Every Child Counts!
I believe in the value of public education and the need for educators and parents, renters and taxpayers to have an organized voice representing the needs of the student, the classroom, the school and the district. I also believe in inclusion and that every student must count. But I also believe that diversity without equity is window-dressing, so that while we fight for inclusion, we also must fight for the resources to make that inclusion meaningful to students of every color, ethnicity, language, religion or gender. It is our job to make the learning experience rewarding and joyful for all students.
No Educators Are Deplorable!
We need all educators' hands on deck to contribute to our children's education, not just the ones we like or agree with. Too many educators vilify those with different ideas, making it impossible to work together. We need to recognize that unless someone's ideas or beliefs are materially adverse to our students, we need to offer them a path to our table so that we can dwell in brotherhood and sisterhood together. Divisiveness exists on both the left and the right; the beliefs that we should care about most are the ones that we all share, every one of us.
Fight Racism and the Race System!
Fighting racism is not enough, we have to end the race system for the fake science that it is once and for all. And we must not dilute it with false equivalencies or diminish its remedies to a mere civil right. This is about reuniting the whole of humanity. We have a historical role to play as teachers, to reassert the role real science plays in learning and prove the fallacy of race, the first lie that most of us are taught. The truth is, race was made up by conquistadors seeking exemption for the biblical sin of killing for committing large scale genocide on indigenous people, with the blessings of the pope. It was later adopted into the constitution as the 3/5 rule acknowledging the accounting value of African slaves on the plantation ledger books as property. There is only one race, the human race, and to insist otherwise, otherizes our children. The best way to "de-otherize" them is to call-out and end the race system once and for all. We can celebrate our colors, languages, cultures and ethnicities without using the fake oppressor's classification of race!
The Trouble With District Redesigns
The Comprehensive District Redesign (CDD) has turned out to be a very unpopular program in the District. Though I argued from the outset that any attempt to redesign the District without deracializing the language of school administration and classroom instruction with the objective of eliminating sources of student otherization across the entire District the program will fail to meet its objectives. Though we must laud the District for having the sense to tackle the difficult problems created by years of covenant mortgages, redlining and exclusionary housing policies, we must question how the decision was arrived at amidst the pandemic and what results were accomplished. Simply put, the community is broken-hearted over the outcome and even the most well-meaning of our parents have now become very bitter. Many people believe that the District already had a plan in mind and simply used the listening sessions to sell one of their models back to us. Whatever the case, I believe that we have time to salvage the good will of the District and reconstitute a plan that meets everyone's needs. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all our future plans, including those for the 2021-2022 school year, is likely to force many of these issue back on the table. As a result, we will need to have Community Oversight on all plans moving forward with the goal of assuring that our New Pathways that link school progressions become Highways to Success and not reasons for parents to leave the District.
Drive ALEC Out of Our Districts!
ALEC is short for American Legislative Exchange Council, an anti-public education lobby group that has penetrated many of our schools throughout the state through one of their founders, Koch Industries. Enemies of public education and unions, the Koch family spent $896 million to elect anti-public education and anti-union candidates in 2016. They also have a $42 billion war chest to destabilize and privatize public education in cahoots with Betsy DeVos. Where do they get their money? From the sales of Georgia Pacific paper towels and toilet paper, Vanity Fare napkins, Dixie Cups, American Greeting Cards and countless other brands and trademarks of paper products and cleaning supplies.Many of these products are in our schools without our choice.
Here are some choice quotes from the company:
“We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”
“We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”
“We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”
Just think, every wipe a nail in our coffin; why give them the money to destroy us? Let's drive them and their brands out of our schools! We demand community input into supplier selection!
Full Funding for All Public Schools!
For years politicians have been touting tax breaks while our public school infrastructure crumbles. Not only are the buildings needing attention, our teachers are vastly underpaid, over-worked and often spend their own money for classroom supplies. We demand full funding for all schools so they can afford a full time nurse, books in the library, band equipment for music classes, art supplies, athletic gear, language labs, science and technology equipment and fully staffed special education programs. We call it Visionary Funding and we are calling for it now! Our students need and deserve Full Service Community Schools!
Say No to Public School Privatization!
The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprising for social justice precipitated by the lynching of George Floyd has created the perfect conditions for corporate raiders to sneak in an carry out the DeVos attack on public education. The plan is to let corporations buy up the school system in the name of social progress and turn education into a business. And they are recruiting identity warriors to carry this vision into their respective communities to give it a pseudo-progressive generational flavor. Say no to raiders! No to vouchers! No to charter schools!
Find New Ways to Fund Our Public Schools Sustainably!
If every city were like Green Bay, we'd have a publicly owned and traded professional sports franchise contributing to the financial health and well-being of our town and well-funded public schools rather than extracting millions every year out of our pockets for deposit in out of state bank accounts. Imagine if we used our budget surplus to buy our teams, took them public and used the operating proceeds to build a better Minnesota! It's an ambitious idea but we have been blessed with a lot of sports teams and good-hearted people who can forge a way forward that allows us to secure our public schools, public safety and fire departments, settle up with ADOS residents and cut property taxes all at the same time! Beats having to give franchise owners bailout money during a meltdown doesn't it?
Full Time Pay and Professional Dignity for All ESPs!
Who always seems to have the toughest job and the least expressed appreciation? Education Support Professionals, oftentimes known as Associate Educators, Special Education Assistants and Paraprofessionals, are a vital part of every school. Students, teachers, parents and administrators depend on them daily for helping create a vibrant and effective learning environment. Their rapport with children goes beyond what many teachers can provide in the classroom. Because of this key role, and the passion with which they discharge their duties, I believe that they should be treated with professional dignity and afforded all the lights, rights and benefits the school district can muster, including full-time jobs and salaries, holidays, sick days, snow days, health care, professional development learning opportunities and a host of other benefits that are often "overlooked" when determining fair compensation for over 1/4 of our school staff population. We owe our brothers and sisters a debt for the job they do: The least we can do is provide full time pay and professional dignity for all ESPs!