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Doug Mann LPN, LNC

Open Letter to MFT local 59 prez-elect RPM

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Open Letter to MFT local 59 prez-elect RPM

Robert Panning Miller,

I hope to speak with you in the near future about school reform and your union's relationship to the board of education.

I am opposed to the kind of school reform that is called for in "No Child Left Behind."  I don't disagree with the stated aim of NCLB, of closing achievement gaps. I disagree with NCLB's diagnosis of and treatment for the achievement gap.

In my opinion, the achievement gap between racial groups in this district is mostly a reflection of differences in access to high quality educational programs. For example, Low-seniority teachers are heavily concentrated in most programs where students of color are over-represented, and turnover rates for low-seniority teachers are very high.

The Board and administration have been driving up teacher turnover rates by sending layoff notices to lower-seniority teachers who do not need to be laid off. A majority of teachers who get the notices are offered continued employment. Some have to be replaced because they have found other work (sometimes not as teachers). The layoff notices also enable teachers to accept employment with other school districts in the fall without submitting a letter of resignation by April 1, as required under the teacher tenure act.

To my knowledge the board has not seriously proposed modifications in the collective bargaining agreement with teachers to distribute low-seniority teachers more evenly throughout district schools. I urge the union to come up with such a proposal as a "counter-offer" to what has been proposed by board members, i.e., the enhancement of management rights and watering down of teacher tenure rights. I am opposed to all currently proposed changes to the teacher tenure act and public employees labor relations act advocated by the Minneapolis Board of Education.

-Doug Mann, King Field
Minneapolis School Board candidate

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