Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura?s bashing of organized religion to Playboy magazine has caused a firestorm of controversy. It led to his appearance on Meet the Press, where he gave pregnant pauses when asked about his own religious beliefs. Some have defended him by saying that, regardless of what he says, he?s doing a good job as governor. This sounds like the defense of President Clinton after he got caught in a sex scandal.
The problem is that Ventura?s record is not known nationally. Other than cutting taxes, his record is a big mystery. However, an education activist from Minnesota has provided some details about Ventura?s plan to make revolutionary changes in Minnesota?s education system. Renee Doyle, president of Minnesota?s Maple River Education Coalition, heads a coalition of more than 20,000 people in the state who have been trying to meet with the governor to discuss the matter. Her group has staged demonstrations of thousands of people in the state capitol. She insists that Ventura, far from being a man of the people and a real reformer, is a captive of the radical left.
And that includes Hillary Clinton. Doyle says that Ventura is actually tied into a plan that was devised by Hillary and her friend, Marc T ucker, for exercising federal control over the schools and the workforce. It is called “School-to-Work” and has been made part of the Goals 2000 federal plan to reform the educational system. Ventura didn?t start the plan in Minnesota, but he is continuing and expanding it under the name of the “Profile of Learning” system. Doyle says this restructuring undercuts parental and local control of education and guts real academic standards.
Doyle says, “Ventura has totally isolated himself on educational issues. He has totally surrounded himself with state bureaucrats who have put our new educational system in place. Moms and Dads can?t even get in to talk to Governor Ventura. Our governor has chosen not only to embrace it, but he is working on the federal level to become the premier governor of this system.” Although Doyle represents over 20,000 people, she can?t get in to see him for a meeting to discuss these issues. On one occasion, she says, she did succeed in shaking his hand and introducing herself, and she watched the color drain from his face. “But he absolutely will not meet with me,” she says.
It would seem to be a relatively easy matter for Ventura, a new governor, to change course and abandon this controversial educational plan. But Doyle says his failure to do so reflects his alliance with the radical left in the state. His aides include activists who have worked for leading Democrats, including Bill Clinton and Senator Paul Wellstone.
Ventura?s controversial comments, his book deal, and recent appearance at a wrestling event have made national news. But it looks like the real story is how many citizens of the state are in an uproar over the changes he?s making in the education system. Ventura has time to autograph books for strangers. But he can?t meet with citizens of his own state. This is a story that should be told.