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Sen. Al Franken Talks Education With Shakopee Ninth-Graders

World domination became a humorous note to a discussion on the importance of science, technology, engineering and math.

Sen. Al Franken jokes with Shakopee teacher Sue Marsh. (Photos by Lisa Baumann).
Sen. Al Franken jokes with Shakopee teacher Sue Marsh. (Photos by Lisa Baumann).

World domination wasn’t the intended theme of United States Sen. Al Franken’s visit Wednesday to Shakopee Middle School, but it became a somewhat humorous touchstone for almost every speaker at an assembly of ninth-graders.

The actual focus and reason for the Minnesota Democrat's visit was to talk about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math in education—and in future jobs. Shakopee Schools Superintendent Rod Thompson kicked off the visit by telling students he’d like them to go out and dominate the world when it comes to occupations related to those fields.

Michael Yeager, owner of Yeager Machine, in Norwood Young America, MN, also told students the United States needs to “dominate the world.” He now needs to hire 10 people for high-paying high-tech jobs, Yeager added, but said recruiting firms can’t find people with the right skills.

Franken was quick to comment with a smile that “because press is in the room I’d like to clarify that Yeager meant dominate—in the manufacturing way.”

Franken also told students he believes in and studied those four fields in college, before becoming a comedian.

“You don’t know exactly where this stuff is going to lead,” he said. “But you’re learning a way of thinking that can take you down many roads.”

Franken concluded his visit by meeting with students and teacher T.J. Hendrickson, who was recently named “Technology Educator of the Year.”

“You should bow down to this teacher every day,” Franken told students.

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