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Was the Minneapolis teachers strike worth it?

Without the full details publicly available for comparison, the jury is still out for some in regards to the worth of the the Minneapolis teachers strike.

MINNEAPOLIS — What we know at this point: A tentative agreement has been reached.

Minneapolis Public Schools interpreted that as, "The strike has ended," as evidenced in the automated text MPS parents received on Friday.

On the other hand, union officials are communicating, the strike will end if the tentative agreements are ratified. 

"Because there are kids involved and there's so much emotion involved,
I think it's understandable that the district, which has been under a lot of pressure, is going to be eager to say it's resolved," Mitchell Hamline School of Law labor and employment law professor David Larson said. "'We're getting your kid back to school, we've achieved something.'"

He added, "The teachers who have felt that they had a long ladder to climb — they had a lot of things they wanted to accomplish — they want to make sure they've locked those things down."

Larson said at this point it does seem that the district seems overly optimistic, with a return-to-work plan in progress and a ratification vote that has not happened yet.

But he says a return to school Monday doesn't seem impossible.

"In this age of technology, would it be impossible to do a ratification vote when you sign a tentative agreement on a Friday? No, it isn't impossible," he said. "Not with the way and speed at which the world works today. But still that is moving pretty quickly. It isn't impossible, it's pretty ambitious. I think teachers do want to get back to work. If it's presented to them that, 'We would like you to be able to sign this by Sunday. If you sign it by Sunday, all our conditions are in place to return to work,' — it's possible."

And given that so many days of school have already been missed, Larson said it's probably unlikely that things will go back to square one at this point.

So the question remains: Was the strike worth it?

MFT Union President Greta Callahan says "yes."

"We know we have historic wins and that our students have more mental health supports; that we have huge wins for our ESPs. We know that we would not have been here without doing what we had to do," Callahan said Friday afternoon in a press conference. "And that's also a reality that is unfortunate — that we had to do this."

Larson said, without the full details publicly available for comparison, the final judgment of the strike's worth is still out there.

"We haven't seen the terms. We know where they started, we don't know where it's ending up, and it's also going to depend on that," he said. "But I also think even if the union could not accomplish all that it wanted to, the fact that the teachers have been out of school for 14 days, that's a pretty strong incentive to get an agreement signed."

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