In my view, the school quality gap between schools
schools on the North Side and the rest of the
district is largely a byproduct of a revolving
door for new teachers that produces high and
super-high teacher turnover rates on the north
side. I am not bamboozled by the elaborate Strategic
Plan that fails to even address this issue.
It is high time that the district stops running
a lot of its schools like teacher-training camps.
We must allow competent teachers to get through their
three year, post-hire, probationary period. We must
stop firing these teachers every year. If we plan to
cut a certain number of positions, lay off only as
many as necessary. No more revolving door for new
Getting low teacher turnover rates in all schools is
an essential step in closing the school quality gap.
The school quality gap has been getting wider for
for decades, and not just in Minneapolis.
The revolving door for new teachers isn't just a
Minneapolis mechanism for perpetuating the school
quality gap. It can't happen in just one big city, or
even in several big cities. Teachers come here from
other parts of the US and think nothing of it because
it is happening everywhere. This a nationally
The Minneapolis School District isn't using the
title 1 and compensatory money it gets to close
the school quality gap. Nor do any of the other
big city school districts. However, they are training
teachers for predominantly white suburbs. Nationwide
about two thirds of new public school teachers work
in schools where African-American and Puerto Rican
students are over-represented. About 40% of new teachers
get out of the teaching profession in 3 years, 50%
in 5 years.
It's been more than 50 years now since the Supreme
Court of the US ordered an end to racial discrimination
in the public school system. I appeal to the people
of Minneapolis to take the first big step in this
century toward making that happen.
Education is a right, not a privilege!
On November 4, 2008
Vote Doug Mann for School Board