Resolution Of No Confidence In the Minneapolis Public Schools Board Of Education and Superintendent Ed Graff
While the Teacher and Educational Support Professionals (ESP) chapters of MFT 59 strongly support further return to onsite learning, we emphatically hold no confidence in the plans being implemented by Minneapolis Public Schools in their rush to Phase Five in-person learning. As educators we see firsthand the challenges of distance learning. We also know full well that these challenges pale in comparison to the risks this global pandemic and its many implications presents for students, families, and staff. Minneapolis Public Schools assured the public that return to onsite learning would occur in “Phases” with the collaboration of all constituents to put the best plans forward for both academic achievement and health and safety.
In the current Phase Two plan, there are 7 middle schools that support approximately 450 students onsite through Emergency Child Care. MPS now plans to drastically escalate these numbers to approximately 15,000 kindergarten through 5th grade students with a full return to in-person learning in our elementary programs, moving directly to Phase Five for these grades. MPS has breached our trust and the trust of the public by not remaining committed to a phased-in process. Our confidence has been further violated by MPS: (1) not including educators in co-creating plans to ensure staffing and academic effectiveness; (2) inadequately addressing ongoing health and safety concerns; and (3) prematurely forcing escalated onsite learning without the opportunity for all in the school community to receive vaccines and have them become effective.
Our many concerns could be remedied with direct, comprehensive negotiations between our Union and MPS that is required by Governor Walz’s Executive Orders addressing the pandemic. Instead, MPS has steadfastly refused to include us in any meaningful discussions or decision-making. We are invited to meetings only to be told of plans that as experienced, skilled, and dedicated educators we know are not plausible: they will not work. This is not collaboration, nor is it co-creation.
Every effort must be made to ensure that no student, family, or staff contracts COVID-19 onsite that would otherwise have been prevented by remaining at home, OR through negotiations achieving effective academic planning and needed health and safety protocols that include wider vaccine availability to the entire school community.
These plans are not sufficiently in place. Demands to negotiate and co-create such plans have been denied. Questions and concerns have gone too often unaddressed.
We support this resolution of No Confidence based on the decisions by MPS to require Teachers and ESPs to return to further onsite learning without comprehensive plans and protocols that ensure the medical and mental health and well-being of all students, families, and staff.
To see some examples of MPS’s ill-advised and poor decision-making head here.