Minnesota’s largest teachers union has named “defeating Trumpism” and getting out 100 percent of the educator vote as some of its goals for the 2020 election cycle.
Education Minnesota will host its annual “Unity Summit” at the end of the month to help educators “learn about the tools they’ll need to develop worksite teams to build unity around electing pro-public education candidates in the 2020 election and fight for fully funding schools in the 2021 legislative session.”
In announcing the summit, the union said its goals for 2020 are to “get out 100 percent of the educator vote,” “take back the state senate,” and “win full funding for Minnesota students.”
The Minnesota Senate is currently controlled by Republicans, meaning Education Minnesota will work to flip the chamber back to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party. The union made a similar appeal during the last legislative session, asking its members to “vote in a new Senate.”
Through our union, we have the power to win full funding for our students. Join the movement: https://t.co/1b8DWG2dIA #mnleg #edmnvotes #redfored #fundourfuture #newyearsresolutions pic.twitter.com/dmJLuxipEs
— Education Minnesota (@EducationMN) December 30, 2019
“Education Minnesota reshaped its election work in 2018, focusing on getting out the vote at the worksite level. While the union still supported pro-public education candidates, the focus on activism and building power at the worksite was the core of our electoral success,” the union said of its upcoming political conference.
The union wants to build “collective power to defeat Trumpism in 2020 and win a public education system that can prevent Trumpism for the next generation.”
“That will only happen when Minnesota’s public school system is fully funded and educators can wholly and completely meet the needs of students without an ongoing struggle for necessities like a well-rounded curriculum, student supports and small class sizes,” the union said on its website. “Uniting in a movement around the public schools, which are a public good for everyone no matter where you come from or what you look like, will be at the crux of our 2020 electoral work and the next two legislative sessions.”
Education Minnesota’s “2020 election plan” is to unite “100 percent of educators and 33,000 parents and community voters to get-out-the-public education vote in 2020, through worksite action and parent and community organizing.”
The union plans to create “worksite unity teams” that will work to “organize a majority of their colleagues to join the movement for full funding.”
According to a 2019 report from the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board, the state had an estimated 63,629 active licensed teachers during the 2017-18 school year. That board sets the rules that govern teaching licensure in Minnesota and is considering a number of changes to its rule book. Some of those changes would require teachers to “regularly reflect on the impact of biases and microaggressions,” The Minnesota Sun reported.
Catrin Wigfall, a policy fellow with the Center of the American Experiment, said Education Minnesota’s 2020 resolutions “don’t seem to respect the voice and choice of all the educators it represents.”
“By wanting to ‘take back the Senate,’ which means the DFL party would have control, Education Minnesota is dismissing teachers who vote Republican or Independent,” said Wigfall. “And even among the teachers whose political views are closely associated with the left, there are multiple candidates who run against each other within each party. Whoever the union favors, union members are forced to support, undermining their own political preferences. What about teachers who don’t support any candidate?”
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