Alright – so, if you read my blog or know me, then you understand why I am not a big fan of any union most of all teacher’s union. Why? unions are good, right. Yes, if they are reasonable and protect the worker from big badass corporations. In the education system, this is not the case. Education Minnesota represents thousands of teachers who suspend and fail our kids with no accountability. Teachers are the people who refer the student to be suspended not the principal. The principal pushes the kid off the ledge, but the teacher is the person who puts the child on the suspension ledge. You dig?
At any rate, Rep. Richardson has a bill that essentially would keep kids up to 3rd grade in the classroom, and wait for it…..drum roll pls……..teacher’s union (aka Education Minnesota) has finally supported it. No, not behind the scenes but with action. They actually sent someone to testify in support of this bill. Wow, I must be drunk or hell has frozen. Ok – kidding I do not drink, not yet. Kidding again. And, the bonus…more drum roll pls…….Commissioner of Minnesota Department of Education and their government relations person also testified in support of keeping kids in school. This better not be an election year hoax from the democrats.
To those that may not yet understand the state legislative process. This language is now included in the big education omnibus bill which has the kitchen sink from the democrats in the house and the republicans in the senate. Then there will be what is called conference committee members. They will meet publicly and sometimes off the record to negotiate what ends up in the final bill that passes the conference committee. Finally, the governor signs it and that is how ladies and gentlemen laws are created.
Below is my testimony.
Minnesota House of Representatives
Education Finance Committee
March 31, 2022
Re: HF 3401 – Keeping children in the classroom to learn
Dear Mr. Chair and Members,
Many thanks again for the opportunity to testify for keeping young students and all students for that matter in the classroom. First, I want to thank the author of this bill – Rep. Richardson for her tireless leadership in education and equity.
I understand the principals do not support this bill, but I want to emphasize the principal is not the person who is in the classroom and refers the child to be suspended, it is the teacher. So, if the teachers support this language and want to keep kids in the classroom to learn then please do it. The teachers are the ones who are choosing to refer our kids to the principal’s office. The principal mostly agrees with the teacher and does the actual suspension.
I say this because often in politics we concentrate on what divides us, but in this case, the principals and the teachers are one in the same.
Mr. Chair, I humbly ask you to carry the suspension language this legislative session to the finish line. Please do not allow it to fall off during the conference committee negotiations.
To legislators who say, there are laws against racial discrimination. Yes, you are right – it is illegal to discriminate against any student because of their color or disability. So, then what is the problem? Why do we have un-even numbers when the behaviors are the same but the color and/or disability status of the student is different?
Mr. Chair and Member, you see, discrimination does not happen blatantly like George Wallace’s days of segregation today, tomorrow, and forever. It happens in subtle manners that are extremely hard to prove in courts even when factual numbers are clear. Let me give you an example:
A white female teacher can have two students of the same age, same height, same weight, same grade, even same disability; the only thing different is one is black, and one is white. When they display the same behaviors – the white teacher sees the black child’s behavior more severely than the white one. Why? Because from her lenses, from her experience, from her background, from her world – she is able to relate to the white kid. This is not right or wrong. It is actually human. We all can relate to those that we have experience with better and more comfortable.
My airport story with my kid with two different people in a similarly situated situation is the perfect example of how we as humans relate to those that we have something in common with. (I will tell this story if I am allowed as it may take another minute or so).
In summary, I commend what Rep. Richardson is trying to do which is leveling the playing education field so that every child has the same opportunity to learn and there is no room for unconscious biases. I applaud her for that and hope that you are able to agree and support this legislation.
Thanks as always!
Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate
The above words do not reflect any committee, agency, or candidate.
Idil – Autism Mom