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Green Party St. Paul vs Yeche confirmation
Rich Broderick
Chair of the Education Committee

For Immediate Release
April 23, 2004

The Green Party of Saint Paul calls upon the Minnesota Legislature not to confirm Education Commissioner Cherie Pearson Yecke.

-- Under normal circumstances a Governor, no matter what his or her party affiliation, should have the right to choose commissioners to run Minnesota's state agencies. Only in the case of incompetence, malfeasance or other overriding imperatives, should the Minnesota Senate exercise its right to block an appointment.

The Education Committee of the Green Party of Saint Paul believes that the pending appointment of Education Commissioner Cherie Pearson Yecke meets the criteria of overriding imperatives and calls upon the Minnesota Senate
to vote no on confirming Ms. Yecke as Education Commissioner.

It is the view of the committee that Commissioner Yecke has demonstrated both incompetence and malfeasance in her tenure as head of the state's Department of Education.

First the incompetence: In the endless controversy over the state's new social studies standards, Commissioner Yecke has demonstrated an inability to oversee development of these standards in a timely and respectful
manner and to achieve an outcome that broadly satisfies educational professionals, experts, parents, and the general public.

Much of the blame for this divisive controversy must be laid squarely at the Commissioner's feet. While ostensibly facilitating open discussion and information gathering, she has conducted herself in a way that has alienated important constituents, especially parents and educators. She has very clearly been driven by extremist ideological views on a host of topics, including the place of public education in American society, paying lip service to consensus building while ignoring the opinions of those whose political views differ from her own rightwing agenda.

Secondly, the malfeasance: It is our conviction that Commissioner Yecke is motivated by a long-range goal of dismantling public education * the very institution her agency is supposed to manage * and replacing it with a
privatized system of education in which public funding will be directed to private schools. As a private citizen, Ms. Yecke has every right to work to bring about this agenda. As Commissioner of Education, she does not. The Department of Education needs a Commissioner who is not only fully committed to public education but who is perceived by the general public to be fully committed to public education. Commissioner Yecke fails on
both counts.

While recognizing the ongoing need for reform and revitalization in our schools, the Green Party of Saint Paul is fully committed to public education. It is, or should be, our country's most important institution for preparing young people to become knowledgeable participants in American democracy. For this reason alone, the Minnesota Senate should
deny permanent appointment to Commissioner Yecke.