to spy on classroom teachers and investigate them for “bias” by searching voter registration records. 2
Bachmann has also joined hands with extremists who are targeting America’s public schools for elimination. 3
Senator Bachmann has taken approximately $50,000 in campaign contributions from members of the Alliance for Separation of School and State (ASSS). This group of Bachmann sponsors has signed the following proclamation: "I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education." 4 ASSS asserts that American “society has become a slave to the state by virtue of government-controlled schools.” 5 In the ASSS’s view, public schools were originally instituted to wipe out tolerance and diversity. 6 ASSS advises families to take their children out of public schools now and calls for an end to public funding of education. 7, 8
Bachmann is herself an extremist who sees public education as a threat to American liberty. In 2001, Senator Bachmann made the bizarre claim that the United States government was opposing “both free enterprise and representative government.” She also accused the United States of implementing a national public school curriculum designed to turn America and Minnesota into Soviet Union-style economies. 9
So it’s no surprise that as a legislator, Bachmann regularly attempts to destroy our state’s commitment to funding public education. Her strategy has been to try to shift the burden of funding education from state taxes (which affect the rich) to local property tax hikes (which hit homeowners and the elderly). “The most stable source of education funding is the property tax,” said Bachmann.10 Arguing in favor of a bill she claimed would increase education funding, Bachmann said that there was excess money in the general state fund available for schools this year—what she didn’t say was that her bill meant more property tax hikes starting in 2007. 11
At the same time Bachmann authored another bill that would have capped local levy limits—meaning more slashes to local public school funding. Bachmann has also tried to cut the existing sources of federal and state education funding, urging repeal of federal estate tax and repeal of Governor Pawlenty’s cigarette tax. 12
State funding cuts supported by Bachmann led to suspension of school bus transportation for nearly 2000 children in Bachmann’s hometown of Stillwater. 13 Stillwater’s school board has now been forced to seek a $15 million levy from local taxpayers to keep schools operating and make up for cuts in state funding that Bachmann supported in the Legislature. 14
Bachmann shows that she intends to do whatever she can in Congress to starve public schools to death with more funding cuts.
3 St. Paul Pioneer Press - http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/editorial/15219869.htm
4 Cite Karl Bremer, “She's says it's No. 1, but is she for it or against it?” St. Paul Pioneer Press, posted Tuesday, August 8th, 2006 - http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/editorial/15219869
9 Maple River Education Coalition , “How New U.S. Policy Embraces A State-Planned Economy”, copyright 2001, Senator Michele Bachmann, co-author.
10 Senator Michele Bachmann, presenting her SF 1532 bill at April 6th 2005, Senate Finance Committee Meeting, K-12 Education Budget Division.
11 Minnesota Senate Bill SF 2069.
12 Health Impact Fee Repeal, Senate Bill SF 2987; Estate Tax Abolishment, SF 0839, SF Resolution Urging Congress To Abolish Estate Tax, 0840.
13 Stillwater Gazette, “2005 Meant Roller-Coaster Ride In Education Funding,” Thursday, December 29, 2005 - http://www.stillwatergazette.com/articles/2005/12/29/news/news01.txt
14 Stillwater Courier, “School board approves final levy language” Friday, August 25, 2006 - http://www.stillwatercourier.com/articles/index.cfm?id=5247§ion=News&freebie_check
ISSUE : Bachmann On Education