What do we mean by “educational reform?” We mean evaluating district practices and contract rules to make changes that research has shown are most essential to raising academic achievement and closing the achievement gap. These changes include:
•Adjusting the way we hire and retain the very best teachers in our schools by developing a less rigid and more flexible system
•Achieving stability for our students by strengthening the practice of “mutual consent,” where principals and teachers agree that each teacher is the “right fit” for the needs of a particular school
•Reducing teacher turnover, the current practice of moving teachers around frequently from school to school based on rules of seniority rather than keeping stable teaching teams together with a principal leader
•Improving accountability at every level in the Minneapolis Public Schools
•Moving toward the establishment of performance-based pay for all teachers and principals, where the academic achievement of students and other growth measures are part of performance evaluation and compensation, rather than pay for the number of years teaching
As always, our financial status affects every decision we make.
We believe that, with the courage to make changes proven to improve academic achievement and the commitment to “live within our means,” the true reform we are seeking will help increase stability for our students and staff.
The term “reform” is used so frequently in the world of education that I wanted to try to assure that all of our families and community members understand the changes we seek in our negotiations with the MFT.
We believe this reform is a necessity to furthering student success. We also believe our teachers will benefit from the changes we seek.