Al Franken's Learning Story


Early on in my campaign, I received a note from my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Molin. She said she thought I might be the Alan Franken she’d taught way back when, and that I was always a smart kid. She wished me the best and sent me a check for $25. It was the sweetest note I’d received yet. So Mrs. Molin and I got together, and she was as wonderful as I’d remembered her, and wound up being a major hit on the campaign trail. So I asked her to be in my first tv commercial, and she agreed.She was terrific, and I couldn’t have had a better cheerleader. But the bestthing to come of it was completely unexpected. Mrs. Molin’s old students started using our campaign to contact her, and send her letters about what an amazing teacher she’d been and how she had touched their lives. I received one that was so touching, I read it several times, and havecommitted almost to memory. It said:”Dear Mrs. Molin,You were my favorite teacher. I wasn’t a very good student. I had a hard time with math, and your spelling tests were hard! But you saw that I liked art, and I remember you staying after school one day to paint a window with me. You made me feel special (loved). Now, I’m a teacher too. I teachspecial ed kids. And I try every day to make them feel the way you made me feel. And I just wanted to say thank you.”Teachers like Mrs. Molin are an inspiration. I know what she did for me whenI was a student, and it’s obvious I’m not the only one. We need to make sure today’s students are able to learn in that kind of creative, nurturingenvironment, so they can find their own passions, and become strong,well-rounded adults.In today’s crowded classrooms, with test-driven curricula, it’s hard forteachers to do what Mrs. Molin did – to be able to identify how to reach achild and then spend the time doing it. I want to make sure that studentstoday have the same opportunities that I did, and that teachers today have the same opportunities as Mrs. Molin.