Q. What can I do in four years?

A. Write a book.

As I shoveled last night’s eight inches of snow from my front walk at noon my coat was open to the wind because I was a little warm. That meant the electric cord poking out from my shirt to the heart monitor in my breast pocket was exposed to the traffic driving by. I hope the drifts on the curb were sufficiently high so as not to alarm the drivers passing by.

I’m becoming resigned to more impoverishment and further cuts to school program. I will vote against the contracts even though they are not quite as hideous as I anticipated. We can implement them them over the next three years without cutting more teachers. At least that’s my guess. I have some ideas on how to stanch the bleeding but that will depend on the decisions of an entire School Board on which I constitute only one-seventh of the votes.

I have been itching to write a book for the past twenty years since my last total catastrophe. I’ve been thinking about writing one about teaching for three decades. In more recent years I’ve thought about wriring about the Duluth School Board and more recently the Red Plan. Now I’d like to write about Minnesota’s history of public education as its affected Duluth.

Last night I looked through the book by the author of Minnesota’s first in the nation Charter School Legislation. I’m going to return it soon to the fellow who sent it to me because I’ve just ordered it on Amazon. I can add to its chronology which ends in about 1993 because shortly after that I voted to bring a charter school to Duluth. I wrote a series of extensive emails on my experiences in Duluth to a Missouri educator who was attempting to get a charter law passed that state at the time.

That piqued my interest in another tome I’d gotten a year ago to write about one of the biggest political scandals in Minnesota history. For the Good of the Order a book about the first ever DFL Senate majority leader Nick Coleman has a ton of information on the Minnesota Miracle which is also part of Minnesota Ed history. I read a couple chapters of it and recalled a lot of familiar names from my college days when I was watching the state legislature pass the Miracle.

Today I looked up Minnesota Strike history and found that that also began in my college years with the first illegal strike in 1970 by Minneapolis teachers. In two years strikes were legalized for teachers state wide. With the Miracle and the Right to strike the state legislature not school boards became the chief bargaining agent for local school districts. Its a fascinating history and if I am ever to get Duluth straightened out I must make sure this whole city and our teachers understand the sticky web we all rest on.

Here’s a brief chronology of teacher unionization in US history. I recall a lot of it since 1965 when I sat in Mr. Just’s Eighth grade geography class reading the news he had us study each day.

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