After failing to reach an agreement with Minneapolis Public Schools, teachers in Minneapolis went on strike on Tuesday, canceling school for more than 30,000 kids.
ESPs and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers want “a living wage” for education support professionals (ESPs), “lower class sizes, and safe and stable schools.” According to a post on the teachers’ union’s Facebook page, goals were clearly stated on picketers’ signs outside Justice Page Middle School in South Minneapolis on Tuesday morning.
Students deserve “secure and stable schools,” the president of the MFT, Greta Callahan, said in a news conference Monday.
“We continue to do so much more with so little,” Callahan remarked. “Hoarding of power continues in this district, and those at the top continue to do so much less with so much more than before. We believe that the Minneapolis Public Schools will cease to exist if we do not intervene in the current situation. For our city’s sake and the sake of our students, we are fighting for robust public schools.”
According to the group’s Facebook page, the union plans to march to the Minneapolis Public Schools district headquarters on Tuesday afternoon following a rally at the Minneapolis Public Schools Nutrition Center.
“We recognize our organizations’ common interests are founded on our sincere commitment to the education of Minneapolis students,” Minneapolis Public Schools said in an update to its website following the news of a strike by teachers. According to the district’s website, there are 31,598 pupils, 3,266 teachers, and 1,223 education support staff.
By “non-stop,” the district says, “MPS will be engaged in mediation to lessen the duration and impact of this strike.”
Callahan said at a press conference that the federation’s demands had not been met by mid-morning Tuesday.
AFT President Randi Weingarten, who reiterated the local unions’ demands and labeled Minneapolis class sizes “far too excessive,” was among many who supported the striking teachers.
A tentative agreement on new contracts was revealed late Monday between the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers and the Saint Paul Public Schools in adjacent St. Paul, Minnesota, where teachers were about to strike.
A “story of two cities,” Weingarten remarked, urging the Minneapolis school board to “get on the table.”
President Becky Pringle told reporters that the 3 million members of the National Education Association also support the Minneapolis teachers. ‘And we will not stop until every single student has the resources they need and deserve,” she added. Another priceless asset we possess is the talent of our teachers.
As of Tuesday, all Minneapolis Public Schools classes for grades pre-K through 12 will be canceled “for the duration of the strike.” The Minneapolis Public Schools can only provide limited child supervision due to a lack of staff. Thus, parents will need to find alternative child care arrangements.
Meal bags with breakfast and lunch for children will be accessible at their schools starting Wednesday and will also offer online learning activities.