Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Our friends in Minneapolis, Local 59

The editorial in Sunday's StarTribune regarding one, specific issue being bargained was completely inappropriate. To have a local newspaper come out on one side of contract language that could still be live at the bargaining table sets up bargaining in good faith to fail. The specific issue addressed was the role teacher seniority plays in transferring from school to school. To take a shot at seniority as if it would be some magic bullet for the complexities of Minneapolis Public Schools is to have watched one too many Lone Ranger episodes. To assume that 'if we have what St. Paul has we'll be perfect" (while understandably a fabulous standard in which to aspire in so many other capacities) is to have listened to far too little Prairie Home Companion.

MFT, Local 59 and the Minneapolis School District were already in mediation when Sunday's editorial ran. The best use of soy ink spent on their negotiation process would have been wishing both sides well in their work on behalf of Minneapolis and the Metro area. To have suggested that the community should cheer for a successful, healing, and forward-thinking settlement would have acknowledged what many of us who actually care for the students, staff, and community of Minneapolis' public schools already know: the success of Minneapolis students is our collective success and the failure of Minneapolis students is our collective failure. Therefore, we all have a stake in the successful completion of these contract negotiations as well as the deliberation of a thoughtful strategic plan.

The teachers serving on MFT's bargaining team spend every day teaching the students of Minneapolis Public Schools. The teachers serving on MFT's bargaining team have their own children in Minneapolis Public Schools. I trust the teachers serving on MFT's bargaining team. Despite mediation, despite the StarTribune editorial, I wish the teachers serving on MFT's bargaining team well and I wish the staff and students of Minneapolis Public Schools much success.

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