Minneapolis schools must improve teacher quality

  • Article by: Gary Marvin Davison
  • Updated: August 22, 2013 - 1:42 PM

Minneapolis superintendent needs your support in contract talks to enact the reforms that schools need.

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pumiceAug. 21, 13 7:17 PM

More on TfA: "You wouldn’t know it from the heat of the debate but Teach for America has largely abandoned plans to expand into urban districts in any significant way. Instead, TFA increasingly serves as the designated labor force for urban charters. In Chicago, for example, where charter expansion is the real driver of public school closures and teacher layoffs, TFA has functioned as a placement agency for the fast-growing and politically connected UNO charter chain since 2010. In Philadelphia, where 23 schools were closed this spring and thousands of teachers and support staff laid off, TFA supplies hundreds of new teachers for charters in the city. Of the 257 corps members teaching in Philly in 2012, just 21 were in district schools.” (Nancy Flanagan)

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pumiceAug. 21, 13 7:20 PM

Here's one about effective management per Edwards Deming: "Another current trend in education is that of developing punitive teacher evaluation systems. While there is a need to evaluate teachers, the current trends seem to be ignoring Deming's seventh and eighth principles. Number seven being "the aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets do a better job" and number eight being "drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company." Instead of using a system to help teachers improve their craft, many new teacher evaluation systems tend to be pitting school administrators against the teachers and putting fear into teachers of losing their job." (Dale Rogers, teacher and technology integration specialist)

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farcicalAug. 21, 13 7:21 PM

Behind every tenured "bad" teacher is either a trail of ineffective administrators who did not take the time to notice deficiencies during the 3-year probationary period, or an administrator not willing to document and provide support for that classroom teacher. It is rather simple to remove an ineffective teacher from the classroom. Or, maybe there is some political scapegoating going on? It certainly would have nothing to do with trying to cut the budget by firing experienced *ahem* expensive teachers in order to hire more TFA McTeachers, would it? Stop this teacher-bashing (by attacking the union) and listen to those who deal with the kids every day.

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pumiceAug. 21, 13 7:45 PM

Here's one from Education Week on the consequences of sequestration. "According to a new survey … districts are dealing with automatic, across-the-board trigger cuts of federal education funding by slicing professional development (59% of districts), eliminating personnel (53%), increasing class size (48 percent), and deferring technology purchases (46%) … The professional development cuts come at a critical time for K-12 education, as states and districts across the country are implementing the common standards and preparing for new tests … The survey also predicts that more long-term damage from sequestration could result."

Minnesota specific consequences of sequestration: "Minnesota will lose approximately $7 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 100 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 8,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 40 fewer schools would receive funding. In addition, Minnesota will lose approximately $9.2 million in funds for about 110 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities."

In the face of deep cuts to Head Start, we should be grateful that the legislature funded all-day Kindergarten and early childhood education.

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mmp14yrAug. 21, 13 7:51 PM

Your depiction of the hiring process is wholly inaccurate. The Interview and Select procedures are fully outlined in publically available documents on the district's website. I would suggest that you research the facts prior to writing the article next time.

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badcopperAug. 21, 13 7:58 PM

Minneapolis needs to improve parent quality. Good teachers with lousy parents won't do a thing for kids education.

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comment229Aug. 21, 13 8:21 PM

The result of insisting that the best teachers be assigned to the worst schools will result in those teachers no longer working for the MPLS district. You won't find the solutions to the problems of MPLS schools in the teaching staff. You might want to be honest and figure out what the real problems are in the MPLS system, and then address those problems. Eventually you will get a dose of reality when you ask yourself if the schools failed these kids, or have these kids failed the schools. Don't believe me? Go sit in on a few classes.... then let's talk.

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JesusrulesAug. 21, 13 8:52 PM

Davison believes in some sort of superior teacher that will come to the rescue. The facts are that in Minneapolis Public Schools, dedicated teachers are using best practices and researched-based ways to deliver standards-based education. There is always room for growth and we are constantly learning. I truly believe there are no better teachers out there. Davison needs to look at the bigger picture.

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twspt7Aug. 21, 13 8:57 PM

Yes, please, let's hire "quality" teachers. I' m just curious, however; why does putting quality teachers in the classroom preclude teachers with seniority? And tell me, Mr Davison, how do you define "quality?" What are the metrics involved?

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dlreutterAug. 21, 13 9:02 PM

Dr. Johnson hired Mr. Exner as the new principal at Washburn. I question her ability to hire quality professionals so I will not be able to support her leadership in determining what schools need.

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