Why are we fighting for fully funding public education?

During the Unity Summit public meeting on Feb. 1, Education Minnesota members shared why they are going to be a part of our campaign.

“Since 2013, our district asked five times – yes, five times – for voters to approve ballot measures to build a new school and add on to the high school. Each time, voters rejected them. Apparently the sixth time was a charm. Last November, voters finally approved a $34 million construction package. It’s insane that the quality of my students’ education depends on how well my students and I can door knock and beg my neighbors to raise their property taxes.”

– Jodi Hansen, Education Minnesota-Worthington

“Fully funding schools across the state would allow schools to provide enough counselors, social workers, and other human resources to support every student. We can begin to give the professional development that so many educators across the state are craving. I have done trainings on trauma across the country and all across the state, from Sebeka to Waseca. The need is there. The need is real. This money will make a difference.”

– Jim Parry, Stewartville United Educators

“In higher ed, we have served to almost entirely individualize the burden of underfunding – putting it solely on the backs of students through increased tuition and student debt. We have shifted higher education from a public good to almost exclusively a private one.”

– Mark Grant, Minnesota State College Faculty

“Like many districts, our staff does not mirror our student body, which becomes more diverse every year. We receive few applicants for openings, which would certainly change if we were able to offer better salary and benefits. Better funding also means more training and support, both of which will help us retain the teachers and support staff we do hire.”

– Mindy Christianson, Fergus Falls Education Association

“Fully funding our schools allows for schools to provide comprehensive training in anti-racist and culturally responsive teaching. It allows for schools to purchase curriculum and materials that are most impactful for their student body. Fully funded schools have enough staff and teachers to provide class sizes that allow the teacher to provide enough support. Fully funded schools can be innovative in providing academic experiences.”

– Teresa Stadem, Education Richfield

“We all care about the students and families we work with. But when we have to work many jobs, I worry about my colleagues. I only work two jobs but some of my colleagues work four. ESPs deserve a living wage. One job is enough!”

– Yasmin Muridi, Saint Paul Federation of Educators