Teacher Contract Campaign Puts Student Learning Front and Center

Reblogged from NEA Today

The yard signs multiplied in the snowy front yards of St. Paul, Minnesota, by the hundreds early this year, and they said, often in hand-drawn red letters, “St. Paul children deserve… Small Class Sizes!!” Or, “St. Paul children deserve…Librarians!” Or “St Paul children deserve… Teaching Not Testing!

The answer varied from house to house, street to street, but there was tremendous unity on one point: Parents were working hand-in-hand with teachers across the St. Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT)as they collectively bargained a new contract, and they were counting on that contract to support their children’s public education.

“This isn’t just a story of a successful contract campaign,” said NEA Executive Director John Stocks. “This is a story about parents, educators, and community leaders joining in partnership to co-create solutions. We hope the St. Paul experience becomes a model for others.”

This particular chapter of the story ends with a great union contract that supports learning in St. Paul schools and includes specific provisions around:

  • Smaller class sizes, especially in schools in high-poverty neighborhoods;
  • Additional access for preschool students to St. Paul’s excellent pre-K programs;
  • A reduction by 25 percent to the time spent on testing and test prep.

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