Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Conversation about the Future of St. Paul Schools

Recently I sent out an invitation for members of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers to attend a meeting tomorrow (4 p.m. at the SPFT office) to begin discussing the 100+ page document that Superintendent Meria Carstarphen sent out on September 4th.

The Superintendent's email compiled a lot of statistics relevant to the health of our district: busing costs, student populations, building capacity, etc. What the email didn't do was outline our issues definitively or suggest solutions. Reading between the lines the document certainly seems to suggest that we have busing cost issues, space issues, recruitment issues and more.

What the document didn't suggest was what opportunities may reside in those numbers or what solutions may exist and while there has been a repeated commitment to engage the public around these numbers, I didn't want to wait for someone to ask us.

I am holding the meeting tomorrow because I think our membership could have the keys to some of these solutions. At the very least we should not wait for someone to engage us in any fears, questions or uncertainty this data about our district may raise. At the most someone should ask us what we think and ask if we can make this district better with our ideas and based on our experience in and commitment to St. Paul Public Schools.

I am excited to begin this conversation with members of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers. I just hope our union isn't the only one asking our members for this conversation. That would be a waste of the talent and energy of over 3,600 people and a huge loss to St. Paul Public Schools and our community.

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