State Senate strikes down teacher tenure

  • Article by: JENNIFER BROOKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 28, 2012 - 9:53 AM

Opponents said the legislation undercuts fairness. The bill now must be reconciled with a House version.

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JvonkorffFeb. 27, 12 9:52 PM

Layoffs in public education arise for two primary reasons. One reason is declining enrollment such that the number of retirements is less than the number of position reductions needed to account for enrollment reductions. But the primary cause of layoffs is that the school board agrees to compensation increases greater than the funding increases provided by the legislature. This practice, of paying for compensation increases with staff cuts is systemic in Minnesota. Superintendents, administrators, teachers, and school boards all accept it as part of the financial lunacy that is Minnesota's public education system. School board's that refuse to fund compensation increases with cuts are regarded as Quixotic. Every year, the central question in every school district is "how many teachers will we lay off this year, to fund our labor settlement." If we want to fix the layoff system in Minnesota, we need to stop accepting a system that funds pay increases out of layoffs. This entire debate is a symptom of our financial lunacy. Perhaps the legislature could fund public education sufficiently, and at the same to prohibit the use of staff layoffs to fund compensation increases.

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badgerfan2Feb. 27, 1210:40 PM

It sure seems as though lawmakers don't need to play any role in this at all. If it ain't broke don't fix it. But such are the ways of republicans, this is their one big chance to create jobs by first destroying them, then destroying unions, and going after reproductive rights of women with senseless overreach on contraceptives and abortion. All of it should be vetoed.

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gonjgovFeb. 27, 1210:51 PM

Amazing the good stuff that gets passed when the GOP is in the drivers seat!

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bandit135Feb. 27, 1210:59 PM

what a bad idea. Seems like the gop wants the 99 to go backwards all the time as long as the 1 get more and more money. where are the jobs the were going to be created by not raising taxes last may?? almost been a year and no jobs.

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greatg90Feb. 27, 1211:04 PM

It is difficult to understand how Senate sponsor Pam Wolf, can sponsor this legislation, being a middle school teacher herself. I really question her motivation behind this legislation. I believe that it is based on her own bias towards the teachers union and her own poor record as a teacher - she has not been able to hold a job at several schools for any length of time. I also wonder about her holding a political position while teaching. How can she be in the legislature from January to May? (half of the school year) In what way is that good for her students at the Hennepin county school where she teaches? She seems to be holding a grudge under the auspices of this legislation. After reconciliation with the house, I hope Gov. Dayton has his veto pen ready. And perhaps the GOP legislators can finally get to work on the "Job Creation" that they ran on in Nov. of 2010.

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mdachsFeb. 27, 1211:12 PM

This is great news! Teachers are professionals, not assembly line workers. They have college degrees and sometimes masters degrees. There is no reason that they should not be evaluated the same way that professionals and managers are evaluated in private industry. Are evaluations always fair? No, that's impossible. But if I were a teacher, I would far prefer to be evaluated, paid, and yes, retained or fired, based on an imperfect evaluation system than a seniority system. We owe it to our kids to provide them with the best possible teacher quality - not to provide them with teachers who can work forever, delivering inferior teaching, because they have more years of service than better teachers. Dayton better sign this bill, if, as he says, he is really committed to improving the quality of education. If he doesn't, then he is more committed to the teachers' unions than to the education that our kids deserve.

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outoftheboxFeb. 27, 1211:25 PM

Do you realize that school districts are not for profit organizations? There is no incentive for a school board to keep higher wage earners reguardless of how effective they are. Without seniority, when budgets are cut, the highest paid will be the first out. School boards answer to tax payers, and todays anti-tax climate pushes them to cut costs no matter what. This legislation is being pushed not by those whom care about education, but rather by those who want lower taxes reguardless of the effects on society.

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damag001Feb. 27, 1211:28 PM

"This is very premature," said Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, who said she doubts anyone can create a system that fairly evaluates math teachers, band teachers, urban educators with classrooms of 40 and rural teachers with only a handful of students." -----Amen! As a teacher, this is spot on. I teach urban, special education, middle school students with profound learning disabilities and behavioral issues. I've been at this 15 years and the gains my students make are extremely modest. I go in and try to razzle dazzle my way through the day and I like my job, but there is no way someone could devise a simple evaluation to assess the quality of my program. Especially, if is taking test scores into account. It is just a fact that in some situations, success can be qualified….but not always quantified.

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useyrbrainFeb. 27, 1211:36 PM

Another wasted bill accomplishing nothing. Tenure gives teachers due process, nothing more. The sooner that people face the facts that poor teachers are not the problem, the quicker there will be a solution. If you fired every bad teacher in the state, nothing would change. It's like firing doctors because there is still disease or like blaming the health club for your weight when you never go. Kids and parents need to accept responsibility for learning and quite blaming others.

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ammunraFeb. 27, 1211:47 PM

There'd be a lot less budget problems in schools if the Legislature would stop robbing them to cover their own incompetence at creating a reasonable budget.

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