consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Since 2002, Minnesota's state and local government revenues and expenditures have declined significantly in comparison to other states. The corresponding decline in public investment has coincided with a decline in Minnesota's economic performance and quality of life. Once a national leader in areas such as education and employment, Minnesota is now lagging. [...] No state has cut government revenue and spending more than Minnesota since 2002."

The post headline is a quote from within the executive summary of a Minnesota 2020 ( report.

Minnesota 2020 has ceased its activities in Sept. 2014, per this current homepage item, stating in part:

Beginning with Minnesota 2020’s first report, “Chasing Smokestacks, Stranding Small Business: Rural Minnesota’s Crisis,” Minnesota 2020 carefully examined the controversial conservative “JOB-Z” business subsidy policy. Following publication, which included recommended retasking JOB-Z funding into more cost-effective, stronger regional business development initiatives, Executive and Legislative support for JOB-Z quietly disappeared.

That first report established an analytical template. Minnesota 2020 researchers examined Minnesota’s property tax system; surveyed Minnesota’s county engineers, finding widespread concern with road quality; and made the financial and economic development policy case for increasing Minnesota’s minimum wage.

Seven and a half years later, the public policy landscape looks better. Minnesotans have a substantially more fair state income tax structure. Minnesota’s minimum wage is climbing. Minnesota’s school funding decline has been reversed with more state resources flowing to public K-12 and higher education schools. Minnesota is back to work; unemployment levels are back to pre-recession numbers.

Many people made these changes happen but Minnesota 2020 gathered economic data, crunched the numbers and made the public policy case for policy change. We traveled Minnesota, sharing our findings and explaining state policy’s impact at the local level. We published over 30 reports and thousands of articles, digging into the who, what, where, how and why of public policy consequences.

That closing was between the 2014 primary election and the 2014 general election. The concluding paragraph notes the website will remain with its report archives intact, online:

While Minnesota 2020 closed on September 30, 2014, Minnesota 2020’s body of research remains as a beacon of hope and achievement, of insight and conviction facilitated by hard work. Every published word is available here. Use it to learn about Minnesota’s policy past. Use it to guide future research. Building a stronger, better Minnesota never stops.


Minnesota 2020 did a propaganda piece in 2014 to debunk the testing hucksters' assault on how things should be done and where education dollars should be flowed besides being directed toward boosting some vendor groups' cash flows from public money.

So nobody misses it, the operative word is debunk.

Each side uses pictures of happy looking, healthy looking urchins, each to suggest "our answer" will yield the better prepared and psychologically and physically above average urchins - a more bang for your buck sort of thing - with each side not heavily throwing stones at the other.

Feel good our way propaganda, that's what it is with each side of the cash-for-testing vs cash-for-tangibles debate using similar tactics - for more teachers to lower student to teacher ratios to better individualize instruction, for higher pay to attract and retain higher skilled sets, etc. from the Minn 2020 perspective - the carrot - vs - the standardized testing robo-learning approach of putting iPads in hands, upping student to teacher ratios because the iPads take over some of the teaching function, and shaving salaries by retaining "the better" teachers - those with the least experience but also with the lower paychecks; that being advanced as "dead wood" elimination, etc.; with that argument for testing, testing and see who the test "discredits" [using tests of questionable merit, prepared by somebody wanting to make money by having failures to redress] - that faction's answer can be termed, the stick.

It is propaganda from both sides, but what really is the more believable side?

Should surgeons be culled to the lower-paid least experienced ones, making their ranks fewer and less secure in their fortune, for better medical outcomes?


At any rate, here is the operative page of the Minnesota 2020 item where the low-key debunking of the testing vendors is made most clear (and that's not very clear - there but very, very low-key).

Also, check the link. The opening pages. Happy urchins - varying races, they abound.

See how the happy urchin thing is used as much by one side as the other.

BOTH SIDES --- Give me a break from happy urchin image based propagandizing, please. It sucks. (As well as grossly and shamelessly insulting my and other people's intelligence.)

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