Friday, January 11, 2008
State Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, and chairwoman of the House K-12 finance division, argued that such findings show that "the chickens have come home to roost" in terms of the state's inadequate funding of education.And the usual whining occurs that the scoring of these items is somehow unfair:
Advanced degrees, experience and national board certification seem to be overlooked in favor of state-mandated tools, which can be dicey, he said. "A lot of these things are best addressed at the local level," [Rob Panning-Miller, president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers] said.The scores are here though, and I encourage you to look at a comparison of MN to other states nearby. Wisconsin scores better than Minnesota in school finance, spending 4.1% of its taxable resources on education versus 3.5% in this state. But that is simply grading inputs as if it were outputs. If the schools of Minnesota wanted to score better, they could have looked at the actual scoring within the area of teacher quality. What do we lack, looking at their scoring?
- Unlike any of our neighbors (IA, ND, SD and WI), MN does not require any formal coursework in the area they will teach in. They are required to take a test in the subject matter, however. That means the person teaching economics in the ninth-grade class might not have had any more than a single course in it (a "baby principles" or "econ for poets" as we call it.)
- Teacher evaluation is not tied to student achievement. Why would this be? What evaluation we do is not annual, either.
- Mentoring for beginning teachers. Think of one of the main reasons we support teacher education in the state university system (we used to be St. Cloud Normal School before we were SCSU). Yet we do not mentor new teachers, which may need some to leave the system. That money is thereby wasted.
So do we give aid to teachers? We do, just not in the way that they want. The important story in this report is that we are not doing well in evaluation of what we're getting for the money we put in. We need more transparency, we need more attention to young teachers, and yes we need more evaluation. Perhaps when we have those things it would be easier for schools to raise money from levy referenda.
UPDATE: Leo has a grade for the writers at the STrib.