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.
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.