MELSA’s Transparent Language & Learning a Blessing to Many

Sometimes you don’ t have to look very far outside of a school to learn new things.  Not everything we adults have learned came from the inside of a classroom, sometimes having a zest for learning new things, new things just seem to find you.

If you attend any of the Metropolitan Libraries you may find MELSA’s (Metropolitan Library Service Agency) newest tools for flexible learning on your own time.  There are two such online tools that you can partake of for FREE. That’s right we said FREE.  They are Transparent Language and

Transparent Language

Transparent Language Online is a powerful language learning system that uses flashcards to teach you a set of words or phrases. It is the fastest possible way to lock foreign words and phrases in your long-term memory.

Once you have created your account you will be able to access Transparent Language Online from any computer with Internet access.
Subscription purchased by the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), with funding from state and federal tax revenues.

To access the Transparent Language Account Set Up click here. This access is from Ramsey County.

You will identify your current language then select from a huge array of languages the one you want to learn.  The education course has a tutorial how to use the software and how to interact with it.  You will need a headset with a microphone to practice the spoken word, otherwise you can go around that and listen and practice writing the new words.

It could be a way to help you to prepare for a vacation where English is not the first language spoken, or to converse with a new neighbor who immigrated legally to this country.

How Does One Navigate Transparent Language Online? teaches the latest software, creative, and business skills. Users will get unlimited access to a vast online library of high-quality, current, and engaging video tutorials taught by recognized experts and working professionals.

Use your library card to login to for free.

To use without the Library will cost you quite a bit.  Thanks to the Library system here and across the country you can learn the latest software for work, school, or just learning something new that is interesting to you.

This is from the About Us section of leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Through individual, corporate, academic and government subscriptions, members have access to the video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.

For 20 years, has helped students, leaders, IT and design pros, project managers—anyone in any role—build software, creative, and business skills. Now part of LinkedIn, serves more than 10,000 organizations. With tutorials in five languages, is a global platform for success.

If you’re wondering what areas can instruct you in here are the categories:  Business, Design, Developer, IT, Marketing, Web, Photography, Video, Audio+Music, 3D+Animation, Education + Elearning, and CAD.

For each learning category there are three areas to explore: Topics, Software and Learning Paths.  In some categories there will be a Guide as well.

In each tutorial you’ll have a video and a text that is highlighted as the audio covers a topic.  You can stop it at any time and review what you just saw.

If say life interrupts your learning. You can log off where you are at and your account will list where you left off and resume after life has settled down.

The tutorials are by people who are credentialed in the field they are teaching.  As there is a need for new software or tools, more tutorials will be created.

The Library isn’t just about books only anymore…but it will always be about learning.  ~~ Publius Jr.




Carl Jackson: Why We Need to Make Politics Local Again

The following article is from the Black Community News website.  It was posted on November 21, 2016 by Carl Jackson.  See Greg Copeland’s comment in the Comment link with the article and included at the end of the article.  All politics is local, and when Congressional District candidates run on things outside the borders of the area they want to represent they create a disconnect from their voters.  What is important to us, might not be important to others around the state or the country.  The common denominator with Republicans is that more Government means less local freedom, so we are for less Government, more local freedom.  ~~ Publius Jr.

voting_3Despite a crushing defeat delivered to Democrats across the country on Election Day, the Democratic analyst sitting next to me at the local Fox television studio here in Orlando, Florida, who once worked as an upper-level staffer for outgoing Rep. Alan Grayson, remained hopeful and optimistic – actually, giddy might be a more accurate description. Another Democratic strategist, also in studio, was visibly upset by the election results but was determined to get right back into the fight. Why? Some local races were going their way.

It’s no accident that the left is out rioting and protesting the results of the Nov. 8 election. They’ve grown accustomed to getting their way over the last 10 years. It also should come as no surprise to us that they’re interested in dismantling the Electoral College, which gives every state a say in national elections no matter its size and population. Additionally, it helps preserve states’ rights and their self-identity by assuring that larger states like California, Texas, New York and Florida cannot shape the political narrative and culture for the rest of the country. However, what you may not realize is that when the left loses a national election, it doesn’t stop their agenda to form a socialist America from moving forward. It just slows it. That’s what I witnessed on full display in studio election night. The left lost big on Election Day, but like Arnold Schwarzenegger, they’ll be back.

I live in Seminole County, Florida, where 15 percent of registered Republicans and 27 percent of registered Democrats didn’t bother to vote in this election cycle because they weren’t excited about their choices for president. Obviously, Democrats sitting out the election at a higher percentage gave Donald Trump the advantage to win the White House, but the low turnout amongst Democrats also allowed Republicans to remain in charge of our state House and state Senate. That may not happen again.

My concern is that the reason so many voters decided to stay home, other than their lack of enthusiasm for our presidential picks, is because they simply don’t know which party runs the state Capitol. In other words, regardless of the impact and immediacy state and local races have on their everyday lives, federal campaigns were the determining factor for why they stayed home. Even though Republicans won most of their races, this is disconcerting to me because many local politicians are running their campaigns based upon national platforms that have little or nothing to do with local politics. This strategy consequently increases government overreach locally because voters aren’t aware whom to hold accountable at home when policies adversely affect their well-being. State politics too often mirror federal elections when the truth of the matter is federal campaigns should take their cue from states.

Based on the number of Democrats that sat out the Nov. 8 election in my county alone, it would be wise for Republicans to trumpet their accomplishments locally, loud and often. Never underestimate the ability of Democrats to quickly turn an entire state blue by enticing out-of-town residents to move into big cities where voters are concentrated. Cases in point: St. Louis, Missouri, Chicago, Illinois, Baltimore, Maryland, and we’re witnessing the same trend take affect here in Orlando’s Orange County where gentrification is on the rise downtown.

In a lengthy column posted on a couple weeks ago entitled “All Politics is National,” one of several charts they posted showed that only 76 percent of people polled could identify which party controlled the U.S. House. From that same group of voters, only 47 percent could tell them which party ran their statehouse. That’s a troubling trend for voters like myself that believe in states’ rights. It also explains why the Democratic strategist I mentioned earlier were still hopeful despite losing national elections big. They were comforted by the fact they made some unexpected gains locally and statewide.

As of Nov. 8 Republicans control 68 of 98 state legislative bodies and will occupy 33 of the 50 governor’s mansions. That’s a good thing! However, since voters are more aware of national politics and tend to ignore their local politics, all it takes is one national wave election to totally shift the mood and policies of our country. Frankly, the tendency to run national politics in local districts is a serious threat to the Tenth Amendment no matter which party is in charge.

Besides the ability to practice free religious expression and pursue any dream you hope to fulfill, part of the greatness of America is getting to experience and appreciate the uniqueness of our union from state to state. I’m sure you don’t travel to Texas to experience what it feels like to live in New York, do you? That would be silly! However, it’s exactly what the left wants.

To ignore state and local politics is to nullify American exceptionalism. As conservatives we can’t let that happen. Let’s vow to get to know all of our politicians from the county commissioner to the statehouse and to the White House, and I’ll see you back at the ballot box in 2018.

Originally published at

Photo credit: lettawren (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

CarlJacksonCarl Jackson is a radio talk show host – his web site is Media wishing to interview Carl Jackson, please contact

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

Here is Greg Copeland’s Comment (also in the comments section above)


Carl Jackson is right!

Citizens that ignore their local governments will pay ever higher property taxes for less city services, and put their public school boards in the control of the teachers unions, where the students’ educational needs always come in second to the welfare of adults who work to their contract; not for the taxpayers and the children’s parents.

In my One-Party Town, billed as “the most livable city”, Saint Paul, Minnesota public school students are over 75% students of color as well as students whose families live in poverty, and their academic achievement gap in reading and math has been a national disgrace for at least a quarter century; but the liberal Democrat Mayor Chris Coleman, for all of his nearly dozen years in office, has routinely declared; ‘Closing the GAP Priority #1!’. The routine never ends and the teachers union rubber stamp school board routinely demands more money to spend on adults salaries which of course boosts pay checks, but with no boost in student academic scores.

Citizens need to wake up and vote out the fools on the rubber-stamp Teacher Union-Run Public Education Boards that perpetuate the cycle of Urban Poverty for our poor children caught on a Merry-Go-Round where there is no Public Accountability for the spending or the failure.

There’s Something Rotten at the 1050 Kent St Property

Yes Indeed there is something rotten at 1050 Kent. It is The Saint Paul School Board which has been bought and paid for by Education Minnesota and the Teachers Union Bosses in the Washington DC Headquarters which gave $100,000 to buy the Saint Paul School Board Majority in the 2015 Election, under a fraud on voters calling themselves: The Caucus For Change.

Ironically all four of these Caucus members voted to buy the Polluted Hazardous Industrial site at 1050 Kent, next to Lake Loeb in a residential North End Neighborhood, for $2 Million, after it stood abandoned for over 13 years.  The former industrial site owners admitted to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, MPCA, in 2006 about the pollution and created a ground water monitoring program to track the TOXIC Chemicals on-site and also placed a public deed restriction that would not allow any public school to be built on the property!!

The four so-called Geniuses installed by the Teachers Union ignored the sites Toxic Chemicals, and the pleas by the Neighborhood NOT to Build the $24 Million School on this polluted land. Known as the River East School, it is to be used exclusively for up to 80 students with a mental health diagnosis, served by a staff of 60, all whose health could be at risk given hours of exposure over a 180 day school year.

Now the Teachers Union has endorsed yet another candidate for School Board, Jeanelle Foster, who says she does not have enough information to oppose building the River East School on polluted land. Foster wants to join the quartet of hacks that voted, 4-2 to buy this industrial toxic chemical cesspool with its unknown future legal liability for St. Paul Taxpayers.

The last thing Saint Paul Students, Parents and Property Taxpayers need is another inexperienced novice on the School Board who does not know enough about how to evaluate a proposed multi-million dollar capital construction projects to cast a NO Vote to keep our disabled school children and our staffers safe!

River East School should not be built at 1050 Kent!  We need an independent school board member, who understands public construction projects as former six year member of the Saint Paul City Long Range Capital Budget Committee for over six years which oversaw the funding and/or building of the Wabasha Street Bridge as well as Arcade and Earl Street and the planning for Phalen Corridor as it’s Vice Chairman, Greg Copeland. Greg Copeland was also City Manager of Maplewood where he over saw millions in residential street reconstruction project and city building maintenance projects.

Under the mounting public pressure of Community Opposition and the November 8 2016 Special School Board Election the school board last week said after spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of staff time that it would delay the start of construction for one year.  A moral victory for Students, Staff and Taxpayers, but a “delay” is not a vote to rescind the Board’s Vote to spend $2 Million Dollars to buy this Toxic Site.

Greg Copeland has pledged he will make the motion to stop this public health and safety disaster and fiscal descent into a sinkhole of legal liability for city taxpayers if he is elected to the School Board on November 8th!

Saint Paul School Board Candidate

Pioneer Press St Paul School Board Candidates Survey on Greg Copeland

This was taken from the Pioneer Press Candidates Page ( for the Special Election for St Paul Public Schools Board of Education.  They did not post his picture even though they have had his photo on file back to 2013. ~~ Publius Jr.

Greg Copeland

  • Age: 62
  • What qualifies you to hold this position? Saint Paul Taxpayers need an Independent Advocate on the School Board to be their Watchdog and to blow the whistle on what has become a School Board that is the captive of the Teacher’s Union, which spent over $100,000 to buy four seats in the 2015 Election. Group-Think in our Public Schools does not embrace Our City’s Diversity.
  • What would your top priorities be if elected? 1. Hire a New Superintendent. 2. Create an Education Plan for each individual student to ensure their personal, academic & career goals will drive their course work. 3. No Property Tax Increase! Fund Student Achievement! Make Academics Priority #1 by cutting spending on Central Office Administration & The Million Dollar Race Equity Office.
  • What do you think is the primary role of government? Our Republic must preserve Liberty! Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote; “… imperative is the need to preserve inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press, and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion to…be responsive to the will of the People, and that changes, …may be obtained…”
  • Website or contact:

Ben Shapiro: White Privilege, Multiculturalism, and Other DFL-leftist Myths

On September 21, 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke to students at Yale University about “White Privilege, Multiculturalism, and Other Leftist Myths.”  This video is a bit over an hour but it addresses the myths that the DFL in this state create to ensnare voters and trap students in a cycle of despair.

The St Paul Public School Board enabled former Superintendent Valeria Silva to spend up to $3,000,000 for Racial Equity Training to be done by the Pacific Education Group based in San Francisco, California.  What this means is that like Jean O’Connell they believed that the achievement gap was due to race instead of the overwhelming number of students who come from households that are at or near poverty incomes.  Jean said that she isn’t colorblind when it comes to testing. She just presumed that the non-caucasian students would do poorly.

Pacific Education Group “trains” teachers and other staff in the district’s administration to understand about White Privilege.  Really the for profit group should be renamed the Pacific Brainwashing Group.  They are not anywhere close to an educational organization.

This video exposes the myths that the Leftists in Education have been telling for years and have been getting away with…and with your tax dollars.

Do we add another DFL Mythmaker to the St Paul Public School Board, or do we break this cycle of dysfunction by electing someone who will reverse this slide of expensive failure?

Bishop Harry Jackson: Here’s Something That Might Narrow the Black-White Education Gap

The following is from Black Community News, originally posted on September 25, 2016 by Bishop Harry Jackson.  As always this post’s content has not been altered, the headline is the same as the article.  Ads and some links have been deleted.  ~~ Publius Jr.

September 25, 2016

classroom“You’re getting your inheritance early.” Those were my father’s words to me as he explained that he was taking money that he might have left me in his will and spending it on my private school tuition. My father’s reasoning was that I would be able to create more wealth for his grandchildren if he invested in my education. Thanks to his wisdom, I would go on to graduate from Williams, one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the nation and to obtain my MBA from Harvard.

Besides my parents’ willingness to sacrifice for my education—a decision my wife and I also made with our own two daughters—there was another key facet of my upbringing that a growing body of research has demonstrated to be extremely helpful to academic achievement. I was born to married parents, and they stayed married. This has turned out to be more important to long term success than both household income and race.

A recent study of Florida schools revealed a paradox: highly ranked schools were producing only modest student achievement. But a deeper look turned up a likely explanation. The Institute for Family Studies found that, “the share of married-parent families in a county is one of the strongest predictors of high-school graduation rates for Florida counties; indeed, it’s a more powerful predictor than family income, race or ethnicity.”

It is not hard to imagine why children growing up in households headed by married couples generally have better educational outcomes. Married couples are typically able to provide more emotionally and financially stable environments for children, offering them more attention, supervision and opportunities than most single parents are able to provide. Naturally, the fact that far more black families are headed by single parents has implications for black educational achievement.

In short, to close the education gap, we need to work on closing the marriage gap, something which is widely misunderstood. For several years, conventional wisdom has maintained that traditional marriage is a thing of the past. Although marriage is indeed declining among Americans of all races and income levels, it is declining far more quickly in certain demographic groups. Writing in FiveThirtyEight, Ben Casselman explained, “Affluent, college-educated Americans are increasingly delaying marriage until their 30s. But they aren’t abandoning marriage altogether; in fact, they appear likely to get married at close to the same rate as past generations. They rarely have children outside of marriage, and they are relatively unlikely to get divorced.” Meanwhile, lower income, less educated Americans are not just delaying marriage; many are forgoing it altogether. When they do get married, they are also much more likely to get divorced.

The loosening of sexual morality—which cuts across class and income—has had a disproportionately destructive effect on the poor and less educated. Out of wedlock childbearing leads to children being raised in less stable environments and increases the likelihood that those children will not graduate from high school. The answer that is most often put forward for this is greater access to condoms to mitigate the consequences of sexually promiscuous behavior. Yet a recent study conducted by the University of Notre Dame entitled The Incidental Fertility Effects of School Condom Distribution Programs, found that access to condoms in schools led to a 10 percent increase in teen births, rather than a decrease.

Unfortunately, if these trends aren’t addressed effectively, the alarming inequality in our society will only get worse. The best curriculum and the most dedicated teachers can never fully compensate for dysfunctional or unstable families. So what can we do to strengthen families? It stands to reason that if married parents have such a positive effect on student performance, we should at the very least eliminate policies that punish couples for marrying. The government may be limited in its ability to help families, but it certainly shouldn’t undermine them.

Beyond public policy, I believe communities of faith are uniquely suited to strengthen marriages and to encourage and facilitate parents’ involvement in their children’s education. Churches, synagogues and temples can and must fearlessly preach the value of marriage. They should actively encourage young people to enter into healthy marriages and offer both living examples of successful marriages as well as learning opportunities for skills such as communication, home management and the care and discipline of children.

Faith communities can also support the education of children of single parents. In addition to supervised study time and tutoring, they can provide mentorship for the aspects of achievement that are not directly related to academics. These include things like helping parents interact with teachers and school administrators and assistance with the college selection and application process.

Any plan to heal the racial divide must address the education gap. And no plan to close that gap will succeed unless it works to strengthen families.

Photo credit: Alan Alfaro (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

HarryJacksonBishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

Greg Copeland Talks about Education with Hmong on Oct 16, 2010

It’s been 6 years since Greg Copeland addressed a forum put together by the Hmong American Veterans Association and the Capital City Business Council at “Downtown Lav 52 Km” Restaurant at the Days Inn Maplewood.  This Hmong Community Forum was for candidates to meet the Hmong Community.  At the time the Senate District 66 seat was held by entrenched career politician Ellen Anderson and Greg Copeland was the Republican endorsed Candidate.

Candidate Greg Copeland talked about the opportunities that the Hmong People had been given and how their hard work had blossomed in the areas of business and in education–particularly in charter schools.  Greg Copeland then talked about how the State of Minnesota, and the City of St Paul have disrespected Hmong business owners who had businesses on University Ave by taking away parking in favor of a Light Rail line.

Greg Copeland talks about other issues that face Hmong and other people being that it is a forum for Minnesota Legislative Offices.

He talks about how he thinks, “Government can be a Bully,” but ironically they are pushing to end bullying in schools.

Years later at a St Paul City Council Meeting Greg would stand up for Arjo Adams who was eventually run off his property because the City called St Paul wanted to put in a new access to the Bruce Vento bike trail.  Arjo was a bit eccentric but he was not what the bullies on the City Council portrayed him to be.  The code enforcement inspectors “found” things that gave the City cause to condemn then knock down Arjo’s house.  It is much like the health inspection case Greg talks about in the video below.

Greg Copeland is a fighter, a champion for the people, and for kids who just want to learn without being beat up or threatened; or told they can’t achieve because of the color of their skin or what country their parents came from, or that their parents can’t afford all the technological gizmos other kids have.

Kids and Teachers deserve someone who will stand against “The Other Party,” to hold the St Paul Public Schools Administration accountable for their actions.

Vote Greg Copeland on November 8, 2016.

Black Students Can Benefit from School Choice and Charter Schools

The following article was copied and pasted from the Black Community News that Star Parker puts together.  The article’s content is not altered.  We have added font color and changed font styles, and have set off a section of the article in quotes to add emphasis  ~~ Publius Jr.

Black School-Choice Advocate to NAACP: Talk to Parents and Children Touched By School Choice

BCN Editor October 5, 2016

Virginia Walden Ford, a national board member and a founding member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), wrote an op-ed for the Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Signal about the NAACP opposing school choice and the growth of charter schools.

The organization is part of a teachers union lawsuit in Florida to eliminate a scholarship program that helps low-income families. The NAACP also drafted a resolution calling for a moratorium on new charter schools.

“The NAACP, which was started to support the rights of black people, is now taking a position that, in my opinion, only hurts black children and other children of color’s chance of getting a quality education in this country through access to school choice,” Ford wrote. “Involving itself in lawsuits against the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program seems counter to their mission.”

Ford speaks from personal experience. After her son began failing in school, a neighbor helped her get a scholarship for him to attend a better school.

“Because of that scholarship, he was able to be successful and graduate and move forward with his life. This is what I’ve seen over the years with the children who have had access to school choice, including public charter schools and private and public scholarship programs like the tuition tax credit scholarship program in Florida.”

The NAACP fought against the “separate but equal” doctrine enshrined in law in the Plessy v. Ferguson case, which the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1896.

“But now the NAACP, who fought so hard for us to get the education we deserved in the ’60s, is trying to make it harder for parents to make the same decisions our parents did then on behalf of their children,” Ford wrote. “Threats to school choice options like the Florida tuition tax credit scholarship program create unnecessary limitations for families who can’t get access to quality education simply because they live in the ‘wrong ZIP code’ or don’t have resources to attend quality private schools.

The BAEO co-authored a letter to the NAACP, asking to meet with the organization before it passed the anti-school choice resolution.

“My hope is that the NAACP and other leaders in the African-American community who support these lawsuits in Florida will spend a moment talking to the parents and children who have been touched by school choice.”

Photo credit: By Jbak87 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Greg Copeland Champion of All in His Neighborhood for 24 years

Many people who run for office are prodded by a sitting office holder to run to make sure they hold onto a majority in that organization.  These candidates are what one might call a placeholder.  NASCAR uses placeholders to make sure that some racers can’t get closer to the front–their real goal is to hold back others so that their team members can win the race.

Greg Copeland has lived in the Cook/Payne Avenue neighborhood since 1992 and even without running for office he still is a champion and fighter for his neighbors to live in a safe and secure neighborhood.

The following is from neighborhood of Payne-Phalen, written by Greg Copeland in response to an increase in criminal activity in his neighborhood.

“I have lived at my Cook Ave/Payne Ave home since 1992 my neighbor Mark and I are the only two homeowners from that time left on this short block between Edgerton St. & Payne Ave. My alley was blocked by crime tape for many hours over the weekend behind my place and my neighbors duplex and the homeowner across the alley who is next to 615 Lawson where multiple police units were present for hours blocking access from the Salvation Army Buildings on Payne through to Edgerton St. The SPPD Crime Data Base reported an “Aggravated Assault/ Firearm”. The owner boarded up three windows Monday.

Police Reports made two weeks before about possible criminal activity at this address were not responded to; subsequent contact made to the SPPD investigating officer regarding another crime in our neighborhood did not yield a return call; contact with the landlord at 615 Lawson just days before the throng of police arrived yielded only a “Thank you.” and “Would you like to buy it ?”

It is 1992 again. It is frustrating now for new homeowners and law abiding renters. When Norm Coleman was elected Mayor in 1993 there was a New, Close Partnership on the blocks where people organized to help the Police to aggressively work to shut down drug houses and street corner drug vendors, end prostitution, clean-up graffiti, enforce excessive noise laws against ghetto blasters and a host of other quality of life crimes. We then got the Mayor to help to convert multi-family rental buildings to single family rental homes, or bring them into homeownership.

In 1996 and 1997 I worked to get the first Ramsey County/Federal Community Development Block Grant funds invested in the City of Saint Paul spent to close a 24 unit alcohol rehab facility on Cook, and a new Habitat Home was built in its place; finally winning a battle the neighbors had fought unsuccessfully for the previous 20 years.

My point is WE, homeowners and renters, can beat the criminals, and the landlords that house them; but WE need more than hollow words and press releases from the Mayor’s Office to take back our neighborhoods again. City Hall has been chasing ribbon cuttings, rather than fighting criminals in our economically challenged neighborhoods where the crime tape appears with great regularity. Beating the criminals should become job one; but the current Mayor and his cronies, have other priorities, like getting Chris elected Governor. Citizens here know this current crop of City Hall politicians, who all come from a single political party, have to be true to their altar of political correctness that allows crime to spread unchecked and intimidates good citizens from calling 911 because they are scared the politicians won’t back the cops on the beat to do their jobs, or protect the citizens calling 911 for help to enforce the law.

In 2016 Saint Paul City Hall is delivering more crime, higher property taxes, while hiking city fees for roads as well as raising basic water rates 20% to residents on the East Side, Thomas-Dale, Summit-University, the North End and West Seventh neighborhoods where incomes are lower, and seniors and families are trying to just keep the bills paid.

Of course, City Hall will tell you crime is down; really!
If you want lower tax increases and less crime you should move to Summit Avenue; it is the price of admission that is the problem for working families and retirees modest means. The $356K median value home in Summit Hill is up 5.1% in market value will pay $105 in higher taxes or 1.9% more. Dayton’s Bluff homeowners with $109K median value homes will pay $144 more in taxes, a 12% tax hike!

In Saint Paul it’s true, the Poor get poorer while the Rich pay less; so much for all that liberal talk of “equity” and “lifting all boats” in a rising tide of government spending that does not deliver either safe streets or academically excellent public schools for our Saint Paul kids.

WE are not the problem! WE do pay the property taxes, and the water bills. WAKE UP SAINT PAUL! Property owners, and renters (Apartment Values up 21.4% city wide…higher rents will follow) you are being sold a fairy tale, that higher costs, higher taxes and less public services produce: America’s Most Livable City.”

A reply to Greg Copeland on the street after one of his neighbors read the post.  We are withholding the name of the person.

Greg Fighting for his Neighborhood for 20 years;  Battling Criminals Successfully, Despite Complacent  Politicians at City Hall. 

Greg is the Champion for Seniors and Families who deserve Peace of Mind, as well as  Protection and Security for their Families, and the Investment in their Homes.

Safe Neighborhoods and Secure Schools Require Safe Streets!

Why Do We Need Another Like Minded DFLer on This School Board?

We have a clear cut choice this November 8th.  Do we elect more education insiders, or members of the teachers union, or do we go with someone who is tired of seeing property tax levies increase for a school district that has seen a steady decline in the number of children who can function properly in society beyond the walls of St Paul Public Schools?  Graduating 75% of the students is not good enough.  That means 25% are doomed to fail.

Greg Copeland thinks that the students in St Paul Public Schools are being underserved by a top down school district that spends money on Race Equity Training for students when that money should go directly to the classroom for better trained teachers and school counselors.

Parents have opted to send their children to some place other than St Paul Public Schools because the current school board wants to keep dangerous students that are violent, bring guns, and sell dope at schools.  Those students are not tossed out to protect the students who do want to learn, and teachers who want to teach and not cower at their desks to the threats of mobs of students that might beat them up and leave them with a brain injury.  The Teachers Union group that took over the board last year didn’t bring change until it was obvious when teachers and students are being beaten up that something or someone had to go.  All throughout the 2015 Campaign the 4 DFL endorsed candidates kept saying they weren’t going to expel students that were violent, nor were they were going to fire Silva.

It isn’t just about student violence, it is becoming a hostile learning environment for Students of Faith.  Students who know that the Inclusive Policy on Transgenders is wrong and when they speak up saying that it is wrong they are the ones who are called to the principal’s office.  Why should girls have to put up with boys who want to use their bathrooms or locker rooms. Why should Students of Faith stay?

Josh Verges, the education reporter for the St Paul Pioneer Press, wrote an excellent report on Sept 16, 2016, on why families are choosing to take their children out of the St Paul Public Schools for schools that are safer, have challenging academic standards, and an approachable staff.

We have not altered the content of the article.  We did turn off links and deleted ads.  ~~ Publius Jr.

Why are families leaving St. Paul schools?

PUBLISHED: September 16, 2016 at 8:05 pm | UPDATED: September 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm

After two false starts, St. Paul Public Schools has quit trying to figure out why families are leaving the district for other schools.

The school board declared enrollment to be a priority soon after four new members took office in January. But the first budget they passed — which prioritized direct school funding over district-level support — has undermined an effort to understand why students are enrolling in charter, private and neighboring schools.

Jackie Turner, chief operations officer, said the budget cuts forced the placement office to lay off the employee who administered a first-of-its-kind survey to families that left the district during the last school year.

“The position has been cut. This was not something that the community supported. Our community really wanted money to go to the schools,” Turner said in an interview.

Board chairman Jon Schumacher said he’d like data on what attracts families to the district and what’s pushing them away.

“I’m interested in understanding what our strengths and what our challenges are as a district,” he said. “These are all numbers that are really critical.”

But Schumacher stopped short of saying he’d push to make sure there’s money for surveys in the next budget.

He said school principals would be another source of information on what’s causing people to leave.

K-12 enrollment has been fairly flat in recent years, down 153 in five years. But it’s fallen far short of internal projections as St. Paul students have opted instead for charter schools and suburban district schools.

Their departures have exacerbated budget woes. The district now is preparing for a third straight year of spending cuts.


The district began conducting exit surveys under the previous school board.

Turner told the board in spring 2015 that they would survey the parents of the 147 kindergarteners who had left during the school year but still lived at the same address.

“We want to use that data to better inform how we work with our schools,” she told them.

That small effort begat a more comprehensive study into the motivations of 1,790 families that withdrew their 2,243 children from district schools between October 2015 and March 2016.

Beyond learning why they left, the district sought to make contact with individual families and discuss how they might bring them back. But the effort fell flat.

The district got responses from just 101 families, a 6 percent response rate. And of those, 40 families said they withdrew because they moved to a home outside St. Paul, making them unlikely candidates to return to a city school.

Turner identified some additional flaws in the survey’s administration: surveys were not sent immediately after a family withdrew; they were sent out only in English; and the district didn’t have the available staff to follow up with families.

The data they were able to collect, through multiple-choice questions, pointed to familiar themes. Parents cited safety concerns, unresponsive staff members and a lack of rigor in the classroom.

“I don’t think it provided the results that we were intending to receive in order to use it as a document to determine the reasons why families left,” Turner said.

Why They Left St Paul Public Schools Bar Graph

Turner said the district would have refined the survey for future years but doesn’t have the people to do that work.

“This would have gotten better each and every year we would have done it. We didn’t have an opportunity to do that,” she said.


Joe Nathan, founder and senior fellow at the Center for School Change, said stakeholder surveys are a basic function for an organization. He said that beyond the reasons families pick district schools or don’t, the board should understand what parents think of arts classes, special education support and parent training programs, for example.

“I think it’s very important for the system, if it wants to grow, to understand the specific concerns,” he said.

Monica Haas, a parent who fought to protect schools from budget cuts this year, said surveys are worth the cost if they ultimately boost enrollment.

“If you look at the amount of money we’re losing just based on enrollment … that money alone is worth putting some actual effort in looking at why people are leaving,” she said. “But you have to do it in the right way.”

Haas moved three of her daughters out of district schools before they reached middle school.

She said one daughter was threatened with a hunting knife by a child who was back in class the next day. Another daughter’s teacher suggested they try a different school because with other high-need students in class, she didn’t have enough time for the girl. The third, she said, spent a day shadowing her assigned middle school and was unimpressed by what she saw.

“I still hold out hope for my youngest daughter,” now a third-grader, she said.

Haas, who was running in the special election for school board until she failed to secure the DFL endorsement, said she’s heard a variety of concerns from other parents. Whether it’s elementary arts classes, special education services or smaller classes for English language learners, they are issues the district can and should address, she said.

“There are very specific reasons why these families are bolting,” she said. “I really want this district to succeed, and I don’t think they can do it unless they really look at why people are leaving.”

Soucheray: It won’t make any Difference who the Super is. No Difference at all

This story was copied from Joe Soucheray, a columnist at the Pioneer Press.  The story was originally published in the Pioneer Press on June 17, 2016.  We have not altered the content, but have closed some links and added a different headline.  ~~ Publius Jr.

St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva is interviewed in her office in St. Paul on Friday, February 5, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)
St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva is interviewed in her office in St. Paul on Friday, February 5, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

Soucheray: Another search. Another superintendent. Another member of the Super Club.

June 17, 2016

What can be said on Valeria Silva’s behalf is that it won’t make any difference who succeeds her. That isn’t exactly the gift of a gold watch, but as a school superintendent who might get bought out of her contract, she can buy a watch manufacturing company.

It is called the Super Club. Most of us have been on to it for years. School superintendents have a better gig than NFL coaches and are surrounded by at least as many assistants, sycophants, factotums and manservants. Supers come into your town and tell you important things about the community and how they intend to have the students rise above the fray. They tell us that we all have to work together and believe in the great promise of education and, oh, by the way, we need more money. Soucheray

Supers are rainmakers. They always need more money.
Silva isn’t at all unique. She can be a super with the best of them. They are all untouchable and they all land on their feet. You might say, well, they are touchable, because they can be removed by school boards. Yes, and then comes the landing-on-their-feet part. Silva succeeded Meria Carstarphen. They all last about three to five years on average, though Silva has outlasted the average. Their act wears thin and new school board members who are eager to tell us that they know what they are doing better than the super start grumbling, and the next thing you know, the taxpayers are on the hook to buy the super out of a contract.

Carstarphen went from St. Paul to, I believe, Austin, Texas, and is now the super in Atlanta.

It doesn’t make any difference. A great fuss and bother will be made to hire a consultant and scour the nation for the next best answer, and it just doesn’t make any difference.

Silva is being held accountable by a grumbling school board for falling reading scores and student violence. What was Silva supposed to have done, visit each home in the city and read to a kid? Falling reading scores are an inattentive parent problem.

Silva presumably can be held accountable, at least in part, for the appalling increase in the lousy behavior of students. She had to be a part of the brain trust that bought into a San Francisco consultant group called the Pacific Education Group. They came in here and sold a bill of goods that said, basically, if a minority kid acts up, it isn’t the minority kid’s fault. It is the fault of systemic racism and therefore the kid should be excused and not too severely disciplined.

That works real well. You would think that after a few teachers suffered concussions after fights with violent students, they would dump that horse manure, but that’s not what supers do. When you get in the Super Club, you defend tooth and nail your brilliant decisions, even when they are complete failures.

Oh, it is a wonderful, exclusive club. In the first place, once you are a super, you are rarely seen by the public. Carstarphen lived on Summit Avenue near Fairview. I know a guy in that neighborhood who knows everybody in that neighborhood, one of those guys. He never once saw Carstarphen, not even out for a walk. Not once.

Supers surround themselves with about 100 assistants, each of whom has a clipboard and a laptop and are on alert to tell the super when to go to her next meeting. Even as Silva’s buyout is being considered, the district faces a $15.1 million deficit. Nevermind that that is inexcusable. You want to know where you could save the money? Go to 360 S. Colborne St., the district castle, and thin the herd of redundant bureaucrats and administrators. That’s another thing supers do. They bring in more people to pile on top of the people that the previous super brought in.

Go ahead and buy her out for $600,000, a longevity bonus, a car allowance and 32 vacation days. She might even have to emerge at some school as a teacher or an administrator, but that part of her contract is unlikely to be realized. She is, after all, a super.

And then get ready for the next expensive dog and pony show which will be exactly like all preceding dog and pony shows.

It won’t make any difference who the super is. No difference at all.

Joe Soucheray

Our Schools need to Embrace Capitalism & School Choice.

This is from Star Parker’s Urban CURE website (Center for Urban Renewal and Education).  The content hasn’t been altered, only color and font type have changed for emphasis and some parts of Star’s column are set aside in quotes for emphasis as well. ~~ Publius Jr.

New evidence supporting school choice

Why should our education system be shielded from capitalism, the competitive forces that produce excellence?

By Star Parker | Syndicated nationally by Creators

A groundbreaking new study from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas provides state of the art data showing the benefits of school choice.

The bottom line: When parents have choice where to send their child to school, their children perform better in reading and math tests.

Patrick J. Wolf, one of the authors, summarizes the results:

According to their “meta-analysis of 19 ‘gold standard’ experimental evaluations of the test-score effects of private school choice programs around the world. The sum of reliable evidence indicates that, on average, private school choice increases the reading scores of choice users by about 0.27 standard deviations and their math scores by 0.17 standard deviations. These are highly significant, educationally meaningful achievement gains of several months of additional learning from school choice.”

The idea of school choice and school vouchers was pioneered in the 1950s by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. However, it has not been until recent years that the idea started picking up steam.

According to Wolf, “there are now 50 private school choice programs in 26 states plus the District of Columbia. Well over half have been enacted in the past five years.”

About 1.3 million students are in these programs, compared to 50 million students enrolled in our public schools.

There are various approaches to providing school choice: vouchers, education savings accounts, tax-credit scholarships and individual tax credits and deductions.

There has been much back and forth over recent years, with various studies claiming to show no benefits from school choice and even negative effects. Other studies have shown positive results and are supportive. The authors of this latest research report their results with great conviction and feel they have produced the most comprehensive, thorough, and unbiased work on this subject to date.

But no matter. Those opposed will most likely stay opposed because, like in many, maybe all, areas of public policy, it’s really about interests and ideology and not about science. Those who want to keep things the way they are will ignore studies and research or find ways to rationalize why the results are not conclusive.

However, a black mother, whose child is trapped in a failing urban public school, doesn’t need research to inform her that it is a good idea to give her control to pull that child out of that school and send him or her to a different one. It’s obvious.

Capitalism works so well because failure is punished and success is rewarded. Why should one of the most crucial institutions of our society — our education system — be shielded from the competitive forces that produce excellence? Why should failure be allowed to go on forever just because unions have power and parents don’t?

Furthermore, when we measure education we look at test scores in reading and math. But education is about more than reading and math. It is about transmitting principles and values. Where are the tests that measure whether children are learning the right values?

The progression of court decisions over the years extracting any trace of religion from public schools correlate with changes in attitudes among our youth about sex and family. Back in 1962, when prayer was banished from public schools, less then 10 percent of our babies were born to unwed mothers. Today, it is 43 percent.

Over the same period, the percentage of black families headed by a single parent jumped from 20 percent to 70 percent. In these troubled communities, the option to send a child to a Christian school, to learn and digest Christian values, can be a lifeline to the future. Why in our free country should this be prevented?

Now we have powerful research showing that competition improves test scores in reading and math. This just bolsters the intuitive notion that parents should have control over where they send their child to school.

Star Parker

Greg Copeland on the Record with the Villager, More than Qualified to Serve on the SPPS Board

This post is the answers Greg Copeland gave to Kevin Driscoll at the Villager on Sept 6, 2015.  Sometimes these reporters pare down the good parts of candidates replies to just 200 to 400 words.  We feel you’ve been cheated so we are adding the full replies. ~~ Publius Jr.

#1. Experience Advocating for Poor People & Making Institutional Change Will Make Greg Copeland a Good Choice for School Board

I am a sixty year old widower with one adult stepson who is a carpenter living independently. I am a homeowner living just off Payne Avenue for 23 years in a neighborhood that fully reflects both the ethnic and economic diversity of  the Saint Paul Public Schools, whose student majority reflects my neighborhood; low income and people of color, with children attending traditional East Side public schools or one of numerous publicly funded charter schools.

My first job after college was as a newspaper reporter covering public schools where I won an award for my coverage of teacher contract negotiations from the Florida Teaching Profession-National Education Association. While deputy director of a multi-county Community Action Agency I developed a Young Adult Conservation Corps job training program in carpentry and masonry for unemployed youth 16 to 22 years old which also required high school dropouts to complete their GED.  I assisted in administering Head Start, Meals-on-Wheels and congregate dining programs for the elderly. I wrote federal and state grants to provide unemployed adults job training, the elderly and disabled with transportation to doctors and shopping, low income energy assistance, home weatherization, and a community food pantry.

I served as a contract compliance officer for community college based job training programs and as a recruiter for a private industry-public partnership on-the-job training program.

I was the primary caregiver for my wife Betty, for 16 years following her disabling on-the-job crash in which she sustained a traumatic brain injury and numerous other physical injuries. Betty, a Professional Dietitian who provided staff training and public health inspection services to institutions and private businesses before being rear-ended by a careless driver,  founded Minnesota Hugs, a nonprofit to aid American communities hit by natural disasters

I served as City Manager of Maplewood, then Minnesota’s 18th largest city with a population of 36,000, over two budget cycles; in the first year my recommendation to freeze tax rates was approved by city council as was my recommendation to reduce tax rates the second year. During this time I reorganized city departments eliminating administrative positions and internally promoting a record number of long time city personnel to more responsible positions. I used the budget reductions and new grants to increase police on the beat by 10%, hire more full time EMS  personnel and expanded the city’s citizen staffed pay-per-call firefighters and EMS ranks; all without one dime of Local Government Aid (LGA).  I also hired Maplewood’s first full time code enforcement officer. While there were objections to these administrative reductions from some remaining department heads who formed their own union;  six other city union bargaining units got 3% raises and the police got slightly more

I ramped up the city’s residential street paving program doing two years of work in one year. Won a $1.2 million Met Council redevelopment grant to assist in building new streets and utilities to help transform a dilapidated mobile home park into a taxpaying multi-million senior residence. Worked to protect the sensitive habitat of the Fish Creek Nature Reserve in the Mississippi River Corridor and to place city parks in a public trust to keep them from being sold in the future for development. Funded a plan to clear of a backlog of years of neglected building maintenance.  While I was City Manager Maplewood was open for business; the city welcomed Costco’s new store, a renovation plan for the Maplewood Mall, a new 3M corporate training facility was built, and Menards and St. John’s Hospital expansions went forward.

My record of volunteer service includes my appointment by then Gov. Bob Graham, later  U.S. Senator from Florida, a Democrat;  to the Board of Trustees of  the Pasco-Hernando Community College for four years. I am a former Chairman of the Saint Paul Charter Commission and member for 12 years. I was on the Saint Paul CIB, Capital Improvement Bond for six years and served part that time as Vice Chairman.  I have been active with the Payne-Phalen District Council elected president twice and to multiple terms to the Board of Directors, I am now only on the Community Planning Economic Development Committee.

 #2.  Yes WE the Voters Can Fire Silva !  Enough Is Enough!  

My goal in this election is to build a  Citizens Coalition to elect a new governing majority on the Saint Paul School Board that will have as its first mission the hiring of a new Superintendent of Schools. Voters must reject the one- party model that has controlled School Board and their decision to hand Superintendent Silva a Sweetheart Contract. Silva’s new three year contract extends to December 2018 well past the terms of office of all the school board  members that voted for it on March 17, 2015. Even the terms of the two board  members, Chue Vue and Jean O’Connell who are not up for election this November have terms that will end in 2017; a full year before the final year of Silva’s 2018 contract

There is no accountability in an election for School Board when Superintendent of Schools Silva gets a free pass from her friends in the party in power because they know the jig could well be up.  The good news is there is one member of the Board, John Brodrick who voted against Silva’s new contract.   There are at least two candidates running for the Board, myself and Aaron Benner [says he won’t serve even if elected] who have publicly pledged to terminate this ill-conceived political protection plan for Silva; which Silva herself all but threw under the school bus days after it was passed by Board, when she decided to apply for Superintendent of Palm Beach, Florida Public Schools. In an odd twist it took Mayor Coleman to publicly persuade her to withdraw her application.

Any School Board, including Saint Paul’s has but one primary mission: hire the best Superintendent the district can afford. On March 17, 2015 the current DFL controlled Board robbed the voters of Saint Paul of their right to elect four new School Board members to make that decision in 2016. Silva’s then-current contract was set to expire in December 2015, just days before the new School Board would be seated. They did wait for the question of Silva’s retention to come up for public discussion.  The current Board exercised what it thinks is a veto over you and all the other voters as well as the new Board for the sole purpose of protecting Silva at the expense of the children’s future

I urge voters to use their ballots on November 3, 2015 to end this high stakes politics of one party control over our Saint Paul Public Schools by adding real diversity of  views to the Board to ensure a new leader is selected to move our schools out of the basement that Superintendent Silva’s record exemplifies.

Here are the facts from the Minnesota Department of Education, MNDOE, website showing the absolute decline of Saint Paul students On-Track for Success.

In 2010 54.5% of students were On-Track For success in Math by 2014 it was only 41.6%; that is a 12.9 point slide in just four years. In reading 53.3% of Saint Paul students were On-Track  for Success in 2010, in  2014 Saint Paul was well off track, falling by 11.8 points in 2014 to 41.5%.

Take a look at the 2015 MCA’s. Proficiency in reading is in the cellar as the “GAP” between white students and backs is now 33% points wide, 31% for Hispanics 29% for American Indians and 13% with Asian students In Math the “GAP” between white students and Blacks was 37%, Hispanics at 31%, American Indians were 33% and Asian students had a “GAP” of 9%.

Silva’s Strong Schools, Strong Communities Plan has especially failed our children of color. In 2014 the MNDOE says 175 or 8.65% students dropped out of Saint Paul Public Schools: 50 were Black, 63 were Asian, 35 were Hispanic, 5 were American Indians and 22 were white,  and 165 of students who dropped out were economically disadvantaged. If Saint Paul Schools had just met the statewide graduation rate of 81.2% in 2014, 151 more Saint Paul students would have received their diplomas; sadly that did not happen, only 75.6% students graduated in Saint Paul. In 2014, 412 or more than 15% of  class were not graduating, but were said to  “continue”

This results are unacceptable. These results are the strongest argument for terminating Silva’s contract without further delay. We need to change this educational leadership crisis at the polls; our children, our city and state, America can’t tolerate this rate of  educational dysfunction in the 21st Century. It is economic folly to pretend otherwise, and a cruel hoax on those children left  out of any opportunity for a good job or further education. We must elect a wholly new School Board majority that will take the courageous actions needed to hire a new Superintendent for Saint Paul and buy out the Sweet Heart Contract so wrongly and cowardly awarded last March.

#3.1 Replace City Wide Elections with Ward Based  School Board Elections & Reform School Board Public Meeting Procedures

Reform the School  Board election process. In recent years the City Wide  School Board election process has left the East Side and the West Side without adequate representation. Those who have been elected are disproportionately from economically more well to do zip codes, in  Wards 3, 4 and 5.  One East Side board member is not enough and there is no board member from the West Side. Unfortunately this pattern was again enshrined with the DFL endorsed candidates; none is an East Sider or a West Sider, the poorest and most diverse parts of the city have no vote and no voice on the Board from their neighborhood.

I propose a simple remedy, let’s  elect our school board members from each of the city’s seven City Council wards.  This will ensure a fair geographic distribution of School Board members from all parts of the city and it will reduce the advantage and/or need for big money in the school board campaigns by reducing the voter population of each district or ward to only one-seventh of the city, rather than candidates  having to make their case to every voter.

Other Board process reforms I would initiate are complete televising of all Board meetings from begin to end. Elimination of the “Committee of the Boardmeetings now held out largely out of public view . Committee work or workshop meetings should take place in public and be televised.  A meeting of the School Board is a public meeting under MN Law no matter what the Board  chooses to call it.

Public comment/testimony should be given and heard by the Board in a meaningful manner with respect.  Comments on  agenda items pending before the Board  should be made during action on that item.

The Board should give consideration to holding meetings around the city when a subject of special concern arises in order better accommodate the public and encourage people to directly participate. Listening to the people takes time, good representative government is built around a deliberative process,  we should embrace that process, even if it takes more time and may be uncomfortable for some elected officials use to the old ways

3.2 A Modest Proposal to Decentralize Schools, Invest in Guidance Counselors to Give All Students an Individualized Education Plan  & Spend the Money in the Classroom

Academic challenges abound in any school system, but given Saint Paul’s last five years the Silva top down, centralized model of insisting teachers teacher the same thing in every classroom on the same day has dramatically  failed. Where is the respect for teachers professional creativity? Where is the flexibility teachers need in a classroom where the ability of individual students varies so widely?

Education is like many things in life, having an Individual plan works better for each of  us because we don’t all share the same approach to life’s challenges given the variation of resources, skill sets, sex, age, ethnic heritage, life experience and many other variables.   Our choices are ours to make and all Parents, well to do or poor, should have the full range of Saint Paul’s educational opportunities available for their children.  I would propose to decentralize and eliminate of the Silva attendance zones and offer full  school access using practical public transportation options, i.e. school bus or van, or public transit to take the burden off parents working shift work or multiple part-time jobs or having responsibilities to care for non-school age youths or sick relatives.

Merging of all children by grade regardless of their unique educational needs makes no sense and degrades the academic performance of students, adding to class sizes and makes for unnecessary complication of  classroom discipline  and teacher planning and effectiveness.   I support an education model  tied to the unique needs of every child, whether they are  an English language learner, a special education student, gifted in a vocational education class or in Miss Jones Physics class.

We need every student to have an Individual Education Plan created in a hands-on consultation with the parents, teaching staff and guidance counselors to ensure that the academic goals for each child are met and any GAPS are addressed with tutoring and other interventions before the MCA and other tests are taken by students. Evaluation, monitoring and updating the Individual Education Plan to ensure proficiency at grade level is a continuous process comparable to a doctor assessing and treating their patients of any age according to their unique individual needs

The American School Counselor Association calls for a ratio of one guidance counselor to 250 students; Saint Paul is at approximately 435 to one counselor. I would propose to add to the present 85 counselors in the system over time as funds became available from system wide spending reductions in administrative costs, grants are obtained, new funding from legislation and of course elimination of failed, costly Silva era programs such as those operated by the Pacific Education Group.  Additionally, the $9 million annual technology levy funds should be re-evaluated to be used to support active use of  the Individual Education Plan process. No new funds or property tax levies will be required.

Saint Paul needs a  Citizen School Board that is committed to putting money into the classroom as its first priority. I embrace the leadership displayed by the interim Minneapolis Superintendent’s decision to eliminate 120 administrative jobs to fund his reform strategy.

The 2016 budget repeats the same pattern of spending as Silva has adopted for years, spending too little on students in the classroom.  Only 48.22%  the $525.3 General Fund or just $253.3 million is being Directly Allocated to Schools.  I support a policy that allocates the Maximum dollars possible to the classroom for student instruction. In the future teachers and classroom aides will not be the first cuts made as has been the case under the current Board.  Budget reductions must be made starting with Central Administration. On top of my list is a  full examination of the $176 million School Support Services budget and District-wide Support Services budget of $92.1.  Together these two parts of the budget account for over 51% of the General Fund.  The next Board in order to fund new priorities for raising student academic achievement and promoting safety in all classrooms will have to go through these funds with a fine tooth comb to spend more dollars on direct student guidance and instruction

#3.3 Spend  Title I  & MN Compensatory Funds On the Economically Disadvantaged Students Who Earned Them & Accept Help from Commissioner Cassellius

Both Congress and the MN Legislature  sent approximately  $93 million dollars to Saint Paul Public Schools due to the poverty that grips the lives of 73% of the 37,859 children enrolled in our Capitol City’s public schools where 27,716 got free and reduced lunches. I want to be sure that the $70,297,543 in MN Compensatory dollars allocated to Saint Paul and earned by our poor children in the state education formula is spent directly on them.  These are the students that need the extra attention and clearly the money is available, but how is it specifically being spent?  Parents of poor children I talk to are constantly being told by school administrators we don’t have the money to meet their children’s needs. I tell them not buy that old line; there is a $697.8 million budget

Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota’s Commissioner of  Education  said on Sept. 1 that Minnesota will not meet our state goals to close the achievement gap unless “we see significant improvement in Minneapolis and Saint Paul student performance.” Commissioner Cassellius was referring to the fact that 38 St. Paul and 36 Minneapolis Schools scored in the bottom 25% of the 2015 Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMR) and not one Saint Paul School was among the “reward” schools whose economically disadvantaged children finished in the top 15% of schools with a model of improved achievement that can shared with others schools. The Good News is there were six St. Paul Schools that are in the next 25% best MMR scores and are now eligible to apply for “Celebration” schools status.

The most disturbing news however was that Saint Paul was not participating in and had no intention of sending their staff to the MN Department of Education Regional Centers of Excellence that provide staff training that has resulted in a significant lift in student performance at many schools outside the two core cities.  A Saint Paul Public Schools official told local media “we” did not have to “go outside the district” because they were relying on their own staff; really!   This kind of unapologetic arrogance is the problem with the Silva administration. They will never admit what legislators and educators else where in Minnesota already know; Saint Paul, with some notable exceptions is operating as a failed system for many poor children and students of color. I refuse to accept that it has to be this way, there is nothing a new strategy a good game plan could not fix.

I for one pledge to work with the Minnesota Department of Education to get all the help our children need. I am not waiting for the election results to do so either, I was recently appointed to the MN Department of Education’s  Committee of Practioners, COP, that works on improving the Federal Title I Programs that sent $23 million to Saint Paul Schools this year to assist our poorest children. I hope we can obtain some additional resources to work  for Saint Paul Students

Saint Paul School Board Candidate

Copeland: Only Candidate who Supports Expulsion of Student Terrorizing Class with Loaded Gun

This was copied from the Pioneer Press Nov 1, 2015 Opinion Page.  It is odd that of all the candidates’ letters, only Greg’s is not listed as an actual candidate in the signature line.  You would think that because the Editorial Board endorsed the Teacher’s Union Slate, it’s okay to check the other candidates into the boards.  This isn’t hockey. ~~ Publius Jr.

School discipline

I want to let your readers know that this St. Paul School Board candidate stands with the letter writers who have expressed outrage over the failure of Superintendent Valeria Silva, as well as her central office administrators and school principals to discipline students in accord with existing zero-tolerance policies for a child bringing a loaded gun to Harding High School, as well as possession and use of a controlled substance.

The student, in my opinion, contrary to the principal’s conclusion, did have intent to use this weapon. The student, who has pleaded guilty, declared to the Ramsey County attorney he found the gun in the weeds on Payne Avenue and brought it to school to defend himself from a gangster group.

I support the penalty prescribed by Minnesota Statute 121A.44 that “a School Board must expel ‘for at least a one year’ a pupil who is determined to have brought a firearm to school.”

The meltdown in St. Paul school discipline did not start with the loaded pistol at Harding High, but it should end there. Superintendent Silva has failed to provide the safe school environment that is a minimum requirement for students to be academically successful, according to the district’s Rights and Responsibilities Handbook available at

Parents, students, teachers, staff and volunteers all need new School Board leadership to hold Superintendent Silva professionally accountable under her employment contract for the ongoing violence and disruption to the learning environment created by the mixed messages sent by Silva to principals not to discipline misbehaving students. The achievement gap will only be perpetuated in this increasingly uncontrolled disruption of student learning that is being tolerated under Silva’s politically correct no-suspensions policy.

On Tuesday, St. Paul voters can bring an end to this dysfunctional chapter in school mismanagement and return to our 37,000 children their right to an excellent education, without violence in our public schools. I promise I will take action, rather than entertaining, as other candidates have suggested, yet more of Silva’s “courageous conversations,” which I believe have enabled the present escalating cycle of violence to become worse.

Greg Copeland, St. Paul

[One of two East Side SPPS Candidates, Keith Hardy the other.  Students on the East Side can’t be best represented without one of their own]



Rock The Schools LIVE Candidate Forum Purposely Delayed into a Podcast

October 25th, a note was sent out by Monique Linder for Citizen Stewart (aka Chris Stewart) that the Rock The Schools Live Candidates Forum for October 29th was to be cancelled. The reason was that most of the candidates for St Paul Public Schools (SPPS) Board couldn’t make it.  A second chance for the forum was to be recorded as a podcast on November 2nd at the I Heart Radio Studios, thanks to Citizen Stewart and Monique Linder, who is the Founder of OMG Media Solutions.

The real reason was that the DFL Endorsed, Teachers Union Slate handlers told their Astroturf Caucus for Change Candidates that they needed to do Get Out The Vote phone calls and to attend a fundraiser for landscaping at Central High School.  What is the more important priority: landscaping, or telling voters what you will do once elected to the School Board to reverse the meltdown of our St Paul Public Schools.  It’s as if the Labor Bosses at the Teachers Union has already decided that you’ll vote for them so their slate doesn’t have to show up.  They have enough money to persuade you in all forms of media…$119,000 through the AFT and Education Minnesota.

Here is the podcast that was recorded this morning thanks to Monique Linder and Citizen Stewart.  It runs about 1 hr and 15 minutes.  All the Candidates were invited, but the Teachers Union slate didn’t bother to show up AGAIN.  They didn’t bother to show up at the African-American Forum held at Hallie Q Brown Center that all the other candidates went to on October 29th.

Rock The Schools meet St Paul School Candidates (Episode 32) Podcast

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