Minnesota’s economy and high quality of life depend on excellent education at all levels.
Jim Read will work with teachers, principals, parents, and community leaders to improve success for children of all backgrounds and incomes, and to make post-secondary options available and affordable to graduates of all interests and career paths.
House District 13A includes all or part of seven public school districts: St. Cloud Area, Avon-Albany, Rocori, Paynesville, Kimball, Eden Valley-Watkins and Annandale. The school populations served by these districts differ from one another in many respects and face a diverse range of challenges. But the parents and communities in these school districts share a strong commitment to high quality public schools. If elected to represent District 13A, Jim Read will honor and support this commitment in every way possible.
In 1971 political leaders from both parties came together to create the “Minnesota Miracle,” which reduced the funding disparities between school districts, eased the property tax burden, and promised Minnesota school children equal educational opportunity everywhere in the state. Minnesota’s historic commitment to educational opportunity for ALL has helped make us a high quality of life state and powered its economy.
But the “Minnesota Miracle” has eroded over time. Funding disparities between districts have increased once again. Educators in many schools work with great dedication to address the needs of growing numbers of English Language Learners and children living in poverty. School children in some rural communities face local school closures and long bus rides. Jim Read believes we should recommit to fulfilling the promise of the Minnesota Miracle in the 21st Century.
Early childhood learning is critically important. This is when children develop language, thinking, physical, and social skills they will use throughout their lives. In Minnesota, we want our children to be healthy and ready to learn by the time they start kindergarten. We have made great progress in early education in Minnesota. Jim will work with parents, businesses, educators, community organizations and more to build on the momentum of the past years to increase the number of children receiving high-quality early care and education.
Equal educational opportunity should not cease when a student graduates from high school. For some high school graduates, continued education at a technical and community college best matches their interests and career aspirations. Others seek four-year degrees at public or private colleges and universities.
Central Minnesota offers a range of high-quality options in all of these fields. All of them must be available and affordable. The choice of whether and what kind of post-secondary education to pursue should be determined by the skills, interests, and career goals of the student. It should not be limited by wealth or family background.
Minnesota has one of the most well-educated work forces in the United States. But our working population is aging and many baby boomers will retire soon. Many businesses struggle to find young workers with the skills needed to fill job openings. Many well-paying jobs require more than a high school diploma, but not a four-year degree. We must expand our education and training pipeline.
Jim is grateful for the financial support, public and private, that enabled him to attend and graduate from college, and in turn to make a career teaching future generations of young women and men at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. Jim’s wife Pia teaches at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Jim believes the educational opportunities he and Pia enjoyed should be available to all, whatever their family background and life paths, now and in the future.