St. Paul’s teacher talks have been a public affair is the headline of a Minnesota newspaper article that shows why the work of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, led by Mary Ricker, is a national model for parent engagement.
Here’s are some excerpts:
The St. Paul district and teachers union negotiating teams have huddled behind closed doors in increasingly tense contract talks.
But some of the most important conversations may have played out outside the bargaining room, where the two sides have curried public support and enlisted allies.
Long before raising the specter of an educator strike, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers launched an outreach effort with parents and ramped it up as talks grew more contentious. Now, a parent campaign is pressing school board members to yield ground on educators’ proposals…..
The St. Paul teachers union’s unprecedented outreach effort has gotten national attention.
The federation invited parents and residents to book readings and discussions before it presented its contract proposals nine months ago. Then, when the district brought in a state mediator and the talks moved behind closed doors, the union intensified efforts to keep its proposals in the spotlight.
Members knocked on doors. They produced videos featuring district nurses, counselors and social workers, whose ranks the federation wants to increase. The union made and distributed yard signs and launched an online signature drive.
When families attended the district’s annual school choice fair, teachers were there to greet them and pass out fliers in several languages. Educators also invited parents to join them when they rallied in front of schools last month in support of the union’s proposals.
That outreach seems to be paying off since union leadership this past Monday called for a strike vote.
Parents have started an “I stand with SPFT” Facebook page, which quickly drew more than 900 members, including some teachers. On it, parents have shared contact information for board members and district administrators. They have urged each other to turn out for a union rally at the Feb. 18 school board meeting and have aired various frustrations with the district and questioned its cost estimate for union proposals.
I’m adding this info to The Best Reasons Why Parents Should Be Looked At As Allies & Not Targets Of Blame.