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Doug Mann LPN, LNC

2006 questionnaire / MFT local 59

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Resume; questions and answers for MFT local 59 (teachers) PAC candidate screening


Minneapolis Community and Technical College,

Graduated with honors from the MCTC Practical Nursing program in 1990

Earned more than 90 quarter credits

Completed general education requirements for an associate degree in nursing

Completed training as a Legal Nurse Consultant in Dec. 1995

Foreign languages: Spanish, French, some Italian.


Licensed Practical Nurse since 1991.

Employed by a home health care agency from Feb. 2004 - Aug. 2005

Employed in charge nurse positions in nursing homes from 1992 to 2003.

Former union steward and griever, and union bargaining committee delegate.

Have been involved with union organizing drives at nursing homes.

NAACP Minneapolis Branch education advocacy committee 1998-1999

Parents Union cofounder, served on board of directors 1998-2000

Author of

"Flight from Equality: School reform in the US since 1983

“The Coleman Report” (edited by University of Washington Faculty)

Web site:


1. Why are you running for school board?

I want to see the school board end the practice of laying off teachers in the spring who are going to be recalled or replaced in the fall, a practice which is arguably a violation of the Teacher Tenure Act and of the Desegregation Rule due to its disparate effect on students of color / protected classes.

The district must also desegregate its less experienced teachers, which would require a modification in the job bidding system, in order to get into compliance with the state desegregation rule (which requires a more-or-less equal distribution of education inputs between schools and school programs, and teaching qualifications and experience are recognized as critical educational inputs.

I also advocate phasing out “low-ability” curriculum tracks for the general student population. A “gifted and talented” approach should be used to educate all students, i.e., instruction based on a college-bound curriculum and individualized educational assessment and planning.

2. Have you children that are attending public schools? Which schools?

Yes. I have a 15 year old in grade 9 at South High School.

3. What aspects of your background would help make you a good School Board member?

I served on the NAACP education advocacy committee in 1998-1999, and the Parents Union board of directors from 1998-2000. I continued to work with Evelyn Eubanks on individual and public policy advocacy until several months before her death last year. (Evelyn was the treasurer of my campaign committee since 2002).

Other relevant experience: Union steward, griever, and bargaining committee delegate; Charge nurse, freelance news reporter, and experience doing paralegal work in the early 1990s.

4. What are the most important factors in significantly increasing student achievement?

Effective instruction requires stability (low teacher turnover rates), in addition to staff development programs, and adequate support to classroom teachers by specialists, administration, and research and evaluation.

5. What is the relationship between the quality of leadership at a school and the retention of experienced teachers?

Experienced teachers can play an important role in the leadership of a school. Teachers usually have a steep learning curve during their first 5 years on the job, especially in the area of classroom management.

6. What ideas do you have for cutting costs within the system? Where should funds be focused?

Moving from a multi-tiered curriculum tracking system to basing instruction for the general student population on a college bound curriculum and individualized educational planning. If the district stabilized the staffing, we would not need to spend so much money on administration and staff development.

7. What time and funding should be allotted for staff development?

I do not know if current time / funding levels are adequate. I would not recommend any changes before assessing staff development needs. And current approaches to staff development should be examined.

8. What are your ideas for attracting, inducting and retaining new and existing teachers?

Stop laying off teacher in the spring who are almost certainly going to be recalled or replaced in the fall.

I also advocate creating temporary positions, with up to 3-5 year stints for new, inexperienced teachers in all schools, rather than filling most positions that come open in some schools with inexperienced teachers. Focus on supporting teaching and evaluating effectiveness of instruction.

9. What is your view of the importance of safety of students and staff in schools and classrooms? What role does the School Board play?

Safety is important. The board is responsible for formulating policy to address safety issues. I do not support "zero tolerance" policies.

10. Should educational assistants have certificates or licenses qualifying them to be assistant educators?


11. What is your position on seniority in case of layoffs or reductions-in-force?

Seniority should be used to determine layoffs, generally last hired, first fired. Allowing the administration to choose on the basis of "merit" is a bad idea, in my opinion. Merit based layoffs invite abuses of authority.

12. What changes, if any, would you make in the Public Employee Labor Relations Act (PELRA) or in tenure?

I favor tenure rights for all teachers. "Tenure rights" are simply due process rights which apply in the event of a teacher's contract being terminated.

13. Are you willing to levy property taxes to the maximum allowed by the Minnesota Legislature?

Yes, if the district is willing to take steps to make a quality education accessible to all students, which must include a more equal distribution of educational inputs to all school sites and programs.

14. What is the responsibility of the Minneapolis School Board to ensure that Minneapolis teachers have a secure pension?

The board should not shirk its duty to fund the pension plan.

15. What is your view of contracting out services to private contractors?

I am for contracting out services only if the district can't get the work done by district employees, in cases where the work is not getting done properly due to inadequate training (which could be fixed), or to address unusual needs that would be very costly to address by creating a program operated by the district.

For example, program / employee evaluation is an example of the kind of service the district might need to contract out / outsource due to inadequate training and leadership. I would recommend hiring a consultant with a public education background. A big part of the problem is that the district has relied on advice from consultants with a private sector "business" background.

16. Would you support a referendum for operating funds?

I would not support a referendum for operating funds to cover the overhead costs of curriculum tracking. I would seriously consider supporting a referendum for operating funds due to changes due to cost-shifting by the state.

17. What is your understanding of the union's role in education reform, restructuring, and professional teaching?

I believe the union's chief role should be to defend teachers' rights, contract enforcement. I am against micromanaging the teachers, against "pay-for performance." And the union should be extremely supportive of teachers who are advocating for students.

18. Once the school district and their employees sign a contract of agreement, will you honor the terms of that contract?

Yes. I publicly opposed board decisions to violate the collective bargaining agreement with the teachers, such as the refusal to pay wage increases linked to step & lane classifications.

19. What relationship should the School Board have with Local 59? Do you think it is important to building a relationship with Local 59? How should communication be maintained between the two?

The relationship should be based on a commitment to "closing the gap" and improving student performance. The union (local 59) should recognize that conflicts inevitably arise between the administration and teachers who advocate for the students.

20. What endorsements do you have? What endorsements are you seeking?

No endorsements so far. Am seeking endorsement of unions, maybe the Greens, IFP (independent Freedom Party).

Doug Mann for School Board in 2008