One has to hand it to Tom Emmer for deep thinking about reinventing government.It's not so much that his musings have merit, as their ability to serve as pure catnip for the fanboys at the Star Tribune's Hot Dish Politics blog.Or, on Planet Emmer, is consolidation only for the traditional districts, and the higher and more flamboyant figure of "nearly 500" districts thrown out only for shock value, a rhetorical slight of hand?Indeed, the charter school movement in Minnesota has been responsible for expanding the number of school districts in the state--but I'm betting that those parents who ban together to establish charter school don't see themselves as participating in the growth of government.A legislative research report was ordered and published in 1942 which included statistics on school district closings, reasons for closings, the development of "school centers," changes in the school district taxing system, transportation costs in larger rural districts and state aid to education in Kansas. Kansas Legislative Council Research Department), included a large map of the state indicating types of schools, school boundaries, schools closed or consolidated, and districts where students from closed schools were sent.This map is an amazing look at loss of population in rural areas by looking at the closure of rural school districts.
Roper actually appears to tease out a specific, the sort of thing that the DFL and other journalists have be crying for Emmer to release: Emmer’s proposed overhaul of Minnesota’s government has had many members of the media looking for specifics in recent weeks. Emmer said the state might consider consolidating some of its nearly 500 school districts.
He said they too are missing the big picture.“For some reason when I talk to certain people in the media, they come back and they want to focus the public on – and I’m going to exaggerate, but this is exactly what it feels like – how many paper clips is this agency going to be allowed to buy in the next [year]? This is a fascinating suggestion, and perhaps it's indicative of the crush Strib reporters develop once they step on Emmer's campaign bus that the number is dropped in the article as if the Delano Republican has finally delivered some substance.
On the other hand, perhaps Emmer's self-described exaggeration about counting paperclips has served a purpose and intimidated the Strib staff writer from taking a closer look at the makeup of Minnesota's school districts.
This pride of service can be found in "Kansas Rural-School Bulletin, 1922." Issued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Lorraine Elizabeth Wooster, this publication touted not only the accomplishments of the Kansas Department of Education, but included stories, photographs, architectural plans, poetry, statistics, quotations and stirring statements on professional conduct.
The photographs in the book display school buildings, students, educators and general day-to-day activities across the state.
We have this publication online at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library, along with the large statewide map.