Legislature adjourns with important work for educators left undone 

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota, May 18, 2020 -- The Minnesota Legislature adjourned its regular session Monday without voting on state contracts as they were originally collectively bargained for Minnesota State college faculty and other state employees, or adopting language to improve the economic security of certain essential educators, said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. 

Specht said the behavior of the majority party in the Minnesota Senate showed they care less for working people than for corporations and billionaires. 

“Now is the time for Minnesotans to unite across our differences and make policy choices that benefit everyday people, not just the largest corporations and billionaire owners of a shopping mall. Unfortunately, during this legislative session, Sen. Paul Gazelka and the Senate majority stood in the way while allies of working people tried to pass bills that would protect educators and other Minnesotans who are caring for us during this pandemic. Educators and people who care about Minnesota’s students should let their senators know we expect better when the Legislature meets again.” 

Specht said she hopes the next education debate at the Legislature will be around how the state can help educators make up for the lost learning this spring, which has been called the “COVID slide.” 

“Every child, regardless of where they come from, what they look like or where they live, deserves the freedom to pursue their dreams, but we expect the majority party in the state Senate to frustrate those dreams by using the pandemic as a reason to keep pushing a tired, debunked austerity agenda. Instead of asking the largest corporations and wealthiest Minnesotans to pay their fair share, some senators see budget deficits as an excuse to slash funding for the schools our children need. It’s time to stand up for all our kids -- white, black and brown. By joining together, we can tell our leaders to invest the resources educators need to help every student catch up after so many months away from the classroom and stay on track for the next stage of their education.” 

About Education Minnesota 
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.