Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MN Teacher Licensing Improved

Another big improvement that occurred is that local schools have been given the freedom to interview from a larger pool of candidates to ensure the best most qualified Teachers are allowed in the classroom.  Previously the bureaucrats and Teacher's Unions had this pretty well locked down.

MPR MN Teacher Licensing Change
Mn Daily Teacher Licensing Change

The benefit for them of course was to reduce the pool of available applicants, therefore putting upward pressure on required employee compensation.  And making it harder for administrations to replace poor teachers, therefore encouraging administrators to just keep the questionable performer.

Now we know that ED MN is livid, so it is probably a pretty good thing. Please remember that ED MN is a Teacher Union, no matter what else they say.  Their goal is to maximize compensation and job security for their members.  This is not bad or evil, it is just why they exist.

Their goal is not to ensure that our public schools maximize their performance for the good of all American children.  That is the duty of our elected school boards and the school superintendent that they hire.


Sean said...

"Now we know that ED MN is livid, so it is probably a pretty good thing."

That pretty much represents the conservative policy-making engine these days: develop policies that make liberals mad, even if they're not good policies in and of themselves.

John said...

Actually it should make Liberals happy if they truly care about educating the children, especially the unlucky ones.

And if they truly want to get more people of color into the schools as educators.

And if they want to lower class sizes.

Keeping Teacher Compensation artificially high and keeping qualified people out of the job market is great for the traditional teachers, the teacher prep programs and Ed MN, but it does more harm than good for the children and communities.

Now if we can get this done, maybe there is hope of making it easier for qualified lower cost Doctors, Nurses and Lawyers to get licensed... I believe that is one of your wishes.

Sean said...

Actually, I don't have major problems with the teacher licensing bill. My comment was meant to be taken more generally. What's going on in health care, for instance, fits this, as does withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, among other examples.

When "it makes liberals mad" becomes a reason to support a policy, the plot has been lost.

John said...

Personally I think the Conservatives are simply practicing what they preach, and why they got elected.

Reduce the power of government and give it back to the people and businesses of America.
- Let School Administrators decide who is best for the job.
- Let the consumers, businesses and local governments decide regarding power sources, cars, etc.
- Let the customers decide which health insurance they can afford.
- Let people experience the consequences of their choices instead of passing them onto society.

Maybe the Liberals just think all actions revolve around them. :-)

Anonymous said...

"Keeping Teacher Compensation artificially high..."

Considering the importance of what teachers do, it would seem that teacher compensation is currently artificially low.


Sean said...


"Let the consumers, businesses and local governments decide regarding power sources, cars, etc."

and this:

"Let people experience the consequences of their choices instead of passing them onto society."

are frequently in direct competition.

For instance, let's say we strip away environmental regulations on fossil fuel usage. Who's going to pay the bill for the consequences? It's not going to be Exxon or the coal mining company. The costs for those choices are going to be borne by society as a whole, and by taxpayers in particular.

John said...

Sorry to say but I don't see anything forcing Teacher compensation down other than the Teacher Unions themselves. They insist that everyone is paid about the same based on time served and degrees. This means that the peak performers are paid less than they should be and valley performers are paid more than they should be. Why would peak performers even enter such a field?

Imagine if professional sports teams operated that socialistic way...

I guess I don't see anyone advocating for the total elimination of environmental regs. Do you? Personally I think the goal is to stop continuously ratcheting them up indefinitely with no discussion of the cost trade offs.

The same topic Jerry raises when we discuss climate change. How much value is there raised for every dollar of extra cost? If the value is small and the cost is huge, we should not be doing it in many cases.

John said...

An example is drilling in the artic...

If it reduces the costs of living for all Americans for decades...

But it kills off some tundra and animals...

What is the correct choice?

Sean said...

Even if you strip some of them away, who's going to pay for the cost? If rising sea levels threaten South Florida real estate, what do you think is more likely -- that property owners there will be told to build their own seawall or that government will tax everyone to build the seawall that protects those property owners? If you relax air quality rules, which will have a disproportionate impact on those who are sick, the elderly, and children, who's going to pay for that? Not the polluters, but us, because the sick, elderly, and children are ore likely to be covered by government health care programs. If we let the Polymet mine proceed in Northern Minnesota and the tailings pond fails in 50 years, long after PolyMet has vanished from the earth, who's going to pay to clean it up?

The benefits to reducing such regulation are privatized, but the downside risk is held entirely by the public.

John said...

Some comments from my FB.

"This is a terrable thing. In this day we need educated people trained in teaching to guide our children. Would you now let nurses and DR practice without training These teachers ...most have masters and more the future of our children depends on them" Shirly

"Shirly, Do you think that your local Principal is going to hire incompetent and ineffective Teachers to put them in the classroom? Do you think the Superintendent, School Board and Parents are going to let them do this and keep their job? The reality is that the current licensing system is out of control and keeping excellent potential candidates from being interviewed and hired. Here is another related story with some examples." G2A

John said...

So is your goal to create so many regulations and controls that business stops?

When do you think enough is enough?

Sean said...

"So is your goal to create so many regulations and controls that business stops?"

Not at all. But, taking the PolyMet project as an example, if we know that opening that mine there will require 100+ years of environmental remediation, then we should collect revenue related to the mine's operation to create a fund that should cover those costs so that the taxpayer isn't on the hook should something go wrong. That's not liberal or conservative, that's just prudent.

We should consider that the costs today of starting to transition away from fossil fuels might very well be smaller in the long run than the costs we'll face should we have to start building massive seawalls on both coasts to prevent heavily populated areas from being reclaimed by the ocean.

And as I said earlier, we should realize that the costs of undoing such regulation aren't typically born by the people who earn the benefit from their undoing. That should give us pause.

Our political system is not equipped right now to handle these sorts of questions. Donald Trump would be very likely to get his wall to keep Mar-A-Lago dry, but poor folks on the Gulf Shore in Alabama are going to get stuck with pennies on the dollar and told to move inland.

John said...

I think the key words above are...

"if we know"

Unfortunately rarely do "we know"

John said...

As for those unfortunate folks who live in lowlands near the ocean.

A. They likely used the fossil fuels energy also.

B. And if they dislike the risk, they should probably sell now and move inland. It isn't like they have not been warned.

C. Life isn't always fair... And it isn't the governments / tax payers job to make it perfectly fair and to protect everyone from everything. Though many liberals would disagree with that. :-)

Sean said...

"if we know"

Ah, but we do. We have the EIS for the project, which calls for that very thing.

John said...

Maybe if I get really bored I will peruse this monster... Probably not though.

John said...

"if we know"

Maybe all we need to read is this section...

Apparently there are some HUGE DIFFERENCES in what different people "know".


Sean said...

"Apparently there are some HUGE DIFFERENCES in what different people "know"."

Maybe you should read that section, because the differences of opinion are from people who think that it's going to be much worse than what the government says it will be, not better.

John said...

Maybe... But my point is "know" is a strong word when predicting the future impacts.

Maybe this site is more concise.

John said...

Or this State Web Page dedicated to Polymet permitting.

No wonder the mining industry is dying in MN... Oh well I am sure China will be happy sell us copper and other metals while our citizens are unemployed or have low wage jobs... And the good news is that successful people can still make money by investing in import companies...

Sean said...

The PolyMet project is projected to create 360 FT jobs for the mines 20 years of operation. Miners make about $75K/year, so you're talking about $540M in salaries plus whatever multiplier effect you get from that. Meanwhile, upon project completion, you're looking at $200M to shut the project down and $4-10M annually to maintain the tailings ponds and waste pits. The drainage from those pits and ponds are anticipated to be above current pollution standards for at least 500 years. Even if you cut that in half and look at 250 years at $7M a year, you're talking $2B+ in remediation expense.

And that assumes that nothing happens to the tailing ponds over those 250 years -- which if you look at the history of such tailing ponds is not a good bet to take (the PolyMet project would in part re-use existing tailings ponds which are already leaking!). Nationwide, you've got about 150 open-pit mining projects that are Superfund sites requiring an estimated $50B in cleanup. Those costs are being paid for *not* by the mining companies, but by us taxpayers.

That doesn't even take into account the damage that might occur if there was an failure of the containment mechanisms. The Polymet project is close to the breaking point between water flowing east towards Lake Superior and north towards the BWCA and Rainy River. Depending on the nature of the failure, one or both of these watersheds could be at risk.

You're the one who brought up cost trade-offs earlier. How about these trade-offs?

John said...

It is good the discussion is occurring, I can't wait to see if the locals get their jobs or not...

And by the way, all of those shutdown and maintenance costs = jobs... Maybe a lot better pay back for MN than the new stadium and/or welfare checks.

Maybe they should be injecting waste down 10,000+ feet like they do with fracking. Then there would be no long term pond maintenance or chance of spilling.

jerrye92002 said...

"We should consider that the costs today of starting to transition away from fossil fuels might very well be smaller in the long run than the costs we'll face..."-- Sean

The problem with that narrative is that learned economists have studied the issue thoroughly and concluded quite the opposite, that the costs of adaptation are only about 10% of the cost of prevention. And prevention REQUIRES that you know the exact timing, amplitude and cause of the problem you are trying to prevent. Adaptation has the beauty of being exactly the right thing, of the right size, and at the right time, regardless of the cause. We can build sea walls, IF NEEDED, a LOT faster and cheaper than we can build an energy system without fossil fuels that we probably don't need at all.

jerrye92002 said...

PMFBI, but I now see where this string got off track. And the notion that "making liberals mad" is the basis for a lot of policies is off the mark. It's simply a side benefit and proof that it is sane policies that are being adopted. Liberals are understandably angered when their policies, failures though they may be, get overturned in favor of something that might actually work. Sorry, but it is simple common sense, and if liberals are offended by it, that's THEIR problem.