Minneapolis teachers end strike with tentative deal

Educators and Minneapolis school district officials reached a tentative agreement Friday morning to end a teachers’ strike, resolving a ...


Educators and Minneapolis school district officials reached a tentative agreement Friday morning to end a teachers’ strike, resolving a nearly three-week stalemate that had closed classrooms for about 30,000 students in the public schools.

The teachers’ union said members were due to vote on the deal this weekend. If approved, students could be back in school as early as Monday.

Few details of the deal have been released, but the Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Professionals of Minneapolis said in a statement, “It is important to note that significant gains have been made in salaries for support professionals. to education, protections for educators of color, class sizes. mental health caps and supports.

The teachers’ strike, which began on March 8 and left many parents scrambling to have their children looked afterwas the first in the district for over 50 years.

In California, a teachers’ strike continues in Sacramento, where the public school district serves more than 40,000 students from kindergarten through high school.

David Fisher, who heads the Sacramento City Teachers Association, said Friday that a staffing crisis in the district has become difficult to manage. “Some days in some schools it’s even difficult to run the schools because there are so few adults on campus,” he said.

In Minneapolis, negotiations between the union and the district — over wages, hiring and retention practices, and resources for student mental health — often lasted late into the night. The teachers’ union pointed out budget surpluses in Minnesota and said money and power in the district were concentrated at the top, while educators struggled to do more with less.

The district argued that its revenue would not be enough to cover the additional expenses, in part because of declining enrollment, rising costs and decades of underfunding. Enrollment in public schools in the city from kindergarten to terminale fell just below 30,000 at the start of this school year, compared to almost 33,600 in the fall 2019.

Ed Graff, the superintendent, said Friday that more information on the deal would be shared once details are finalized.

“Families wanted their children to go back to school, and that was the No. 1 priority,” he said. “They’ve certainly seen enough disruption with the pandemic.” In January, Minneapolis students followed distance learning courses for two weeks due to staffing shortages related to the coronavirus.

Shaun Laden, who leads the branch of the union that represents education support professionals, said it was likely the school day would increase slightly and the school year would stretch by a week or more to catch up with the wasted time.

He added that while some details of the deal have yet to be finalized, it involves bolstering job protections for hundreds of workers of color and “significantly” raising salaries for workers. educational support professionals. He said some positions where workers once started with a salary of around $24,000 would now pay something closer to $35,000 by the employee’s second year.

“We’ve always said it’s not just about how much money our district has,” Laden added, “but how we choose to use it.”

Lesley Lavery, associate professor of political science at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and author of “A Collective Pursuit: Teachers’ Unions and Education Reform,” said the Minneapolis strike was an example of haggle for the common goodwhich blurs the lines between economic, political and environmental demands – for example, calling not only for better pay, but also for smaller class sizes and better mental health support for students.

“It’s about the whole package,” she said. “I think we’re going to see more districts start doing that.”

But Professor Lavery added that wages are likely to remain a major sticking point in education labor battles in the United States, as low wages continue to prevent school districts from competing with other employers.

“In many states, teacher compensation has not caught up to pre-recession levels in 2008,” she said. “We just saw another recession, and I just think that played a part. We could see more.

When the Omicron variant sent Covid cases soaring earlier this year, teacher unions across the US raised concerns about understaffing due to illnesses and shortages of tests and masks. In Chicago, home to the nation’s third-largest school district, a week of classes was canceled after teachers’ union members argued classrooms were unsafe. Schools reopened after a the case was announced January 10.

Nikki Milevsky, vice president of the striking teachers’ union in Sacramento, praised the union in Minneapolis for reaching recruitment agreements and better mental health support systems for students there.

“It’s something we dream about here at SCTA,” she said. “We are really proud of them.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Minneapolis teachers end strike with tentative deal
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