Wednesday, September 17, 2008

BIG news, Our Future, and the AFL-CIO

It seems that the St. Paul Federation of Teachers is surrounded by big news and we are in the thick of just about all of it.

First, the Superintendent has sent out a very comprehensive power point presentation that invites us to have a conversation about out future. Because so many members have been talking and/or asking about this we have scheduled a conversation to begin at the St. Paul Federation of Teachers on September 22nd at 4:15 p.m. because I think we are uniquely suited to begin this conversation about what will make our good school district great.

I have also been completely unapologetic in my blatant co-opting of Ed Harris' best line of Apollo 13 in insisting that, with all due respect, "this could be our finest hour" rather than a meek opportunity for hand-wringing and shoulder shrugging: two of my LEAST favorite pastimes.

I also just returned from the Minnesota AFL-CIO convention where one of the resolutions we passed concerned improved state funding for public education. While I absolutely agree that we need funding that is equitable, sustainable, predictable, and sufficient; I want to make sure that we define those things in a way that allows the St. Paul Public School District to meet the needs of the gorgeous cross-section of students we teach. It is up to us to make sure we are at the table to help define those characteristics.

Finally, the highlight of the AFL-CIO convention, indeed the highlight of St. Paul for the last 3 years, was Mayor Chris Coleman. Not only did the Mayor address the need for development and healthy labor relations both as economic development tools and city vitality, he spent considerable time outlining how he sees his job as a complement to our school work, not as usurping it. The Mayor stressed again and again how he looks to learn how to do things for teachers and for our school district rather than doing things to us without our input.

All of these current events point to opportunities for members of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers to lead in our community.

I'm looking forward to it. I look forward to us.

No comments: