Buoyed by broad-based community support, St. Paul teachers kicked off their contract campaign with a public celebration April 20, pledging to use negotiations with the district to build “the schools St. Paul children deserve.”
At the Saturday-morning campaign kickoff, teachers unveiled a 30-page document – assembled with input from teachers, parents and community members – laying out the goals, priorities and values that will guide their negotiating team.
Mary Cathryn Ricker, president of Local 28, said the union began holding listening sessions with the public last fall. The union used feedback garnered during those meetings, along with the results of a survey sent to members over the winter, to draft the guiding document.
Priorities St. Paul teachers will bring to the negotiating table include several aimed at improving education outcomes – like greater access to preschool, culturally relevant coursework and smaller class sizes.
Other priorities address professional development and teacher evaluation that emphasizes “teaching, not testing.”
The April 20 kickoff event drew support from Gov. Mark Dayton, progressive groups like Take Action Minnesota and leaders in the labor movement, including St. Paul Regional Labor Federation President Bobby Kasper.