How Minneapolis Teachers Wrote a Resolution Opposing Corporate Education Reform
My name is Valerie and I am a veteran teacher in Minneapolis, a major target of the corporate education reform movement. The web of reform is insidious and inescapable in our town, and it’s hard for career teachers to be heard. A group of us has been working in the evenings and on the weekends to help ferret out these so-called reformers. The work is compelling, so compelling that I sit and look through Twitter feeds and Diane Ravitch’s blog long after my own children are asleep.
When I saw a story that the California Democratic Party had adopted a resolution opposing corporate education reform, it got me thinking. Our own party caucuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul were just days away. Could we follow the lead of what teachers in California had done and challenge the Democratic Party to take a stand against corporate-sponsored policies that are threatening our public schools? A friend and I quickly rewrote the California resolution to fit our needs here in Minnesota. Our efforts paid off. The resolution passed some of the caucuses and will now be carried forward to the city conventions.
This is the kind of networking that keeps us going. As you know all too well, we are up against wealthy and powerful forces, but, we have the truth on our side.
Valerie Rittler, Minneapolis
Supporting Minnesota’s Public Schools and Dispelling the Corporate “Reform” Agenda
Whereas, corporate sponsored reform initiatives rely on destructive policies that do nothing for students but blame educators and their unions for the ills of society, make testing the goal of education, shatter communities by closing their public schools, and see public schools as potential profit centers and children as measureable commodities; and
Whereas, many of these reform groups are funded by corporations, Republican operatives and wealthy individuals dedicated to privatization and anti-education initiatives, and are not grassroots organizations and do not include classroom educators or authentic community voices; and
Whereas, the billionaires funding Teach for America, Students First, Democrats for Education Reform, Students for Education Reform, MinnCAN, Educators 4 Excellence, Better Ed, and various other groups are supporting candidates and local programs that would dismantle a free public education for every student in Minnesota and replace it with company run charter schools, non-credentialed teachers and unproven, untested so-called “reforms”;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party reaffirms its commitment to free accessible public schools for all which offer a fair, substantive opportunity to learn with educators who have the right to be represented by their union, bargain collectively and have a voice in the policies which affect their schools, classrooms and their students;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party send this resolution to all elected Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party leaders in Minnesota, publicize the corporate and Republican funding of these groups and work with classroom educators to dispel the false reforms and support the real needs of the classroom: trained teachers, adequate funding, safe and clean facilities, diverse and stimulating curriculum and access to pre-school and higher education.