When the legislature convened in March SEIU Local 284 and our partners had a long list of investments that we wanted made to improve the quality of education in Minnesota from Cradle-to-Career. Because of our work together, the state legislative session that just adjourned passed investments in each of these areas:
- Pre-Kindergarten ($25 million)
- School support staff ($12 million)
- Teachers of color and a pathway for school employees to become licensed teachers ($11 million)
- Full-service community schools ($1 million)
- College access and affordability ($2.5 million)
- Student loan debt relief ($36 million)
Local 284 member activism continued to be focused on passing funding for our Cradle-to-Career initiatives since the MN SEIU Lobby Day a little over a month ago on April 12. A member petition was circulated in 23 school districts and several hundred members also signed the petition on our website, and in response to our e-mail leg alerts.
We had several phonebanks where we called members and patched them through to their state legislators’ offices to demand education funding. On one night alone we called over 400 members, talked with 67 of them and patched 28 through to their state representative.
Local 284 Executive Director Carol Nieters also worked closely with legislative leadership including Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk to make sure that our priorities stayed at the top of their priority list.
If you met with your legislators before the session, came to lobby day, testified in front of a committee, signed a petition, or made a call thank you!
Of course, the work is not done. Every day there’s another story of a school that is struggling to provide sufficient support to students who are struggling to succeed. We need to continue to work to reshape our education system into one that embraces our growing diversity and closes opportunity gaps but right now know that your work this year made this victory possible.