Supporting the City-wide school board election write-in campaign by Eli Kaplan.

Next week's city-wide school board election will require a bit more from Minneapolis voters. To elect the best city-wide candidate for school board, voters will have to write in his name: ELI KAPLAN.

Eli enters the city-wide school board race engaged and informed. Eli's 40+ year involvement in MPS spans not only his time as a parent of three Minneapolis school students but years after his youngest (now in her 40's) graduated from South Open. His volunteer work includes membership on the original Lake Harriet School Site Council, West Area Parent Advisory Council, Quality Schools Committee, Standards Committee, Citizen Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) and as a volunteer at Henry High.

Eli says, “I’m 80 years old. I have no business running for school board. But I have the knowledge, the commitment, the time, and the passion for public education. My own children are long gone from the schools, so my devotion is to the entire city.”

Eli brings a breadth of education finance experience as a school board candidate. His three decades on CBAC, nine years of which he was chair, gave him a deep understanding of not only how we finance schools but how we must continuously work to allocate resources to get the best outcomes for students. As a school board member, Eli would ensure that decision-making was based upon sound fiscal policy and would advocate for long term planning to allow for much needed stability in MPS.

Eli Kaplan believes student success requires that the District provide teachers with 'tools, not rules" in order to support effective instruction while fostering creativity and flexibility in the classroom. Teachers must integrate arts and technology in to their classroom in order to engage our 21st century students so they relate to how and what they are learning.

Finally, Eli knows student success depends upon better communication filtering from the board and administration down to every citizen so ALL schools get the much needed parent and community support. He remembers the Minneapolis Public Schools' days of glory, when they were touted as one of the best city systems in the country. As a school board member, Eli Kaplan will work to restore MPS's status as a model district.

Educate yourself on the best candidate for city-wide school board. Learn more about Eli Kaplan by going to discussions on the MPS Parent's Forum and the Minneapolis e-democracy list, and reading Eli's submissions to the Voter’s Guide in the Southwest Journal and the Patch.

You can find him on Facebook: Eli Kaplan for Minneapolis Citywide School Board, or Google his web site: Eli Kaplan for School Board. You can always contact him directly at elikaplan.write.in@gmail.com

I am supporting ELI KAPLAN on November 6th by writing his name on the ballot under city-wide school board and checking the box. Join me. Write in the right person for our students: ELI KAPLAN.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lynnell Mickelsen November 01, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I recently finished 17 consecutive years as a Minneapolis Public School parent----all three of our sons attended MPS schools from K-12. I'm a long-time progressive DFLer and supporter of public schools. And I'm a huge supporter of Carla Bates, who has been a brilliant, hard-working and fearless advocate for Minneapolis students. I actually thought Carla's statement at the League of Women Voters Forum about tenure was extremely courageous. She said teachers should be given the same due process under state law that lawyers, accountants and all other professionals get because our tenure rules are not serving students and the public well. Instead of simply protecting academic freedom, tenure has changed into protecting teachers regardless of their classroom performance. If you look at surveys, Bates's views are very much in line with public opinion as well as studies that are pushing for best-practices and renewal in our schools. Bates is hardly alone in her views—she’s just one of few progressive DFLers brave enough to say them out loud
Lynnell Mickelsen November 01, 2012 at 04:25 PM
In contrast, Director Gagnon writes that "the district and teachers have an agreed upon way to excess ineffective teachers in the teachers contract.” But what Gagnon doesn’t say is that according to a recent study of the district, under our current contract rules, only ONE percent of tenured MPS teachers are flagged for classroom performance issues. Out of this one percent, only .38 retire, resign or are dismissed. The rest return to the classroom. That means under our current contract rules, 99.6 percent of our tenured teachers are considered effective. Gagnon may find this plausible. I do not because frankly, it’s not plausible for ANY profession. MPS Father wonders what “rest of the story is as to Ms. Gagnon's assessment of Ms. Bates' tenure on the Board. “ Who knows? But Carla Bates did not seek nor was she endorsed by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. (Bates easily won DFL endorsement anyways.) In contrast, shortly after being elected two years ago, Rebecca Gagnon and three other new board members infamously signed letters on MFT stationery promising to collaborate and cooperate with the MFT in future labor negotiations. As I said at the time, I don’t recall new board members ever being so crystal clear---right down to the letterhead—about exactly whom they believe they represent.
Lynnell Mickelsen November 01, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Just to be clear: The MFT contract costs $250 million a year, directly controls who teaches our kids in the classroom and is the biggest item in the $700 million annual budget. It’s the tail that wags the whole district dog. It’s the real deal. Here’s the problem with board members signing support letters on MFT stationery: The school board is supposed to represent the public interests in these negotiations while the MFT is supposed to represent the teachers’ interest. Many times, the public and teachers interests are completely aligned. But sometimes they are not and when they are not, call me idealistic, but I’d like publicly elected officials to actually represent the public interests. In response to the outcry over signing letters on MFT stationery, Gagnon and the others apologized. But eighteen months later, this same board went on to direct extremely weak negotiations with the MFT in which the district asked for almost nothing and got even less, in terms of staffing reforms that would help close the achievement gap. In contrast, school districts in New Haven, Seattle and Philadelphia and all over the country are negotiating far better and more innovative contracts. The MFT contract fell so short of the district’s overall goals and strategic plan, that board members Bates and Hussein Samatar voted against it, which is pretty unprecedented. Gagnon voted enthusiastically for it. Bates is one of the bravest and most principled people I know.
Lynnell Mickelsen November 01, 2012 at 04:38 PM
One last thing---two other progressive DFLers are running for the school board this election, neither of whom have been endorsed by the MFT. Tracine Asberry is running unopposed in District 6. Tracine is a former classroom teacher with a doctorate in education. I think she'll be a terrific advocate on the board. Another former classroom teacher, Josh Reimnitz is running in District 4. I think he's great. Why does this matter? Because for years, the MFT has controlled the publicly board that negotiates its $250 million dollar annual control. Let me be clear: I'm a progressive DFLer who supports collective bargaining. I think teachers NEED a union, especially 21st centurty union which is open to change and innovation. But having the union control the school board which negotiates and signs their contract is not good governance and doesn't serve the public good.
Rebecca Gagnon November 02, 2012 at 03:20 PM
My support of Eli is because I believe in his experience and the value he would bring to the board. I in no way have questioned Director Bates' character nor will I. That is certainly not part of this endorsement.


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