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What Education Minnesota’s resolutions reveal about its 2020 priorities

Minnesota’s teachers’ union Education Minnesota recently posted its 2020 resolutions, laying out its three priorities for the new year:

1. Get out 100% of the educator vote
2. Take back the state Senate
3. Win full funding for Minnesota students

Source: Education Minnesota, Twitter

I find it odd that these are the union’s priorities, but I probably shouldn’t be so surprised.

I guess I hoped Education Minnesota would set aside its one-sided political agenda and focus on, oh I don’t know, a handful of other areas that teachers have asked for support in such as student discipline and paperwork.

The union’s priorities also don’t seem to respect the voice and choice of all the educators it represents. By wanting to “take back the Senate,” which means the DFL party would have control, Education Minnesota is dismissing teachers who vote Republican or Independent. And even among the teachers whose political views are closely associated with the left, there are multiple candidates who run against each other within each party. Whoever the union favors, union members are forced to support, undermining their own political preferences. What about teachers who don’t support any candidate?

Finally, the union has been vocal that more funding will “fix” all the education problems our state faces. According to Education Minnesota President Denise Specht, around $4 billion more needs to be spent every two years to “fully fund” public schools. The state already sends public schools around $18 billion every two years. Adding $4 billion would be a 22 percent increase in education funding and would require a significant increase in taxes to pay for it. As my upcoming education paper will discuss, spending more money is not directly tied to academic improvements. And for a state with still one of the worst achievement gaps in the country, despite the large dollar amounts sent to public schools, it’s time to ask ourselves, “Where are the results?”

I want to end by saying that pushing back against the union’s agenda when it doesn’t promote educational excellence is not an attack on teachers or the teaching profession. Rather, it’s an attempt to start a conversation about the union flexing its political muscle and missing the mark on what teachers want the union to prioritize. Teachers, make the union work for you by joining our community of educators at EducatedTeachersMN.com.

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