Minnesota Higher Education Worker Center
Statement of Solidarity with Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Professionals
The MN Higher Education Workers Center at The University of Minnesota
The MN Higher Education Workers Center (HEWC), a group of faculty and student workers at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, stands in solidarity with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Professionals (MFT) as they strike for equitable working conditions and safe and stable schools. HEWC calls on the Minneapolis Board of Education to accept the union’s bargaining demands and thereby recognize that the workers who educate the youth of our community are entitled to fair compensation and working conditions, and that students’ educational opportunities, learning conditions, and well-being require teachers and educational support professionals who are properly supported.
As workers at the University of Minnesota, we are members of the Twin Cities community. As educators at the state’s land-grant university, we embrace public education as an imperative civic, intellectual, and democratic good. Many of us, as well as our students and colleagues, came through the Minneapolis school system. In addition, many of the educators, students and other workers at the university send their children to Minneapolis public schools. Public school educators and educational support professionals are our colleagues and fellow community members. We are thus deeply concerned with working and learning conditions in public schools. We know the vital roles MFT educators and educational support professionals play not only in furnishing high-quality educations to Minneapolis students, but also in supporting and sustaining our communities as they continue to recover from and respond to the Minneapolis Police Department’s murder of George Floyd and subsequent instances of police violence. The well-being of our communities requires the work of public school educators to be recognized and funded at proper levels. Workers in Minneapolis public schools deserve working conditions reflective of the importance of their role in building equitable and inclusive communities.
A well-resourced public education system, from K-12 to postgraduate study, is foundational to equality and democracy, yet we see it under attack at all levels. Corporate interests have been undermining this right at the University of Minnesota for several decades, and we see the same threat embodied in the perpetual underfunding of K-12 public education in Minneapolis. The state sits on a 9 billion dollar budget surplus, while the city of Minneapolis provides increased funding for a police department with a record of inefficiency and brutality. The Minneapolis Police Department’s budget is currently the largest in its history when one factors in additional liability costs and other expenditures that are deceptively hidden in the city’s general fund. Teachers, not police officers, are the pillars of a democratic society and inclusive community. Underfunding of public education at all levels is an unacceptable disinvestment in our city, state, and future.
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