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Educate. Advocate. Show up. Vote

Getting contracts that put kids first won't be easy. But joining forces with good people for a good cause can also lead to good times. We have four tasks:

Educate

The contract has long been the district’s Elephant in the Living Room, the Thing that Must Not Be Named that people whisper about in the parking lot, after the meeting.

Any time we bring the real conversations in the parking lot back into the real meetings, we’re making progress. There are a number of ways to join this conversation:

Sign up for our e-mail list. You're busy. We're busy. So we promise not to clog your inbox. We'll send just send you occasional updates and or let you know when we need you to take action. Or check out our blog.

Most people don’t understand how much our schools are handcuffed by the rigid rules in our current contract. Talk to your friends, fellow parents and neighbors. Send them a link to our site or share this page on your favorite social media sites using any of the share icons at the bottom of the page.

Host a house party—we’ll be glad to show up and make a presentation. E-mail us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Invite Put Kids First Minneapolis to talk to your neighborhood, church or community organization. E-mail us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Got a question, comment, idea or thought: e-mail us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Advocate

Negotiations for the 2013-2015 will begin in the late spring and go through the summer. This contract is worth over $250 million a year and directly controls who is teaching our kids in the classroom, the length of the school day and year and many other things that have a direct effect on student achievement.

Once again, we plan to have citizens observe these negotiations and will be making recommendations to the superintendent and school board. Please urge contact the Superintendent and nine members of the School Board and urge them to truly put the needs of kids first in negotiations.

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

612.668-0640

Alberto Monserrate

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612.382.4045


Jenny Arneson
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612.382.0734

Richard Mammen
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612.382.1597

Rebecca Gagnon
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612.382.1386

Tracine Asberry
T This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
612.558.7137

Carla Bates
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612.964.0310

Kim Ellison
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612.418.3657

Josh Reimnitz
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612.715.3261

Hussein Samatar
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612.483.7541

Their group address is here: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Show up

Democracy belongs to those who show up.

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Vote

Elections matter. In November, 2013, we'll be electing a new mayor. While Minneapolis mayors have no direct control over the schools or school policy, they can use their bully pulpit to push for change---or they can block change.

So ask candidates where they stand on teacher contract changes, particularly when it comes to giving the school leaders in every building the freedom to:

1) choose (and retain) the best possible teachers for their students from the widest possible applicant pool (as opposed to being forced to pick mostly from the limited pool of tenured/excessed MPS teachers who need jobs.)

2) refuse to hire tenured teachers they don't think will be effective in their buildings (i.e. end the current practice of forced placement of ineffective teachers over the objections of principals.)

3) extend the school day and year in buildings where students are far behind so they have a chance to catch up to their grade levels. Public charter schools that are successful at closing the achievement gap give their students at least 35 more instruction days than our traditional district schools. MPS's own research also recommends adding this time. But  so far the teachers' union refuses to allow its teachers to work an extended year---even if teachers are fully paid for the extra days.

4) pay our most effective teachers an extra stipend to teach at schools where students need to make the most gains. Currently, teachers at these schools tend to make significantly less than teachers at high-achieving schools. This is crazy.

A prediction: Most candidates will proclaim their commitment to closing the achievement gap. Most will say they want to collaborate and cooperate with the teachers' union and bring everyone along together, yada, yada, yada, etc.

We love cooperation! We're Minnesotans! Being conflict-averse is in our DNA! But the MFT leadership has refused all these changes and will continue to do so as long our elected representatives choose to avoid conflict rather than do the right thing for the 33,000 MPS students and their families. Almost 70 percent of our students are kids of color living in poverty. They desperately need and deserve the best education possible with our public dollars. They can't afford to wait until some mythical time when change will be easy and unopposed. The pipeline to prison is currently wide open and flowing. We need action.

"Let me give you a word on the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions have been born of earnest struggle.….If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters….Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

-----Frederick Douglas, August 3, 1857

Minneapolis is a DFL town. Most of us at Put Kids First are also DFLers. It will take a tremendous amount of courage for a DFL candidate to challenge the parts of the teachers' contract that don't serve kids. Ask mayoral candidates show courage and support those who do.

One final heads up, in November 2014,  we will be electing five new school board candidates from the southeast area, downtown and northeast side of the city plus two city-wide candidates. We will be looking for strong candidates willing to put kids first.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  Margaret Mead.

 

 

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