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Doug Mann LPN, LNC

Re: we cannot wait to fix the schools until...

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Re: We cannot wait to fix the schools until...

 DM wrote:
"...We cannot wait any longer for action to change a situation where white students are greatly over-represented, and students of color greatly under-represented, in regular education programs with low teacher turnover rates and the lion's share of the district's more experienced teachers."

TI wrotes:
What are some ways in which this problem can be addressed?

DM writes:
What I advocate is a quality education accessible to all students
on an equal basis by making all of the district-run schools good
schools. Toward that end we need to take steps to equalize
educational inputs, especially in the area of teacher
expertise, reduce teacher turnover rates, and stabilize
the staffing situation at all schools. In addition, we
should phase out curriculum tracks for "low-ability" learners
and integrate the general student population into
"gifted and talented" programs.

Below are three key reforms


A revolving door for low seniority teachers saves the district
10s of millions of dollars per year in teacher payroll expenses.
That's why the district administration, with board approval, has
been sending layoff notices to many teachers between April 1
and June 30 it obviously plans to recall or replace before students
return for classes in the fall. Unless they give notice by April 1 or get a
layoff notice, teachers may not take a teaching job with another
district. And teachers are very strongly motivated to look for
another job unless they are certain their employment with the
district will continue.


I advocate setting aside "teacher in training" positions for
newly-hired, inexperienced teachers in all schools, which
they would hold until they complete their 5th year of
employment with the district. Then they would have to bid
for regular positions that become available. Teachers
with more than 5 years of current experience at time of
hire would be assigned directly to a "regular" position.


In addition, we should begin to phase out curriculum tracks
for 'low-ability learners," and integrate the general student
population into college-bound classes. Curriculum tracking
is done on at least a part-time basis in K-3 classrooms
for reading instruction. Differences in average achievement
levels between high and low ability classes generally
increases, even though "closing the gap" is an educational
justification for this practice. In my opinion, teachers could
better accommodate individual differences in learning abilities
by utilizing approaches for the general student population that
are recommended for "gifted and talented students," such as
basing instruction on a college bound curriculum, curriculum
enrichment, and individualized assessments, planning, and
evaluation. It ordinarily takes a teacher several years to learn
to do that kind of teaching very well.

Minneapolis Public Schools hit the fan