The Minnesota teachers’ union is advocating for a multibillion-dollar investment in the state’s public schools now that education- and union-friendly Democrats control the state government in its entirety.
Education Minnesota, which played a significant role in the DFL’s electoral victory, announced on Thursday that it will lobby legislative leaders and former teacher Gov. Tim Walz for billions to increase teacher retention and recruitment, improve student mental health, and strengthen teachers’ pensions.
Denise Specht, president of the union, said that precise policy or money numbers have not yet been created, but she vowed to “hold responsible any politicians who promised complete support on the campaign path.”
Specht said, “Since we are discussing large topics, we will not tolerate anything trivial.” “We are aware that there is a high price tag, but there are high expectations for our schools and their employees, therefore we will be asking for bold requests.”
The union also desires that the funds be used to hire more special education personnel, substitute teachers, and bus drivers. The extra expenditures will aid pupils both emotionally and intellectually in the face of declining test results as a result of the epidemic.
Specht said that the union wants legislators to “fully support” education, a phrase often used by Walz.
What does this entail? “We will know that our schools are completely financed when there are no more taxes on the ballot,” she stated.
Until then, the union may enjoy a successful night on Tuesday for funding-seeking districts. Similar to DFL candidates, local districts had unexpected success with their tax levy votes. According to the Minnesota School Board Association, at least one item was approved in 25 of the 34 school districts that had operating levies on their ballots. This compares to a passing rate of 48% in 2020.
Specht suggested a higher expenditure of $4.3 billion over two years in 2019 because to inflation and enrollment growth. This was before the epidemic intensified scholastic difficulties.
Fears about an influx of conservative school board members were also unfounded. Education Minnesota sponsored 116 candidates for school board positions throughout the state for Tuesday’s election, of which 71 were successful.
The Minnesota Parents Alliance, a right-wing organization founded by the Center for the American Experiment, said that over 50 of its backed candidates won their respective elections.
Thursday, Specht and other educators said that these candidates campaigned for the elimination of LGBTQ education and school inclusiveness. Additionally, right-wing politicians fought for the elimination of the so-called critical race theory. CRT is an academic-level scholarship that is not typically taught in K-12 schools, but conservatives have weaponized it to provoke outrage over teaching students the role of white supremacy in U.S. history and diversity-related topics.
She said that it was regrettable that the politicians campaigned on such promises, but hoped that communities could work together for the sake of pupils.
Specht stated, “We are all better off as Minnesotans when we all do what is right for every student, without exception.”