Unions Fighting Reform

No surprise here!  This is from the geniuses at Education Minnesota!  In the blue is what Education Minnesota says, in the black is our response.

Tell your legislators to vote NO on education omnibus bill

The Education omnibus finance bill that passed out of conference committee last night is filled with harmful provisions.  The bill continues the attack on educators, weakens collective bargaining, and does nothing to help close the achievement gap.

The bill would do the following;

Take away your right to strike.

This bill does not take away the right to strike, it limits the timing to only when school isn’t in session.

Eliminate the Jan. 15 contract settlement deadline.

If we are going to have fair negotiations, then there can’t be an artificial deadline that fines the school districts and lets the unions off free.  How is that fair?

Institute a Florida accountability system that would rate your schools A-F based entirely on student test results.

We don’t know all of the details about Florida so we are going to pass on this one.  Of course, we know Education Minnesota wants no accountability at all.

End the 2 percent set-aside for teachers’ professional development.

Yes!  This gives districts local control and removes a cumbersome mandate.  Let the districts set aside what they need.

Limit your pay increases severely and allow school boards to impose caps on negotiated school employee salary increases (the so-called “qualified economic offer” provision).

The “Qualified Economic Offer” is defined as follows from House file 934;

Part 1

It prohibits teachers from striking for any issue relating to total compensation or submit any issue relating to total compensation to interest arbitration if the school board offers teachers a biennial contract that includes a percentage increase at least equal to the district’s biennial percent increase in basic revenue. Continues to allow teachers to strike or submit to interest arbitration for non-economic issues.

Part 2

Defines “total compensation” to be the sum of:
(i)                  total salary schedule costs;
(ii)                total salary costs of an alternative teacher professional pay system;
(iii)               total health insurance costs paid by the district;
(iv)              total life insurance costs paid by the district;
(v)                total long-term disability costs;
(vi)              total dental insurance costs;
(vii)             total extracurricular costs;
(viii)           total costs of lane changes;
(ix)              total Teachers Retirement Association costs;
(x)                total Social Security and Medicare contribution costs; and
(xi)              other miscellaneous costs identified by the district as payment for teachers’ services or benefits.
So in other words, we can’t spend more than we have!

Erase all integration aid.

The money is being moved from integration aid for several large districts in favor of financial incentives for any district that can improve student literacy.  So instead of just “throwing money at it” we are actually going to reward districts who IMPROVE.  As Senate Education chair Gen Olsen said;

“Years of integration aid have done little to close Minnesota’s racial achievement gap, which studies have shown are among the worst in the nation.  If we can be successful in increasing reading proficiency by third grade, we will have less students having to take the special education label.”

We aren’t sure if this is the best solution, but clearly what we are doing isn’t working.

Establish private school vouchers.

No, the bill does not establish a voucher system.  Article 2 Section 33 of HF 934 states the following;

A student who attends a persistently low-performing school located in a city of the first class for at least one school year and whose family income is equal to or less than 175 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible to enroll in a nonpublic school under this section or in a nonresident district school or program under section 124D.03.

In other words, a student has to be poor and then go to a bad school first.  Then they are “eligible” to enroll in a non-public school.  That’s hardly vouchers.

End tenure for teachers, and replace it with five-year contracts based on your “effectiveness.”

Tenure should either be earned or ended.  Nobody should get endless job security because they have been on the job for 3-5 years!

Establish a state-mandated teacher evaluation system tied at least 50 percent to student test results.

So what is the other 50% base on?  Are test results (what kids are actually learning) irrelevant?  What percentage should be tied to test scores?

Determine the order of teacher layoffs by test-based “effectiveness” ratings.

So Education Minnesota objects to having the lowest performing teachers laid off in the case of job cuts.  And remember it’s all about the children.

These Provisions do nothing to improve our schools or support our students.  Please contact your legislators today and urge them to vote NO on the omnibus education bill.

So more school choice, more accountability, fewer mandates, and offering incentives to improve literacy won’t help improve our schools or support our students?

What should we do Education Minnesota?  Oh, that’s right “more money/lower class size.”  You know, all those new ideas!

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One Response to “Unions Fighting Reform”

  1. numbersguy Says:

    Good posting on the actual parts of the bill and the “Status Quo’s” complains & how that lines up with “It is all for the kids”. All parents should be able to tell the REAL purpose of Education MN?!! Keep up the good work on education.

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