Meeting of teachers to build GOP-leaning coalitionby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A group of teachers will meet with state Republican party officials Wednesday evening to discuss forming a caucus of GOP-leaning union members.
The effort is being coordinated by Tom Schoper, a teacher in the Glencoe-Silver Lake school district in south-central Minnesota.
The state teachers' union Education Minnesota leans Democratic, especially in the candidates it endorses. Schoper said the union encourages its Republican members to be politically active, but he wants an organized effort to act as a gateway between the union and the GOP.
"When the Republicans think of education, we want them to come to us - the Republican teachers," Schoper said. "When the union talks about approaching Republicans on education issues, we want them to come to us."
Education Minnesota isn't formally tied to the effort but displays the meeting's information on its website. A spokesman says it aligns with the union's outreach efforts to Republican members.
"There are stereotypes out there about Republicans, and there are stereotypes out there about teachers," Schoper said. "Being a Republican teacher — none of those stereotypes are true, and we're just going to try to get people to see past those stereotypes."