It’s not only parents who feel that teacher employment statutes in Minnesota need to change. Educators in the state also believe effectiveness should be a critical part of employment decisions in Minnesota public schools. And a 2013 MinnCAN poll of the state’s non-charter public school teachers showed that more than 80 percent agreed that effectiveness should play a role in receiving tenure, and more than 70 percent agreed that lack of effectiveness should be grounds for losing it.
We believe the challenged statutes are promoting ineffective teachers, punishing good teachers, discouraging new and aspiring teachers, and most importantly, robbing Minnesota’s children of the education they deserve. With layoffs based solely on seniority rather than success in the classroom, good teachers are losing their jobs. Those in the first three years of their career are extremely prone to layoffs – just because of when they were hired – even if they’re outstanding and making a huge difference in the lives of Minnesota kids. And in an era of teacher shortages and a lack of diversity, there’s little to attract the next generation of Minnesota’s teachers with so much job insecurity at the start of their careers.
The common-sense reforms we’re advocating are about rewarding teachers with the greatest success in the classroom – whether that’s a tenured math teacher with 10 years of experience or a new science teacher with two. Such reforms would ensure the most effective teachers remain in the classroom to provide the best possible outcomes for students. A system that rewards effectiveness would attract, retain, and empower teachers motivated to ensure their students are learning and have every opportunity for success.