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Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher speaks to educators from around the region Wednesday evening in Bemidji about the importance of teachers, the need to keep high standards in schools and the need for unions to be vigilant at the bargaining table. Pioneer Photo/Anne Williams

Education Minnesota President Dooher visits Bemidji

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Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher wants local and regional educators to stay vigilant at the bargaining table.

"There are powerful people trying to dismantle education," Dooher said. "Everything that we've won at the bargaining table and everything that we've done to make our students' lives more successful could be stripped away if we don't stay vigilant."

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Dooher spoke at the Northland United 2010 Recognition Dinner Wednesday at the Bemidji Town and Country Club. The dinner recognizes educators who are retiring or have received significant recognition from schools around north-central Minnesota.

Education Minnesota is a 70,000-member union that advocates for public education in Minnesota. Northland United represents a group of school unions in the north-central Minnesota region, one of which is the Bemidji Education Association, the Bemidji School District's teachers' union.

In his talk, Dooher emphasized the need of raising high standards in classrooms and higher teacher pay.

"Where there are strong teacher unions, the student test scores are the highest," he said. "What's good for teachers is good for students. To try to strip our rights for collective bargaining or tenure or changing or lower standards doesn't make sense."

Dooher commented on the Minnesota Supreme Court's ruling Wednesday that Gov. Tim Pawlenty used the power of unallotment illegally to cut spending and balance the budget.

"It's obviously a concern," Dooher said. "Now they've got a much larger deficit. We're concerned, but optimistic that people will understand that investing in our schools is the best way to keep Minnesota going again."

Dooher said he hopes Minnesota's next governor will understand the importance of making education a top priority.

"They can keep asking, 'Can't you do more with less?' We've been doing that for years," Dooher said. "Over the past seven years we've spent 13 percent less per pupil than we did seven years ago."

From Bemidji, Beckie Campbell, Paul Goodwin and Tonia Henry were honored as local representatives to the Northland United Governing Board.

Bemidji School District retirees Dennis Bartz, Judy Comstock, Barb Ellingson, Paulette Grand, Sharon Hokuf, Kae Johnson, Jack Judkins, Sandy Krohn, Joan Pickenpack and Diane Sharpe were recognized. Trish Quistgaard was also honored as Bemidji Teacher of the Year. BEA president Paul Goodwin, along with Ami Aalgaard, Rick Kehoe, Tim Mayclin and Rob Strand, were honored for their service in the BEA.

Y awilliams@bemidjipioneer.com

Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher wants local and regional educators to stay vigilant at the bargaining table.

"There are powerful people trying to dismantle education," Dooher said. "Everything that we've won at the bargaining table and everything that we've done to make our students' lives more successful could be stripped away if we don't stay vigilant."

Dooher spoke at the Northland United 2010 Recognition Dinner Wednesday at the Bemidji Town and Country Club. The dinner recognizes educators who are retiring or have received significant recognition from schools around north-central Minnesota.

Education Minnesota is a 70,000-member union that advocates for public education in Minnesota. Northland United represents a group of school unions in the north-central Minnesota region, one of which is the Bemidji Education Association, the Bemidji School District's teachers' union.

In his talk, Dooher emphasized the need of raising high standards in classrooms and higher teacher pay.

"Where there are strong teacher unions, the student test scores are the highest," he said. "What's good for teachers is good for students. To try to strip our rights for collective bargaining or tenure or changing or lower standards doesn't make sense."

Dooher commented on the Minnesota Supreme Court's ruling Wednesday that Gov. Tim Pawlenty used the power of unallotment illegally to cut spending and balance the budget.

"It's obviously a concern," Dooher said. "Now they've got a much larger deficit. We're concerned, but optimistic that people will understand that investing in our schools is the best way to keep Minnesota going again."

Dooher said he hopes Minnesota's next governor will understand the importance of making education a top priority.

"They can keep asking, 'Can't you do more with less?' We've been doing that for years," Dooher said. "Over the past seven years we've spent 13 percent less per pupil than we did seven years ago."

From Bemidji, Beckie Campbell, Paul Goodwin and Tonia Henry were honored as local representatives to the Northland United Governing Board.

Bemidji School District retirees Dennis Bartz, Judy Comstock, Barb Ellingson, Paulette Grand, Sharon Hokuf, Kae Johnson, Jack Judkins, Sandy Krohn, Joan Pickenpack and Diane Sharpe were recognized. Trish Quistgaard was also honored as Bemidji Teacher of the Year. BEA president Paul Goodwin, along with Ami Aalgaard, Rick Kehoe, Tim Mayclin and Rob Strand, were honored for their service in the BEA.

awilliams@bemidjipioneer.com

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