MFT Teacher Chapter Supports District Reorganization informed by students, parents, and educators. Not the five models offered in the CDD.
Greta Callahan, Recording Secretary
Minneapolis Federation of Teachers
Minneapolis Federation of Teachers supports district reorganization informed by educators and parents, not the CDD
MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 26, 2020 – The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers said Wednesday that any major overhaul of the district must include co-creation from students, parents and classroom educators, unlike the Comprehensive District Design, or CDD, plans currently under consideration.
“Although the teachers union agrees that the status quo is not acceptable, it also recognizes that any plan that was created without community, student and educator collaboration and buy-in is destined to have negative impacts on the trust in Minneapolis Public Schools,” said Michelle Wiese, president of the teachers chapter of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. “It is our hope that Minneapolis Public Schools meets its responsibility to the citizens of Minneapolis, its employees and most importantly its students, and engage in a collaborative planning process to address the challenges facing the district.”
At a meeting last week, MFT members said the teachers union could support a major overhaul of the district to raise the academic achievement of students of color, increase access to full-service community schools and address the district’s financial challenges - but the CDD was not that plan.
“We see a hasty decision being made,” said Ron Simmons, an MFT member who teaches at Andersen United Community School. “To make Minneapolis Public Schools attractive we need to focus on better learning conditions for all students, including reintroducing magnet programs into each school.”
MFT Recording Secretary Greta Callahan said the unintended consequences of the CDD were harmful for students and educators. For example, caps on class sizes in the schools with the highest needs would disappear under the proposal.
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we know what works to raise academic achievement. Give every student access to smaller class sizes, nurses and librarians, classes in the arts and all the mental health supports our students need,” Callahan said. “Our students deserve stability, and that means consistency in educators, administrators, other faces they see in the building, and feeling safe knowing those people will be there each day. Creating mass instability is not good for kids and not good for our district.”
The state has failed the Minneapolis Public Schools with a severe decline in funding. Since 2003, MPS has lost more funding per pupil than any other district in the state, twice as much as St. Paul, the second biggest loser. The districts affected the most also happen to serve the largest number of students of color. This is a major factor in the current state of the district, Callahan said.
Callahan said the teachers union was eager to work with district administrators to lobby the state for full and equitable funding of Minneapolis Public Schools. “We have the smartest kids, the best educators and the most caring families in the world,” Callahan said. “We want to create the schools our students deserve with those voices at the table.”