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I accuse the Minneapolis school board of crimes & cover-ups
Subj:      [Mpls] I accuse the MPS board of crimes and cover-ups / Sundin's defense
Date:     8/28/2004 6:24:31 PM Central Daylight Time

I accuse former MPS superintendent David Jennings, with support from Minneapolis Federation of Teachers president Louise Sundin, and with approval of the Minneapolis Board of Education of cutting 210.8 teacher positions (net), of laying off 608 teachers, and leaving it to the next superintendent, Ms. Peebles to rehire a majority of laid off teachers or replace them with new teachers.

I accuse David Jennings, with support of Louise Sundin and with approval from the Minneapolis Board of Education of reassigning tenured teachers from elementary classrooms in order to shift the burden of laying off probationary teachers from early elementary grade-levels to other areas.

I accuse Louise Sundin, David Jennings, top MPS administrative staff, and the Minneapolis Board of Education of conspiring to obstruct and divert teachers from exercising their rights under the Teacher Tenure Act and the collective bargaining agreement between the district and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Educational Assistants.

I accuse the school administration under Carol Johnson and David Jennings and other past superintendents, under the direction of the Board of Education, and with support from Louise Sundin and the teachers union leadership, of carrying out a payroll cost-containment strategy that has the predictable effect of overexposing students in high-poverty, high-minority schools to inexperienced
teachers, then blaming the students, their parents and communities of color for the failure of those schools.

I am still awaiting a response to requests to the district to make available to the public complete information that would prove, or disprove the above allegations.


In a message dated 8/28/2004 12:42:36 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

<< Louise Sundin: Teacher layoffs hurt, but must be done fairly  >>

Louise Sundin "This summer was a grim one for more than 500 Minneapolis teachers who were laid off and will not be called back. That is on top of 1,000 teachers already laid off the past three years, due to a loss of students and $120 million of state and federal funding. A downsizing of this magnitude is painful." - Louise Sundin: Teacher layoffs hurt, but must be done fairly

[Comment by Doug Mann] Louise Sundin and the school administration are evidently using the term "teacher" to mean "licensed teachers" and also to mean "teachers, educational assistants, and others who work with teachers in the classroom" in order to mislead their readers. The district reports that in
2003-2004, it employed 4,195 teachers. There were fewer than 1700 full-time teacher positions in regular K-12 and Special Ed programs in the 2003-2004 budget. Are about one-half of the teacher positions not accounted for in the budget? No. About half of the "teachers" are educational assistants and other employees who are not employed as licensed teachers. Louise Sundin says that MFT local 59 has
about 3,500 members, which include teachers, educational assistants and SRP's.

The district reports that it laid off 608 teachers (employed for 5 years or less), including 153 tenured teachers, 455 probationary teachers. At an Insight Public Policy Forum, the new principal at North High said that all teachers hired within the past 5 years were laid off.  We are talking about licensed teachers, and only licensed teachers, not also Educational Assistants and SRP's.

There were far fewer than 1,000 teacher positions cut within the past 3 years, even counting cuts made in the 2004-2005 budget. The 2004-2005 budget cut 210.8 full-time teacher positions (net). The number of teacher positions in regular K-12 instruction was 1663.2 in 2001-2002, 1558.0 in 2002-2003, 1309.6 in
2003-2004, and 1,095.8 in the 2004-2005 budget.  There has been very little change in the number of teacher positions in the Special Ed programs since the fall of 2001 (a net loss of 5).

[Louise Sundin] "They have also failed to note that the Supreme Court-mandated "realignment" process saved the jobs of 140 tenured teachers. Those 140 teachers, long dedicated to urban kids, will be in classrooms this fall because a similar number of experienced teachers have been reassigned to teach in
different schools in subjects that they are fully licensed to teach." Louise Sundin, i.b.i.d.

[Comment by Doug Mann] Did the district have to realign 140 tenured elementary school teachers to make room for 92 other tenured elementary school teachers who don't have licenses to teach in other areas? It is evident that at least 48 teachers were realigned to make room for probationary teachers. The Tenure Act doesn't obligate the district to preserve the jobs of probationary teachers. The district has acknowledged that the Strand Decision requires the district to make a reasonable effort to preserve the jobs of tenured teachers, not probationary teachers.  

[Louise Sundin] "Licenses and experience mean something in teaching, as in other professions. Federal law and the state of Minnesota define "highly qualified teachers" as those who are fully licensed and teaching in their licensure area. As a result of the realignments, a higher percentage of Minneapolis students will be taught by "highly qualified" teachers this fall than in previous years, when many special education teachers were not fully licensed. That is good for kids and good for schools.

"The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law requires that children in special education must now be assessed against the same academic standards as all other children. The realigned teachers know those standards and know successful strategies to help all students meet them. They have been attending staff development this fall and will continue their professional learning throughout the year." - Louise Sundin, i.b.i.d.

[Comment by Doug Mann] Did the district hire about 100 special Ed teachers within the past 3 years who were not "fully licensed" to teach special Ed classes? Are special Ed teachers with 1 to 3 years of experience as special Ed teachers less fully qualified to teach the special Ed classes they have been teaching than a teacher with a special Ed license acquired 20 years ago but who never taught a Special Ed class?  

-Doug Mann, King Field
Mann for School Board