Signs of the times: ‘Obscene’ teachers’ signs upset lawmakers

Carla Nelson

Some members of the Minnesota Legislature and political allies had their feelings hurt by strident signs from teachers imploring them to get it together in the final days of a do-little legislative session.

Teachers from Rochester demonstrated at the Capitol on Saturday for more K-12 funding, using FU — for “fund us” — on one of the signs. Another said, “WTF” — for “where’s the funding.”

“I’m very disappointed to see that type of disrespect and innuendo and vulgarity,” Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, the chair of the Senate’s E-12 Finance and Policy division, told the Rochester Post Bulletin. “It’s clearly unfortunate, and I’m sure that teachers, some may wish they hadn’t done that.”

“I look at it as our teachers are dedicated. They’re trying to get the best possible funding for education for our kids,” Rochester teachers union president Don Kuhlman told the paper. “We’ve seen it across the nation. You can see the frustration building in educators. And I think that frustration came out.”

A spokesperson for the Rochester Public Schools said, “We are disappointed with the signage we saw circulating on social media and we do not believe this is representative of our teaching community. We respect the process that the Minnesota Legislature uses and are appreciative of the budget that was brought forth last night,” according to Med City Beat.

But maybe the signs worked. At the time of the demonstration, Senate Republicans were proposing a 0.5 percent increase in per pupil funding. In a deal worked out Sunday, the lawmakers and governor agreed on a 2 percent increase.