Research clearly documents that the quality children’s educational outcomes depends in large part on the quality of the classroom teacher. Finland is an example of a nation that has invested in its teacher quality for the past 20 years, restricted entrance to teacher colleges, and respects teachers like doctors, lawyers and other esteemed professionals. England is a country that has dramatically increased its teacher pay and raised the desirability of being a teacher as a career significantly.
Where do we stand?
Minnesota’s policy response over the past 10 years has been:
- Impose content and pedagogy tests for new teachers (MTLE) with cut scores higher than recommended by Pearson, the test developing company
- Pass a requirement for annual teacher evaluation that account for 35 percent of the evaluation
- Hold investment in education to less than the inflation rate
Controversies with the system and shortages of licensed teachers in certain specialties led a Teacher Licensure Task Force to review and make recommendations about teacher testing requirements and other ways to demonstrate competency for licensure.
How does it affect you?
MDE initiated a pilot project of a new Teacher Evaluation Model plan that 16 districts will participate in during the 2013-14. It is set to be implemented statewide in 2014-15.
The “Great Education Session” resulted in a 1.5 percent increase in the formula each year of the biennium. For 257 districts (those with referendums above the thresholds of $300, $512, or $724), the formula increase is pretty much the sum of education funding increases from St. Paul.
Where do we go from here?
In teacher quality, on what should MREA focus for the benefit of Greater Minnesota’s young children?
- The supply of teacher candidates in rural Minnesota? What issues are you having filling teacher positions with skilled, qualified applicants?
- Assisting local districts in developing their own teacher evaluation model? What will the pilot sites show us?
- Advocating for increasing the capacity of rural school districts to do the mandated evaluations? How much does it cost?
- How can the state make QComp a viable program for small schools? Assisting districts in making application for the current QComp plan?
- Advocating for regional supports for school districts with Regional Centers of Excellence?
- What do you need to have high quality PD in your school? Explaining the applicability of MREA’s partnership with Generation Ready to districts efforts to meet the teacher evaluation and professional growth mandate?