Teachers union launches charter school authorizer in Minnesota

Minnesota Guild

Many teachers express frustration about how often they are told what, how, and when to teach -- basically, asked to follow a script.

Many believe the job of teaching has suffered since the 1990s, as the standards and accountability movement has driven decision making upwards and away from teachers, to the district, state, and federal level.

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers has taken a bold action to help restore professional autonomy to teachers, in exchange for being held accountable for results. This month the MFT, supported by a grant from the American Federation of Teachers, became the first teachers union in the country to open a charter school authorizer.

"Conventional wisdom suggests that the interests of teachers unions and charter schools are at odds. I believe that’s wrong."

- Lynn Nordgren, President
Minneapolis Federation of Teachers

The MFT believes that charter authorizing is an important means to more innovative, high quality schools, and to schools where teachers are valued and involved in major decision making roles. The Teacher Professional Partnership is one promising organizational arrangement that will likely be adopted by many of these schools.

Education Evolving applauds this exciting development, and recognizes Lynn Nordgren, MFT president, and Louise Sundin, former AFT vice president and board chair of the new authorizer for their essential forward-thinking leadership.

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