To John Marty, one of the most important responsibilities of the state is to provide all students with access to quality education. Minnesota does best when students have the opportunity to graduate ready for 21st Century success – whether they go on to a college, university or technical school or head straight to the workforce. To do so, we will need a strong state investment. Minnesota invested in education even during the great depression, and the entire nation did so after World War II, with the GI bill. It is unwise to expect schools to rely more and more on higher property taxes and the funds that parents and students can raise from bake sales and box-tops.
Funding our state’s commitment to education. John will work to shift education funding from regressive property taxes to more progressive state income taxes. Property taxes are an unfair means of paying for education and other services because the quality of a school should not be dependent on the property wealth of the community in which it is based. State income taxes provide a more equitable basis for funding education, as our state constitution explicitly requires. While providing needed funding, we must ensure that the funding system is fair to the needs of differing types of students and districts. To do this, John authored the Senate version of Rep. Mindy Greiling's New Minnesota Miracle, a funding reform proposal based on the recommendations from P.S. Minnesota, a nonpartisan coalition of statewide education organizations and parents.
Close the opportunity gap and invest in early education programs. Investing in early childhood programs like Head Start, School Readiness, Sliding Fee Childcare, and Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) is smart policy for Minnesota. These learning opportunities give a big boost to young children and save money by enabling schools to focus more on education and less on remediation and addressing the challenges of emotionally and behavioral-disturbed children. All day kindergarten is needed to maintain early learning academic gains once children reach the K-12 system. Successful education requires addressing the needs of the whole child and family. Children who are homeless, children who go to school hungry, children who go home to dysfunctional households are not able to thrive in school. John's work in the Senate addresses these inter-related social needs: he has authored the Minnesota Health Plan that would provide comprehensive health care, including chemical dependency and mental health treatment, he has been leading the fight to address hunger and homelessness, and he has fought for economic and social policies that would ensure that every student arrives at school ready to learn.
Teacher quality. Research demonstrates that, next to quality parenting, quality teaching is of utmost importance to student success. From higher education preparation to ongoing career staff development, teachers must be given every educational opportunity and tool to enable them to be the best possible teacher for each unique student. John Marty believes teachers must be paid commensurate with the important and challenging work that they do and supports alternative teacher compensation that pays teachers for taking on extra professional responsibilities and enables them to learn from each other, e.g., master teachers. John supports giving teachers the time and autonomy to share their individual creativity and talents to benefit their students.