We work at the Community School of Excellence because we believe in its mission to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, compassionate students who embrace Hmong culture. We also want our schools to serve as a shining example of what our community can achieve. However, we know that lately our school has fallen short of its potential.
Many of us have felt the sting of arbitrary discipline, watched good educators leave for bad reasons and seen firsthand as precious resources go to waste. We have felt the pain of our community as it reads report after report in the news media, not about the good CSE could do, but about police investigations, whistleblower lawsuits and mismanagement.
This is why the CSE educators of Opportunities in Education team contacted Education Minnesota about organizing the Community School of Excellence. We don’t want to tear down CSE, despite what some people claim, and we’re too committed to the school to leave.
Instead, we want CSE to be everything it can be for all students, including many of our own children. We want a school that provides a better education and will be a point of pride for our community.
We believe that working together under a clear, enforceable labor contract is the best way forward. A contract will allow us to attract and retain high-quality educators. It will give us a voice in decision-making by creating a formal process for presenting our views. It will provide a workplace without fear.
We understand that some people in our community will not understand why we want to organize. Some people will question our motives and launch the same sort of unfair personal attacks on Education Minnesota that we have seen up close. Please don’t be too quick to judge. If you have questions, just ask. We’ve been your friends and neighbors for years, and we still are today.
The teachers, education assistants, office staff, food service workers, custodians and other employees of CSE will vote to unionize June 11.
Personally, we will all vote “yes” because it’s best for CSE success.
4th Grade Teacher
Middle School Hmong Teacher