At the beginning of the 2008 school year, candidate Russell Olson paid a visit to the Madison Central School District. He received a free plug from Superintendent Vince Schaefer, who told all the district's teachers that Olson was a friend of education and deserved their consideration. Olson himself backed up that encouragement by bringing the teachers coffee and donuts.
But now that Olson has his Senate seat, will Olson back more than donuts for education? If you compare legislator comments on KJAM, it's freshman legislator Mitch Fargen who sounds like the real defender of education. Fargen tells KJAM straight up that Governor Rounds's proposed cuts are an attack on education. Fargen says he won't vote for any cuts to education.
And Senator Donut? Well, for some reason, Olson needs more time to study and review his old boss's budget proposal to figure out what to do.
Olson does like to brag about his low ACT scores; I guess he never was a quick study. Perhaps he'll be able to catch up with Fargen in time for this weekend's crackerbarrels in Flandreau and Madison.
But it shouldn't take much study and review to figure out that Governor Rounds continues to look at kids and education as an expense, while legislators young and old (Gerry Lange's been on this message from Day One of his public career) recognize that education is our best investment.
Teachers, next time Senator Olson drops by, tell him keep the donuts: education needs real dollars and defenders.
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