To the Editor,
Your article on expat returnees (March 10-23,1995) mentioned Mr Rudy Perpich,
a Croatian American, as being a Wisconsin politician. I am not sure the
residents of Wisconsin would welcome the association; nor am I sure that
Minnesota would easily disown Governor Rudy, one of its more colorful
Former Governor Perpich was loved or hated, seldom ignored
and not easily forgotten. Speaking his mind freely on almost any subject, his
frequent gaffs kept the local press busy and interesting. An ongoing verbal duel
with the then Governor of South Dakota, (a neighboring state) was good
entertainment for the residents of both states for several years. After one
particularly heated exchange, Governor Rudy said: "The only good thing coming
out of South Dakota is Interstate 90." (I-90 being the major road between South
Dakota and Minnesota).
One a more serious note, Governor Perpich will be
remembered for his role in pushing through freedom of choice in public education
against widespread opposition from teachers, administrators politicians alike.
Put simply, students in Minnesota are allowed to choose schools and programs
that meet their needs. State assistance follows the student's choice, rewarding
schools that provide good education opportunities and reducing funds to those
which don't. More recently the Minnesota model has been held up by politicians
of a variety of persuasions as the way forward for educational reform in the US.
This dynamic educational system continues to serve Minnesota and its students
well; educational indicators and employment statistics for Minnesota are envied
by many in the US.
- John D. Busman, Minnesotan, Takeo province