minneapolis schools

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TruthToTell Monday, Feb 10- 9AM: MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOLS: Plenty of Planning. Results? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7; Streaming @ KFAI.org

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, February 10, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Courtesy of Twin Cities Daily Planet

Remember: The KFAI Community Radio App is up and running!!
That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for AndroidiPhone , and iPad devices.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What sort of civilized democratic society formed along a set of basic rights and principles maintains such wide disparities between its treatment of one demographic set of citizens (Whites/Caucasians) versus all the others (People of Color and those in poverty and homelessness) whose contributions should be as important as anyone’s.

Urban America has so long been plagued with glaring disparities in education, nutrition, healthcare, and employment opportunities, not to mention prison pipelines and treatment by members of law enforcement and corrections, that one would think some measure of shame would fall on the consciences of those who claim to be living and behaving faithfully under this nation’s Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Simply not so.  Nearly 250 years after our original founding premise that “all ‘men’ are created equal” in the eyes of the state and their maker, the enduring disparities have not only not been washed away by law or conscience, they have recently intensified, as persistently chronicled in studies from a variety of sources – including the University Law School’s Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity(Oct, 2013) – originally The Institute on Law and Poverty – directed by Prof. Myron Orfield; the Minnesota Department of Health’s recent report on structural racism and health disparities and Prof. Michelle Alexander’s indictment of the law enforcement and correction system’s treatment of men of color – The New Jim Crow.

Still, the institutions serving our diverse urban cores keep setting goals and objectives designed to rid us of the chronic gaps in providing safe and encouraging spaces and participatory opportunities in the mainstream of this otherwise most affluent culture. The questions must be asked – when are words and plans simply not enough to close the widening achievement gaps in our P-12 education settings?

The words sound as committed as ever, but repeated five-year strategic plans and similar documents have thus far been toothless in actually closing those gaps. Not that the schools themselves are completely responsible for either the gaps or closing them. This is a community-wide, Metro-wide and citywide problem of the first water. Lying underneath all of these issues is the aforementioned structural racism that drives, often too subtly to be identified and addressed in truly effective and accountable ways. In fact nearly 70% of all enrolled students are of color in Minneapolis (as they are in so many cities). And, still, segregation by geography, class and income persist.

Now, the Minneapolis Schools have concluded one 2007 Strategic Plan, issued a 5-year Enrollment Plan (in the face of declining enrollment, despite population growth) and a preparing for the construct of a new, 5-year Strategic Plan. These are all probably necessary, but does the public really get it? Can the District possibly meet its ambitious goals and implement its objectives – as they adjust themselves each year – to successfully create an educational climate full of achievement and opportunity for all students, let alone the larger goals of college attainment in communities of color?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query senior Minneapolis Schools officials as to the successful and not-so-successful outcomes at the end of one strategic plan and moving into another while giving action to its enrollment plan approved in December.

GUESTS:

BERNADEIA JOHNSON – Superintendent, Minneapolis Schools (Independent District #1)

 

 

 

KIM ELLISON – Member, Minneapolis Board of Education – At-large; Clerk of School Board

REBECCA GAGNON -  Member, Minneapolis Board of Education – At-large; Board Treasurer

 


 

AND YOU!! Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

No comments yet - be the first!

 

MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, February 3, 2014

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

"Americans overwhelmingly agree, nobody who's working full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty…and that is why I firmly believe it is time to give America a raise,” This was the proclamation of President Obama in his recent 2014 State of the Union address. The President even gave some credit to higher wage renegades at the St. Paul-based chain Punch Pizza (though he caught some flack for saying they were based out of Minneapolis) for voluntarily raising their starting wage to $10 an hour because it was the right thing to do for employee morale. But the president’s comments on Tuesday night weren’t the first we’ve heard about raising the minimum wage in America.

The debate over whether or not raising the minimum wage will help or hurt already struggling low-wage Americans has been raging on for decades, particularly in the wake of the great recession.

Supporters of a raise tout that raising the minimum wage to a living wage will give people more money to spend, which in turn would boost spending and jumpstart the economy. Several conservative business people are coming round to this fact.

Dissenters, however, worry that a forced wage increase will present too much of a burden on small businesses, thus forcing them to cut jobs or go out of business all together. Worse still, is the concern that increased wages will lead to consumer price inflation that will nullify any progress supporters of a wage increase hope to gain.

The current state minimum wage in Minnesota is $6.15 an hour, which seemed generous when the adjustment was made in 2006, but now all of Minnesota’s neighboring states have raised their minimum to match the new federal minimum of $7.25 and Minnesota has yet to join the club. Many argue that there is little need to do so because most businesses are beholden to the federal minimum anyway, but new pending legislation in the state House and Senate, are proposing wage increases somewhere between $7.75 and $9.50 per hour. Some, including Governor Dayton, would say that this still isn’t high enough, considering that the Living Wage Calculator (by Poverty in America), calculates the living wage for a single person with no children in Hennepin County at $9.69 per hour.

Who has it right? Can anyone really know for sure until these changes go into effect? Can a wage increase in absence of any other corporate regulation at the federal level to reign in greedy profit margins really do more good than harm? TruthToTell’s Andy Driscoll and Michelle Alimoradi ask these questions and more of our guests this Monday.

Guests:

SEN. JOHN MARTY - (DFL- 66), Chair, MN Senate Environment and Energy Committee


REP. JIM ABELER -  (R-35A), Candidate for US Senate in 2014


 

 

 

REP. RYAN WINKLER - (DFL-46A); Co-Author, HF 1980 calling for a Constitutional amendment requiring inflation-adjusted minimum wages starting Jan. 1, 2015



 

REP. JOHN LESCH - (DFL-66B-St. Paul)



 

 

JESSICA ENGLISH -  Organizer, Take Action Minnesota;  Single mom and former retail worker

 


SCOTT COY KENDALL, Now a Robbinsdale Dominos Pizza employee, after being laid off in the recession.

 

TruthToTell Monday, Feb 10: MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOLS: Plenty of Planning. Results? - AUDIO PODCAST HERE

On-air date: 
Mon, 02/10/2014
Listen to or download this episode here: 

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Graphic Courtesy of Twin Cities Daily Planet

Remember: The KFAI Community Radio App is up and running!!
That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for AndroidiPhone , and iPad devices.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What sort of civilized democratic society formed along a set of basic rights and principles maintains such wide disparities between its treatment of one demographic set of citizens (Whites/Caucasians) versus all the others (People of Color and those in poverty and homelessness) whose contributions should be as important as anyone’s.

Urban America has so long been plagued with glaring disparities in education, nutrition, healthcare, and employment opportunities, not to mention prison pipelines and treatment by members of law enforcement and corrections, that one would think some measure of shame would fall on the consciences of those who claim to be living and behaving faithfully under this nation’s Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Simply not so.  Nearly 250 years after our original founding premise that “all ‘men’ are created equal” in the eyes of the state and their maker, the enduring disparities have not only not been washed away by law or conscience, they have recently intensified, as persistently chronicled in studies from a variety of sources – including the University Law School’s Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (Oct, 2013) – originally The Institute on Law and Poverty – directed by Prof. Myron Orfield; the Minnesota Department of Health’s recent report on structural racism and health disparities and Prof. Michelle Alexander’s indictment of the law enforcement and correction system’s treatment of men of color – The New Jim Crow.

Still, the institutions serving our diverse urban cores keep setting goals and objectives designed to rid us of the chronic gaps in providing safe and encouraging spaces and participatory opportunities in the mainstream of this otherwise most affluent culture. The questions must be asked – when are words and plans simply not enough to close the widening achievement gaps in our P-12 education settings?

The words sound as committed as ever, but repeated five-year strategic plans and similar documents have thus far been toothless in actually closing those gaps. Not that the schools themselves are completely responsible for either the gaps or closing them. This is a community-wide, Metro-wide and citywide problem of the first water. Lying underneath all of these issues is the aforementioned structural racism that drives, often too subtly to be identified and addressed in truly effective and accountable ways. In fact nearly 70% of all enrolled students are of color in Minneapolis (as they are in so many cities). And, still, segregation by geography, class and income persist.

Now, the Minneapolis Schools have concluded one 2007 Strategic Plan, issued a 5-year Enrollment Plan (in the face of declining enrollment, despite population growth) and a preparing for the construct of a new, 5-year Strategic Plan. These are all probably necessary, but does the public really get it? Can the District possibly meet its ambitious goals and implement its objectives – as they adjust themselves each year – to successfully create an educational climate full of achievement and opportunity for all students, let alone the larger goals of college attainment in communities of color?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query senior Minneapolis Schools officials as to the successful and not-so-successful outcomes at the end of one strategic plan and moving into another while giving action to its enrollment plan approved in December.

GUESTS:

BERNADEIA JOHNSON – Superintendent, Minneapolis Schools (Independent District #1)

 

 

 

KIM ELLISON – Member, Minneapolis Board of Education – At-large; Clerk of School Board

REBECCA GAGNON -  Member, Minneapolis Board of Education – At-large; Board Treasurer

 


 

AND YOU!! Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

TruthToTell, Mon. Jan 30@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS (cont’d) & GRAD ASSISTANT UNIONIZING–KFAI 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

 

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TruthToTell, Mon. Jan 30@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS (cont’d) & GRAD ASSISTANT UNIONIZING–KFAI 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org


We return to the subject of teacher contract issues in Minneapolis after running out of time last week…if ever sufficient time is possible. And we talk with Grad Assistant organizers at the UofM trying to unionize their colleagues.

As we said last time, all school districts in the state of Minnesota – have been negotiating their teachers’ contracts over the last many months, some arriving at agreement well before some others. St. Paul in the throes of its negotiations. Minneapolis Schoolsconcluded theirs last Fall.

Core Minnesota city schools, especially Minneapolis and St. Paul – contain more kids of color than white students in their classrooms – and have been shown among the worst in the nation for their achievement gaps – that scholastic chasm separating white children from kids of color, especially Black, Latino and Native children.

Teacher-bashing seems to come easy for some who see their organizing efforts as a threat to the notion that teachers should do only what they’re told to do and should be subject to parental and administrative overlords. But, what role can and do teachers also play in keep the gap alive? As we said last week, many parents, advocates and educators cite the clear disparity in the color of students and the person teaching them.

Change ain’t easy – for people or groups of them. Organizations who have maintained insider relationships long enough usually want no other stakeholders involved in their “business,” and suggest such public decision should remain private.

Last time, we included representatives from the Minneapolis teachers union – the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers – the long-standing bargaining unit for those standing in front of our kids. This week, those reps found themselves forced to withdraw by personal circumstances, so we’re bringing back the critics and hope to clarify their positions. Those stakeholder groups - like Action for Equity and Put Kids First Minneapolis started attending the meetings and, in no uncertain terms insisted that, as progressives who support collective bargaining and closing the gaps. In coalition with others, and calling it "Contract for Student Achievement," they advanced five key ideas for last Fall’s bargaining. They, and their ideas for reforms, ran into a brick wall, essentially dismissed as interlopers with no business being part of the process. We talk with our returning advocates.

In Segment Two, we learn about the effort to organize University of Minnesota Graduate Assistants into a UAW local (GSWU/UAW). Grad Assistants are those research and teaching aides who do much of the work collecting and imparting knowledge to undergraduates and other graduate students while administrating classes and compiling data for professors and instructors as they work their own way toward masters degrees and PhD.

Why organizing efforts in general always seem to bang heads with highly resistant administrations seems so strange. Here’s a thought: ask General Motors or Ford and other large corporations if they would really want their unions to go away – and you will hear a whispered, “Hell, no”. Such bargaining units are critical to the bottom line because they keep workers in line. And yet – almost no cooperation melts away in the initial stage establishing a local.

Join TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI as we give some vent to and ask some key questions of critics of the Minneapolis teacher negotiations and hear from grad students about their work to essentially herd the cats of academia – the often ego-driven ranks of deans and professors and administrators and their graduate assistants.

GUESTS:

LYNNELL MICKELSEN – Co-Founder of Put Kids First Minneapolis and one of the authors of the Contract for Student Achievement

CHRIS STEWART – former Minneapolis School Board Member; CEO, Action for Equity; and Co-Chair, Education Work Group of the African-American Leadership Forum

SARA NELSON – Teaching Assistant, Geography, UofM – Spokesperson, UAW Grad Student local

SCOTT THALLER – Research Assistant, Physics, UofM – Spokesperson, UAW Grad Student local

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TruthToTell, Mon., Jan 23@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS: Who Should Have a Say in What? - AUDIO IS HERE

Join TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI as we give some vent to and ask some key questions of critics of the Minneapolis bargaining process and let St. Paul’s Chief Negotiator explain where the laws and contract terms diverge.

GUESTS:

LYNNELL MICKELSEN – Co-Founder of Put Kids First Minneapolis and one of the authors of the Contract for Student Achievement

LOUISE SUNDIN – Past President, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT);

CHRIS STEWART – former Minneapolis School Board Member; CEO, Action for Equity; and Co-Chair, Education Work Group of the African-American Leadership Forum

JAY RITTERSON – retired Minneapolis School teacher; President, Committee of Thirteen (MFT Pension PAC)Professional Development Trainer Consultant

TIM CASKEY – Chief Negotiator/Director of Human Resources, St. Paul Schools

TruthToTell, Mon. Jan 30@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS (cont’d) & GRAD ASSISTANT UNIONIZING–KFAI 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

 

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TruthToTell, Mon. Jan 30@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS (cont’d) & GRAD ASSISTANT UNIONIZING–KFAI 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org


We return to the subject of teacher contract issues in Minneapolis after running out of time last week…if ever sufficient time is possible. And we talk with Grad Assistant organizers at the UofM trying to unionize their colleagues.

As we said last time, all school districts in the state of Minnesota – have been negotiating their teachers’ contracts over the last many months, some arriving at agreement well before some others. St. Paul in the throes of its negotiations. Minneapolis Schoolsconcluded theirs last Fall.

Core Minnesota city schools, especially Minneapolis and St. Paul – contain more kids of color than white students in their classrooms – and have been shown among the worst in the nation for their achievement gaps – that scholastic chasm separating white children from kids of color, especially Black, Latino and Native children.

Teacher-bashing seems to come easy for some who see their organizing efforts as a threat to the notion that teachers should do only what they’re told to do and should be subject to parental and administrative overlords. But, what role can and do teachers also play in keep the gap alive? As we said last week, many parents, advocates and educators cite the clear disparity in the color of students and the person teaching them.

Change ain’t easy – for people or groups of them. Organizations who have maintained insider relationships long enough usually want no other stakeholders involved in their “business,” and suggest such public decision should remain private.

Last time, we included representatives from the Minneapolis teachers union – the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers – the long-standing bargaining unit for those standing in front of our kids. This week, those reps found themselves forced to withdraw by personal circumstances, so we’re bringing back the critics and hope to clarify their positions. Those stakeholder groups - like Action for Equity and Put Kids First Minneapolis started attending the meetings and, in no uncertain terms insisted that, as progressives who support collective bargaining and closing the gaps. In coalition with others, and calling it "Contract for Student Achievement," they advanced five key ideas for last Fall’s bargaining. They, and their ideas for reforms, ran into a brick wall, essentially dismissed as interlopers with no business being part of the process. We talk with our returning advocates.

In Segment Two, we learn about the effort to organize University of Minnesota Graduate Assistants into a UAW local (GSWU/UAW). Grad Assistants are those research and teaching aides who do much of the work collecting and imparting knowledge to undergraduates and other graduate students while administrating classes and compiling data for professors and instructors as they work their own way toward masters degrees and PhD.

Why organizing efforts in general always seem to bang heads with highly resistant administrations seems so strange. Here’s a thought: ask General Motors or Ford and other large corporations if they would really want their unions to go away – and you will hear a whispered, “Hell, no”. Such bargaining units are critical to the bottom line because they keep workers in line. And yet – almost no cooperation melts away in the initial stage establishing a local.

Join TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI as we give some vent to and ask some key questions of critics of the Minneapolis teacher negotiations and hear from grad students about their work to essentially herd the cats of academia – the often ego-driven ranks of deans and professors and administrators and their graduate assistants.

GUESTS:

LYNNELL MICKELSEN – Co-Founder of Put Kids First Minneapolis and one of the authors of the Contract for Student Achievement

CHRIS STEWART – former Minneapolis School Board Member; CEO, Action for Equity; and Co-Chair, Education Work Group of the African-American Leadership Forum

SARA NELSON – Teaching Assistant, Geography, UofM – Spokesperson, UAW Grad Student local

SCOTT THALLER – Research Assistant, Physics, UofM – Spokesperson, UAW Grad Student local

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TruthToTell, Mon., Jan 23@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS: Who Should Have a Say in What? - AUDIO IS HERE

Join TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI as we give some vent to and ask some key questions of critics of the Minneapolis bargaining process and let St. Paul’s Chief Negotiator explain where the laws and contract terms diverge.

GUESTS:

LYNNELL MICKELSEN – Co-Founder of Put Kids First Minneapolis and one of the authors of the Contract for Student Achievement

LOUISE SUNDIN – Past President, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT);

CHRIS STEWART – former Minneapolis School Board Member; CEO, Action for Equity; and Co-Chair, Education Work Group of the African-American Leadership Forum

JAY RITTERSON – retired Minneapolis School teacher; President, Committee of Thirteen (MFT Pension PAC)Professional Development Trainer Consultant

TIM CASKEY – Chief Negotiator/Director of Human Resources, St. Paul Schools

TruthToTell, Mon. Jan 30@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS(cont’d) & GRAD ASSISTANT UNIONIZING–LISTEN/DOWNLOAD BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 01/30/2012

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We return to the subject of teacher contract issues in Minneapolis after running out of time last week…if ever sufficient time is possible. And we talk with Grad Assistant organizers at the UofM trying to unionize their colleagues.

As we said last time, all school districts in the state of Minnesota – have been negotiating their teachers’ contracts over the last many months, some arriving at agreement well before some others. St. Paul in the throes of its negotiations. Minneapolis Schools concluded theirs last Fall.

Core Minnesota city schools, especially Minneapolis and St. Paul – contain more kids of color than white students in their classrooms – and have been shown among the worst in the nation for their achievement gaps – that scholastic chasm separating white children from kids of color, especially Black, Latino and Native children.

Teacher-bashing seems to come easy for some who see their organizing efforts as a threat to the notion that teachers should do only what they’re told to do and should be subject to parental and administrative overlords. But, what role can and do teachers also play in keep the gap alive? As we said last week, many parents, advocates and educators cite the clear disparity in the color of students and the person teaching them.

Change ain’t easy – for people or groups of them. Organizations who have maintained insider relationships long enough usually want no other stakeholders involved in their “business,” and suggest such public decision should remain private.

Last time, we included representatives from the Minneapolis teachers union – the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers – the long-standing bargaining unit for those standing in front of our kids. This week, those reps found themselves forced to withdraw by personal circumstances, so we’re bringing back the critics and hope to clarify their positions. Those stakeholder groups - like Action for Equity and Put Kids First Minneapolis started attending the meetings and, in no uncertain terms insisted that, as progressives who support collective bargaining and closing the gaps. In coalition with others, and calling it "Contract for Student Achievement," they advanced five key ideas for last Fall’s bargaining. They, and their ideas for reforms, ran into a brick wall, essentially dismissed as interlopers with no business being part of the process. We talk with our returning advocates.

In Segment Two, we learn about the effort to organize University of Minnesota Graduate Assistants into a UAW local (GSWU/UAW). Grad Assistants are those research and teaching aides who do much of the work collecting and imparting knowledge to undergraduates and other graduate students while administrating classes and compiling data for professors and instructors as they work their own way toward masters degrees and PhD.

Why organizing efforts in general always seem to bang heads with highly resistant administrations seems so strange. Here’s a thought: ask General Motors or Ford and other large corporations if they would really want their unions to go away – and you will hear a whispered, “Hell, no”. Such bargaining units are critical to the bottom line because they keep workers in line. And yet – almost no cooperation melts away in the initial stage establishing a local.

Join TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI as we give some vent to and ask some key questions of critics of the Minneapolis teacher negotiations and hear from grad students about their work to essentially herd the cats of academia – the often ego-driven ranks of deans and professors and administrators and their graduate assistants.

GUESTS:

LYNNELL MICKELSEN – Co-Founder of Put Kids First Minneapolis and one of the authors of the Contract for Student Achievement

CHRIS STEWART – former Minneapolis School Board Member; CEO, Action for Equity; and Co-Chair, Education Work Group of the African-American Leadership Forum

SARA NELSON – Teaching Assistant, Geography, UofM – Spokesperson, UAW Grad Student local

SCOTT THALLER – Research Assistant, Physics, UofM – Spokesperson, UAW Grad Student local


57:49 minutes (52.93 MB)

TruthToTell, Mon. Jan 30@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS (cont’d) & GRAD ASSISTANT UNIONIZING–KFAI 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

On-air date: 
Mon, 01/30/2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We return to the subject of teacher contract issues in Minneapolis after running out of time last week…if ever sufficient time is possible. And we talk with Grad Assistant organizers at the UofM trying to unionize their colleagues.

As we said last time, all school districts in the state of Minnesota – have been negotiating their teachers’ contracts over the last many months, some arriving at agreement well before some others. St. Paul in the throes of its negotiations. Minneapolis Schools concluded theirs last Fall.

Core Minnesota city schools, especially Minneapolis and St. Paul – contain more kids of color than white students in their classrooms – and have been shown among the worst in the nation for their achievement gaps – that scholastic chasm separating white children from kids of color, especially Black, Latino and Native children.

Teacher-bashing seems to come easy for some who see their organizing efforts as a threat to the notion that teachers should do only what they’re told to do and should be subject to parental and administrative overlords. But, what role can and do teachers also play in keep the gap alive? As we said last week, many parents, advocates and educators cite the clear disparity in the color of students and the person teaching them.

Change ain’t easy – for people or groups of them. Organizations who have maintained insider relationships long enough usually want no other stakeholders involved in their “business,” and suggest such public decision should remain private.

Last time, we included representatives from the Minneapolis teachers union – the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers – the long-standing bargaining unit for those standing in front of our kids. This week, those reps found themselves forced to withdraw by personal circumstances, so we’re bringing back the critics and hope to clarify their positions. Those stakeholder groups - like Action for Equity and Put Kids First Minneapolis started attending the meetings and, in no uncertain terms insisted that, as progressives who support collective bargaining and closing the gaps. In coalition with others, and calling it "The Contract for Student Achievement," they advanced five key ideas for last Fall’s bargaining. They, and their ideas for reforms, ran into a brick wall, essentially dismissed as interlopers with no business being part of the process. We talk with our returning advocates.

In Segment Two, we learn about the effort to organize University of Minnesota Graduate Assistants into a UAW local (GSWU/UAW). Grad Assistants are those research and teaching aides who do much of the work collecting and imparting knowledge to undergraduates while administrating classes and compiling data for professors and instructors as they work their own way toward masters degrees and PhD.

Why organizing efforts in general always seem to bang heads with highly resistant administrations seems so strange. Here’s a thought: ask General Motors or Ford and other large corporations if they would really want their unions to go away – and you will hear a whispered, “Hell, no”. Such bargaining units are critical to the bottom line because they keep workers in line. And yet – almost no cooperation melts away in the initial stage establishing a local.

Join TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI as we give some vent to and ask some key questions of critics of the Minneapolis teacher negotiations and hear from grad students about their work to essentially herd the cats of academia – the often ego-driven ranks of deans and professors and administrators and their graduate assistants.

GUESTS:

LYNNELL MICKELSEN – Co-Founder of Put Kids First Minneapolis and one of the authors of the Contract for Student Achievement

CHRIS STEWART – former Minneapolis School Board Member; CEO, Action for Equity;
and Co-Chair, Education Work Group of the African-American Leadership Forum

SARA NELSON – Teaching Assistant, Geography, UofM – Spokesperson, UAW local (GSWU/UAW)

SCOTT THALLER – Research Assistant, Physics, UofM – Spokesperson, UAW local (GSWU/UAW)


0:50 minutes (1.52 MB)

TruthToTell, Mon., Jan 23@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS: Who Should Have a Say in What? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TruthToTell, Mon., Jan 23@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS: Who Should Have a Say in What? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul – as all districts in the state of Minnesota – have been negotiating their teachers’ contracts over the last many months, some arriving at agreement well before some others. St. Paul in the throes of its negotiations. Minneapolis concluded theirs last Fall.

Reams of data have now shown that the core cities, especially the Minneapolis District – with more kids of color than white students filling their classrooms – remain among the worst in the nation for their achievement gaps – that chasm separating white children from kids of color, especially Black, Latino and Native children. Some Minnesota citizens would see this as another sign that children of color cannot, somehow, learn, because – well, because they’re not white.

Others know better. But this sense of white supremacy can have devastating effects on those children as their mentors try hard to move the State Legislature toward funding the closing of such gaps, but them widening when efforts fail. Lawmakers have done little to adequately finance education or its funding mechanisms while insisting that all education decisions are so local that they can do little to even up the disparities, especially in districts where the gaps are so blatant, they can’t be assigned anywhere but to a persistent race and class bias at almost every level. Poverty is not an uncontrollable element of society. It’s a reason, not an excuse.

What roles do our teachers play in maintaining this gap? Many parents, advocates and educators cite the clear disparity in the color of students and the person teaching them. Many also say that the system of teacher seniority, or tenure, is archaic as the sole determinant for decisions affecting who gets which classrooms where and who gets laid off first if the crunches come – as they most certainly have. Older teachers may be the best. But they may not be, and the system, for the most part, cannot take reality that into consideration in its hiring or firing decisions.

Change comes hard for most people, not least for organizations who have maintained insider relationships long enough not to want other stakeholders involved in their “business.”

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers – the city’s teachers union is no exception, certainly. As the long-standing bargaining unit for all those who earn their livings at the front of all classrooms in the city’s school district, it, like all others of its kind, want very few changes – aside from a few harmless tweaks – not only to the way they’ve represented those teachers and maintained their contract provisions, but also to the very act of negotiating what is clearly a public document. Anyone outside the union and the district’s negotiating team and, finally the School Board, they say, is a non-expert, no matter whom the outsiders represent, and should have no say in contract terms.

Those groups, like Action for Equity and Put Kids First, both insisting they are strong progressive, even DFL, parents and citizens who support collective bargaining, tried putting several ideas on the negotiation table for last Fall’s bargaining, and generally hit a stone wall, essentially dismissed as interlopers with no business being part of the process.

In St. Paul, the School District is currently in negotiation with its teachers’ union – the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, whose President, Mary Cathryn Ricker, has been our guest a couple of times. That union group has, for the first time in Minnesota, it is said, asked for a provision casting classroom sizes in concrete – specific sizes for specific grades – right in the contract, which would essentially nullify what has thus far been an entirely administrative function.

How much of an uproar is this causing? We’ll try for some answers to that question.

Join TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI as we give some vent to and ask some key questions of critics of the Minneapolis bargaining process and let St. Paul’s Chief Negotiator explain where the laws and contract terms diverge.

GUESTS:

LYNNELL MICKELSEN – Co-Founder of Put Kids First Minneapolis and one of the authors of the Contract for Student Achievement

CHRIS STEWART – former Minneapolis School Board Member; CEO, Action for Equity; and Co-Chair, Education Work Group of the African-American Leadership Forum

TIM CASKEY – Chief Negotiator/Director of Human Resources, St. Paul Schools

INVITED, but declining to appear: 
LYNN NORDGREN – President, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers

INVITED, but unable to appear: 
JEAN O’CONNELL, Chair, St. Paul School Board

TruthToTell, Mon., Jan 23@9AM: TEACHER CONTRACTS: Who Should Have a Say in What?-AUDIO IS UP BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 01/23/2012

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The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul – as all districts in the state of Minnesota – have been negotiating their teachers’ contracts over the last many months, some arriving at agreement well before some others. St. Paul in the throes of its negotiations. Minneapolis concluded theirs last Fall.

Reams of data have now shown that the core cities, especially the Minneapolis District – with more kids of color than white students filling their classrooms – remain among the worst in the nation for their achievement gaps – that chasm separating white children from kids of color, especially Black, Latino and Native children. Some Minnesota citizens would see this as another sign that children of color cannot, somehow, learn, because – well, because they’re not white.

Others know better. But this sense of white supremacy can have devastating effects on those children as their mentors try hard to move the State Legislature toward funding the closing of such gaps, but them widening when efforts fail. Lawmakers have done little to adequately finance education or its funding mechanisms while insisting that all education decisions are so local that they can do little to even up the disparities, especially in districts where the gaps are so blatant, they can’t be assigned anywhere but to a persistent race and class bias at almost every level. Poverty is not an uncontrollable element of society. It’s a reason, not an excuse.

What roles do our teachers play in maintaining this gap? Many parents, advocates and educators cite the clear disparity in the color of students and the person teaching them. Many also say that the system of teacher seniority, or tenure, is archaic as the sole determinant for decisions affecting who gets which classrooms where and who gets laid off first if the crunches come – as they most certainly have. Older teachers may be the best. But they may not be, and the system, for the most part, cannot take reality that into consideration in its hiring or firing decisions.

Change comes hard for most people, not least for organizations who have maintained insider relationships long enough not to want other stakeholders involved in their “business.”

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) – the city’s teachers union is no exception, certainly. As the long-standing bargaining unit for all those who earn their livings at the front of all classrooms in the city’s school district, it, like all others of its kind, want very few changes – aside from a few harmless tweaks – not only to the way they’ve represented those teachers and maintained their contract provisions, but also to the very act of negotiating what is clearly a public document. Anyone outside the union and the district’s negotiating team and, finally the School Board, they say, is a non-expert, no matter whom the outsiders represent, and should have no say in contract terms.

Those groups, like Action for Equity and Put Kids First Minneapolisboth insisting they are strong progressive, even DFL, parents and citizens who support collective bargaining, tried putting several ideas on the negotiation table for last Fall’s bargaining, and generally hit a stone wall, essentially dismissed as interlopers with no business being part of the process.

In St. Paul, the School District is currently in negotiation with its teachers’ union – the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, whose President, Mary Cathryn Ricker, has been our guest a couple of times. That union group has, for the first time in Minnesota, it is said, asked for a provision casting classroom sizes in concrete – specific sizes for specific grades – right in the contract, which would essentially nullify what has thus far been an entirely administrative function.

How much of an uproar is this causing? We’ll try for some answers to that question.

Join TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI as we give some vent to and ask some key questions of critics of the Minneapolis bargaining process and let St. Paul’s Chief Negotiator explain where the laws and contract terms diverge.

GUESTS:

LYNNELL MICKELSEN – Co-Founder of Put Kids First Minneapolis and one of the authors of the Contract for Student Achievement

LOUISE SUNDIN – Past President, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT)

CHRIS STEWART – former Minneapolis School Board Member; CEO, Action for Equity; and Co-Chair, Education Work Group of the African-American Leadership Forum

JAY RITTERSON – retired Minneapolis School teacher; President, Committee of Thirteen (MFT Pension PAC)Professional Development Trainer Consultant

TIM CASKEY – Chief Negotiator/Director of Human Resources, St. Paul Schools

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