Video: Superintendent Baesler Says Burgum Skipping His Own Education Summit Was “Less Than Ideal”

North Dakota Superintendent Kirsten Baesler speaks from an education summit in Bismarck on June 8, 2017. Via Facebook

Yesterday I wrote a post about some grumbling resulting from Governor Doug Burgum skipping a summit of education leaders he had convened in order to meet with the Trump administration in Washington D.C. on the topic of infrastructure.

Last night on his television show Chris Berg asked Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, who was appearing live from the event, about the absence.

“Is it less than ideal? Absolutely it is. Governor Burgum was sorely disappointed. We had been planning this event for months and months with my office and with his office,” Baesler said. “He really wanted to be here.”

“It is unfortunate,” she continued, “but when this opportunity for Governor Burgum to go meet with our President about another very important issue for North Dakota…we understand.”

Certainly it can be argued that an invitation from the President of the United States is a hard thing to turn down, but according to national reports it seems the summit Trump convened was something less than productive:

I’m not sure I entirely agree with those grumbling about Burgum skipping the summit. It’s worth acknowledging, though, that Burgum has been proposing some provocative things when it comes to education. Particularly in the area of higher education.

Education reform is hard under any circumstances. It’s harder when you’re proposing big changes. It’s even harder when you can’t get buy-in from education leaders because you don’t show up to the event you invited them all to.

The response to my post yesterday was surprising to me. More people were upset by Burgum’s absence than I would have thought. I think the Governor has some amends to make.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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