Greta Callahan, president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, and Shaun Laden, president of the educational support professionals chapter of the Minneapolis union, held a press conference this week after an agreement was reached with the Minneapolis School Board ending their three-week strike.
There were some whopper statements made in this brief 11-minute event.
“We are more united than ever, we are more powerful than ever. And that’s something that is priceless, that’s something our students will feel the moment they come back on Tuesday.”
Students will “feel” how powerful the teacher’s union is when they return to class? How?
“We have decided collectively to leave an abusive relationship with the district. We have shifted the power dynamic.”
Wow. An abusive relationship? Strong words.
“We need control of the shop floor.”
This brings up the eternal question with teachers. Are they professionals that deserve to be treated with respect, the most important people in the world, with the most important job? Or are they working on a shop floor for an hourly wage?
“All of our eyes are open to the real fight ahead of us. This is one battle, in a larger war that we are fighting. And it is for strong public schools. We’re calling on everybody to go occupy the Capitol.”
“We’ve gotta take this fight to the Capitol. We know we have a $9 billion surplus. Our legislators can still do more for our students and our schools this year before they adjourn, and we need them to do so.”
We called this a week ago. Minneapolis was just a battle in the larger war to “fully fund education” at the state Capitol. The word occupy has such a loaded meaning here. Chosen on purpose.
“It is time to put pressure on those who are choosing to defund our schools.”
Wait, defund our schools? K-12 Education is one of the largest expenditures in the state budget and receives new money every budget cycle. In the last budget, the legislature and Gov. Walz added 2.45% to the funding formula in 2021 and 2% in 2022, totaling $500 million in new spending. Walz is even bragging about it on his website, calling it “the largest increase in per-pupil funding in 15 years.”
“We encourage anyone who is saying: How do we keep going with this movement? What can I do? Run for school board. We have five open seats this year. It is time for a shift in the Minneapolis Public Schools.”
Wait a minute. Didn’t the teacher’s union hand-pick, endorse and support every one of the current board members? You can’t win an election to the Minneapolis School Board without the DFL Party endorsement, and you can’t get the DFL endorsement without kissing the union ring. But now they want a new board?
“When we talk about a power dynamic shift and things needing to change at the top of Minneapolis Public Schools, we mean it.”
It’s clear they mean it by the leaked text messages between Callahan and Eric Moore, a top official in MPS who asked for her support to be the next superintendent. It’s very telling that Moore would need the union’s support to get a job conferred by the school board. Unless the school board is controlled by the union.
“If they can do it in St. Paul, why can’t we do it in Minneapolis?
Be careful! Don’t start comparing Minneapolis to other districts. The main reason you are in this position is because your product stinks. Parents are choosing with their feet. You’ve lost over 5,000 students in the last five years because of the quality of your teaching, the lack of discipline, and the woke policies that are crowding out what parents want: math and reading instruction.
“We’ve allowed the wealthiest corporations; the wealthiest individuals see their taxes go down while our schools are balancing their budgets on the backs of low paid hourly workers.”
Stop the tape! The wealthy in Minnesota had their taxes go down? When did that happen? In 2013, Gov. Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature created a new top tier for the wealthy to tax them even more. This is an absurd statement that should have been called out immediately by the media in the room.
“Most of our folks are in 41 week contracts.”
Wait, what? The Education Support Professionals were fighting for $35,000 a year contracts and they only work 41 weeks a year? Why wasn’t this fact mentioned earlier by someone in the media covering the strike?
Since being given a choice by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Janus decision, over 7,200 teachers, aspiring educators, and other public education workers across Minnesota have exercised their right not to join or pay a union. Click here for more information.