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Doug Mann LPN, LNC

Mission: Impossible (City Pages MPS story)

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Mission: Impossible?
The new MPS board sets out to fix the image its schools without fixing them

Mission: Impossible (cover story about new MPS board)
Beth Hawkins noted that there were 5 schools with turnover rates for core teaching staff of more than 200% in a 3 year period [ending in 2004], with one school boasting a turnover rate of over 400%. In the year 2004 about one-fourth of the tenure track teachers were on probation (first three years of employment). Guess where newer teachers were heavily concentrated?

Building a strong educational program without a stable teaching staff is indeed a mission impossible. In the 2004, and 2006 campaigns I called on the district leadership to set limits on the concentration of low-seniority teachers in all schools and to end the practice of sending layoff notices to teachers who don't need to be laid off. The district saves a lot of money in teachers salaries by driving up teacher turnover rates, although a great deal of the money thus saved undoubtedly goes to deal with the problems caused by ineffective teaching.

In my opinion, the racial learning gap in the Minneapolis Public Schools is a reflection of the quality of education to which students have access. There are, on average, huge differences in measurable inputs, such as teacher turnover rates, between schools where students of color are over-represented and other schools. That's "intentional, institutional, racial discrimination" according to Minnesota's desegregation rule, which allows the district to have racially segregated schools, as long as "racially identifiable" schools have educational inputs comparable to its other schools.

Re: Minneapolis public schools, board candidates, & the 2006 election