Tuesday, June 7, 2016

MN Teacher Supports Tenure Lawsuit

I greatly appreciate this article.  And the comments are so predictable.

MP Teacher Supports Tenure Lawsuit


John said...

"Life is unfair. If you're looking for something unfair to tackle, LIFO isn't terribly close to the goal. Perhaps you should be looking at how and why teachers get laid off in the first place rather than assuming that your 2 years experience as a teacher and superior attitude would have better served the students.

Personally, I believe that tenure should be challenged in the face of low quality before layoffs happen, while letting LIFO remain an efficient means for layoffs. I suspect that, even if the "low quality" teachers had been fired, layoffs would still happen because there are those who believe that spending money on public education should be avoided for all costs. In other words, even if the terrible tenured teachers had already been cleaned out, you would still have been laid off. As I said, life is unfair.

If you want to make it more fair, suggest solutions and propose them for legislation instead of fighting a foolish battle in the courts. Tell me, what exactly will fill the gap if you should win? How do you measure quality? Popularity votes? I sure hope not--kids aren't the best judges of good teachers. Test scores? What about teaching in challenging climates--where kids often have to deal with hunger and/or violence? If those kids fail to thrive, is it the teachers' faults that the kids are hungry and stressed? Certainly, identifying criteria for determining teacher quality would be a much more constructive approach than joining a lawsuit that would do...what?" Rachel
"How to Measure Performance

In the private sector this is pretty easy.

The manager works with the employee to create a performance plan based on the organization's goals and the key job characteristics. Maybe they meet a few times during the year to discuss how things are going, and tweak the goals if something significant has changed.

Then at the end of the year the manager collects performance information from many different sources. (quantifiable metrics, customer feedback, peer feedback, etc) The employee documents their version, the manager documents their version, the manager applies grades to sections, they meet and discuss the review document, and the employee is allowed to add comments. The document is passed on to HR and/or higher level managers for approval.

Then the highest performing people get promotions and/or bigger raises, the normal performers get various wage adjustments depending where they are compared to the target wage for the position and the poor performers get an improvement plan... If the poor performers do not fulfill their improvement plan requirements, their employment is terminated.

If the community is going to hire a Superintendent to ensure their children learn, I'll never understand the desire of some in the community to limit them from ensuring the best staff are in the correct positions and paid the correct amount. Most of our Private businesses would be bankrupt if they operated like that. In the Public schools it is usually the unlucky kids who typically pay the price." G2A

John said...

"Life is Unfair. I thought this was a very amusing statement since the whole Union Led Public Education system seems to be set up around a desire for "Fairness" for the employees.

The basic concepts being:

- time served and degrees earned must significantly increase earning, job security and ability to pick one's position.

- employees should be free to say and do as they wish even if it differs from the organization's / community's vision, plan, rules, etc

- the Teacher should be free to teach and organize their class whether it is appreciated by the Parents/ Students or not." G2A
"Final Word

I appreciate those that have contributed to the conversation in a meaningful way. I understand we don't all share the same viewpoints, but I respect we all want the best for our children and for the teaching profession. The education of our kids is too important to be a divisive us vs. them, me vs. you issue. We will reach our collective goal - the best possible education system for all children and teachers - by having respectful dialogue on how to get there. While we may disagree on methodology, I think we can agree that personal attacks and placing blame detract from the collective goal.

A better norm, I believe, is assuming best intent. This one norm could open up dialogue to so many important conversations. We could discuss how to incentivize more young people to go into teaching. We could discuss how to balance teacher quality with teacher job security. We could discuss how to tackle the real problems that are hurting our most vulnerable kids, all while assuming we are working towards a common goal. Even if you disagree with me on everything else I said, please consider this norm going forward." Nathan

John said...

Personal attacks and laying blame

I think several people asked some very pointed and legitimate questions and made some very important points. None of them, I don't think, could really be considered personal attacks. It is important that you understand that, while you might take such questions and points personally, they are not personal attacks. Don't dismiss them as such with the belief that our common goal of "want[ing] the best for our children and for the teaching profession" can only be achieved by what you believe is the right approach. What it appears that you perceive to be personal attacks looks to be direct disagreement with either your premise or your approach, or both. It is fine to assume best intent, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, is it not?

And, for what it's worth, I don't believe that the common goal is as common as you might expect. While there are those of us (and it seems, you, too) that believe that every child has a right to a high quality education, not everyone believes that. There are those that believe that only certain children deserve a high quality education and actively work to ensure unequal opportunity in the name of "conservatism." Some of them can be readily identified working themselves and others into a frenzy over the alleged lack of quality of public teachers while sending their children to private schools." Rachel

John said...

More Accurately

I think I would change that a bit.

"There are those who believe that only certain children deserve a high quality education and actively work to ensure unequal opportunity in the name of "Seniority,Tenure and Job Security for Public School Employees."

As we have discussed here many times... The current system promotes:

- older Teachers with more degrees being paid far more than younger Teachers with the same level of responsibility and work load. With no regard to the actual performance, capability and/or work ethic of the Teachers in question.

- older Teachers being assured much higher job security with no regard to the actual performance, capability, compensation level and/or work ethic of the Teachers in question.

- the highest paid Teachers being allowed to get themselves placed in the schools with the easiest students in the district, leaving the schools with the children who need the most help with who ever they can get.

- Charter schools being funded at a much lower rate than status quo public schools.

- etc" G2A
"Thank You

Thank you for writing your views here. And thank you for wanting to put the needs of the children ahead of the wants of the adult employees. The reality is that Tenure, LIFO, Seniority based job placement, Seniority based compensation levels, Restrictive Teacher licensing, Lower funding for charter schools, etc are bad for the kids who need the most help, and good for the older teachers who stay in a traditional public school district.

Unfortunately many here support the status quo public school systems and their continuing record of leaving a large portion of the poor unlucky students behind. It often amazes me." G2A

John said...

"Reality. As someone who has worked in numerous jobs in the private sector over several decades, I find your description of how job evaluation and retention works absolutely hilarious. That may be how it works in theory, but the reality is very, very different." Pat

"After 15 years with a company I ended up on the wrong side of a poor Manager and was ousted during a downturn... But as Rachel says... Life is not fair, get over it. I was highly compensated and was not adding enough value per that Managers opinion. He had to make a call and I lost...

I agree with you that the above system isn't perfect, but it is still the best system around if you want to provide the best performance and quality for the money. Imagine a Head Coach who is given a budget, a requirement to win and is then told he can not change personnel or wages unless the personnel are thoroughly negligent. Then he is told that the highest paid and/or starters must be the individuals who have been with the club longest....

How do you think that team will do when compared to the teams who only keep excellent performers who follow the team's plan? And the teams who can offer higher compensation for the most challenging positions?

Now back to schools and helping children... Which is more important to our society? Ensuring older Teachers get more compensation, better positions and more job security.... Or ensuring the schools are performing excellently and the kids are learning..." G2A