Education Reform Bills Flow into St. Paul!

We are overjoyed at the passing of Alternative Teacher Licenses and happily surprised that pro-union Governor Mark Dayton agreed to the bill.  Score one for the kids/parents over the union/DFL cartel.  Of course there still is much to do and the focus seems to always be about funding.  But, we feel that several more big changes are a must this session and we finally have a legislature that is serious about doing just that.

Here are some bills to watch;

House File 464; This is a bipartisan bill to repeal the January 15 deadline and remove the fines.  Under current Minnesota law, school districts and teachers’ union must reach a two-year contract agreement by January 15 of every even year or the district is fined $25 per student per day (nearly $300,000 a day in Robbinsdale).  The unions are penalized at all (to our knowledge).  The pro-deadline people claim that without a deadline no agreements will be reached, but we think the real motive is to insure pro-union deals.  Then these same deals get passed off to all he other unions.  How can we have local control when our expenditures (80% of which are directly tied to the cost of people) are out of our control?

Naturally the teachers union hates this….

“What is the problem that we’re trying to fix?” asked Jan Alswager, a lobbyist for Education Minnesota. “Do you know that over 17 years, when we’ve had the January deadline in place, that over 99 percent of the contracts were settled without a strike?”

That isn’t the point!!!  These contracts need to be good and fair to the teachers, school districts, and the TAXPAYERS!!!  Yes, remember us….the ones who are forced to pay for you?  Or don’t you care about taxpayers?  Remember it’s all about the children, right Tom Dooher?  If it takes longer to get a fairer contract, that’s better than a bad contract by a certain date.

House File 945; This is a comprehensive bill sponsored by Republican Branden Petersen (49B) that would reform change the license procedures for teaching, establish standards for teacher evaluations, and….wait for it….REFORM TENURE LAWS!!!!!  Will this get Tom Dooher’s support?  Ha ha!!

Senator David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) has introduced several bills;

Senate File 623; This bill eliminates automatic dues payments.

Senate File 747; This proposal would modifies and clarifies the ability of districts to terminate teachers.

Hann said the following;

“The structure we’ve built up over the years in law, has I think made the negotiation field uneven,” said Hann, a member of the Senate Education Committee. “I served on a school board; I was on the negotiating committee. I’ve seen how that works. The threat of a strike and the ability in law to do some of the things that they’re currently able to do are basically an unfair advantage.”

Thank you Senator!!!

Here’s yet another one;

House File 339; This bill introduced by Tim Kelly (R-28A) would restrict the right of teachers and boards to negotiate to only the months when school is not in session.  The teachers would not be able to strike during the school year.  Kelly said the following;

“To me it was about simply the process of how we go about negotiating,” said Kelly, R-Red Wing. “The intent is to take away from the distraction and the disruption during the school year, which I have seen, personally — and get that to a time period and an end result quicker, and hopefully with better results.”

Not surprisingly, Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher doesn’t like this too much….he said the following;

“What you see here [are], again, distractions from what we need to be focusing on, which is equitable funding, closing the achievement gap, helping our students get the resources they need,” Dooher said.

Sorry Mr. Dooher but you and the politicians you bought aren’t in charge anymore.

Governor Mark Dayton would seem to be the only roadblock to these reforms but we never thought he’d agree to alternative teachers either so we have the audacity of hope!!!!

All quotes an info is from this article;

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/03/08/teacher-reform/

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