Dave Tilsen writes: "I agree
with Mr. Mann that this is a
terrible situation that results in the district losing the
best probationary teachers
over the summer. I just
would like to point out that right now very smart people
have spent a lot of time trying to
solve this problem..."
"...Given the rather arcane bidding process, and the
ability of teachers to retire or not
retire at any time,
with the resulting fact that buildings are not sure what
teachers they will need to fill from
teachers in July..."
[Doug Mann] By late June the board should have an
estimate of the quantity
of teaching jobs in every
licensure area which need to be filled before the start
of the fall term. By late June the
board also has a draft
budget that includes estimates of student enrollment
and of revenues under various scenarios.
It is true that teachers have the ability to retire
or not retire at any time. However they ordinarily can't start
collecting their pension or take a teaching job with
another school district unless they give notice by
1 of the calendar year they retire.
And the possibility that some teachers will retire without
giving proper notice
is not a very good reason to send
lay off notices to low seniority teachers. Think about it.
How do you figure you
might need to lay off a low-seniority
due to the possibility that a high seniority teacher will
decide to retire without
giving proper notice?
I recognize that it is preferable for the district to err
on the side of sending lay off
notices to too many teachers,
rather than too few, in order to hedge its bets. If the district lays
off a teacher
without giving notice by June 30, the district
has to pay most of the teacher's salary during the upcoming
sending off lay off notices to 608 teachers
when you plan to recall about 450 of those teachers
goes way beyond what
is needed to hedge your bets.
That is what happened in 2004. And in 2005 lay
off notices went out to 575 teachers,
a large majority were recalled or replaced. There were
only about 1,700 positions budgeted for fiscal year
district saves tens of millions of dollars each year
with its revolving door for low seniority teachers. That is
pretty strong motive for jacking up teacher turnover rates
by sending off so many lay off notices. There is no law
requires the district to do that.
Dave Tilsen writes: "Doug's offhand comment that eliminating Teacher
seniority would solve the problem is a little naive..."
[Doug Mann] Dave Tilsen is putting words in my mouth.
have repeatedly advocated the preservation, not the elimination
of teacher tenure and seniority rights.
As I noted
in "Why we can't wait,"
Completely stripping teachers of their seniority and
tenure rights is the ultimate solution
to the inequitable
distribution of teaching talent recommended by the
Bush administration. That's also a method of
"corrective action" required in the "No Child Left Behind"
federal education bill of 2001. The Congressional
of the Democratic and Republican Parties
supported that bill.
The NCLB solution to dysfunctional public schools
in reality, to downsize the public schools, isolate and
weaken the teachers unions, to transform teachers unions
into company unions or get rid of them, and to eventually
end public education as we know it.
the options for a majority of low-income
and nonwhite students in urban public schools are
being narrowed to 'poor-performing'
and semi-public charter schools. The charter schools
do not have as much public financial support as
regular public schools and generally provide
instruction of lower quality than is provided by the
schools. Under NCLB, high performing
public schools are not an option for the majority of
low-income and nonwhite
students in dysfunctional
Whipping up support for NCLB-inspired changes in the MN
tenure law was an objective of the teacher
realignment of 2004. Most of the realigned teachers accepted
and the district reportedly backed off of plans
to realign teachers who challenged it, so its legality was never
in the courts.
And we should not forget Dave Jennings vision of eventually
replacing all of the district run schools
with charter schools.
During the administration of Thandiwe Peebles, the board tried to
rally public support for
NCLB-inspired changes in the MN Teacher
Tenure Act and teachers contract. The district's leadership
the teacher's contract, as written and enforced,
has contributed to a situation the district's least experienced
are heavily concentrated in schools that serve students from
I am for modifying the teacher
assignment system so that
inexperienced teachers are more evenly distributed throughout
the district's schools. However,
I am opposed to disturbing
teacher tenure and seniority rights more than is necessary
to set aside "teacher in training"
positions in schools
that do not have their fair share of inexperienced teachers.
Teacher Tenure Act
& the Strand Decision