Minnesota’s teacher shortage prompts calls for incentives

On the state’s teacher shortage, Christopher Magan of the Pioneer Press says, “Minnesota school administrators and teachers union leaders agreed Monday that a mix of financial incentives and support for new educators is the best way to address the state’s growing shortage of teachers in key specialties.”

Laura Yuen’s MPR story says, “The state’s student body is not as diverse as the national average, but the lack of diversity among its teaching ranks is much more severe and ‘highly detrimental,’ according to a 65-page report from the state teachers union released Monday. Less than 4 percent of Minnesota’s teachers are nonwhite, compared with about 30 percent of schoolchildren.”

Speaking of schools, the Star Tribune editorializes, saying, “ … as student needs have increased in Minnesota, school support staff resources have not. In fact, Minnesota schools are way behind other states on that score. State schools have only one counselor for every 782 students — among the worst ratios in the nation. … Student access to these important services reduces suspensions, other disciplinary actions and dropout rates.”

Back in business. John Miller of the Wall St. Journal says, “The U.S.’s biggest iron ore miner Monday said it would restart a key mine in Minnesota, a positive sign for the battered U.S. steel industry following a small uptick in prices and new import tariffs on foreign steel. Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. said it would resume production of iron ore pellets at its North Shore operations, which employ 540 workers, by May 15. The mine, which was idled in December, was one of many industrial facilities in the U.S. to fall prey last year to a painful downturn in the industrial commodities sector, driven by a slowdown in Chinese demand … .”

The Gov says we’re going to push on with renewables. At MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar writes, “Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday vowed to veto any legislation slowing Minnesota’s clean power efforts but acknowledged this will not be the year to pass any more aggressive renewable energy laws. … The U.S. Supreme Court recently ordered federal authorities to delay plans to cut power plant carbon emissions, putting the plan in limbo at the federal level. Dayton, however, has said he’ll push ahead with it in Minnesota despite calls from some state lawmakers to stop. He reiterated that on Monday.”

Solvejg Wastvedt at MPR reports, “Another St. Paul Public Schools teacher was hit by a student earlier this month, St. Paul police say. A Johnson High School teacher was breaking up a fight when a student hit him in the back of the head, according to a police spokesman. A police report filed Friday did not specify whether the teacher was injured.”

By all means, take your time. The AP is saying, “House Republicans made progress Monday on linking a measure to extend unemployment benefits for laid-off Iron Range steelworkers with tax credits for the state’s businesses, but could face opposition from Democrats who don’t want the two items tied together. The House Ways and Means Committee passed the bill that would extend benefits for Iron Range workers for 26 weeks, paired with language granting roughly $258 million in tax breaks to employers who contribute to the state’s $1.6 billion unemployment trust fund. … Thousands have been laid off in the last year and have already exhausted their benefits.”

FYI. An MPR item alerts westsiders, “Minnesota Highway 100 will close in both directions in the west metro from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said Monday. Highway 100 will close between Interstate 394 and Minnesota Highway 62. Crews will begin closing entrance and exit ramps along the highway at 9 p.m., Tuesday, MnDOT said. The road and ramps are expected to reopen by 5 a.m. Wednesday. ‘Residents living near the construction site should expect to hear noise from large equipment throughout the night,’ MnDOT noted.”

You mean we can’t even trust our hard-working job creators? Not so much, says Martin Moylan for MPR. “Millions of workers have had their wages stolen by their employers, a crime that has victimized employees ranging from NFL cheerleaders to janitors. The issue is widespread across the nation, including Minnesota. Many workers fear retribution for bringing up wage theft claims, but private lawsuits and government intervention have pried loose back pay for some.”

Spring fever in the housing market. Jim Buchta of the Strib says, “During February, there was a 6.7 percent increase in signed purchase agreements in the 13-county metro area, according to a monthly sales report released Monday by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. … .The median price of all closings during the month was $207,395.”

Beans to ‘Nam. Tom Meersman of the Strib says, “Thirteen Minnesota soybean farmers are traveling to Vietnam on a trade mission this week, to build both relationships and potential markets for their crops. Tom Slunecka, CEO of the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, said that Vietnam is an up-and-coming market for the U.S., with 6 percent annual growth in its economy projected this year.”

There’s goes the championship. Says Eric Roper in the Strib, “The Minnesota Vikings’ attempt to rename a portion of Chicago Avenue “Vikings Way” fell flat at City Hall on Monday night, when the city’s planning commission unanimously rejected the proposal. … The City Council is likely to have the final say. City Council Member Jacob Frey said he would like to see the team make more concessions on public access to the nearby Commons park before agreeing to a change.” Leverage, baby. Whenever you get it, use it.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/15/2016 - 09:06 am.

    Incentives?

    Well, let’s see,…

    if I become a teacher in the current educational environment,…

    I can look forward to being blamed if each and every one of my students…

    no matter what their outside-the-school circumstances might be…

    fails to achieve,…

    I can look forward to making LESS money than I would in the private sector with similar qualifications and work hours…

    while the “how DARE you make me pay taxes!” crowd complains that the public schools cost too much money…

    and it’s MY and my colleagues’ fault for expecting to be paid a reasonable salary,…

    I can look forward to “conservative” pastors encouraging their church members to attack me,…

    and their children to disrespect me,…

    if I teach science instead of their particular (minority even among Christians) perspective on the Bible in place of science…

    I can look forward to “conservatives,”…

    who detest any and all worker organizations…

    constantly seeking to undermine the ability of myself and my colleagues to collectively bargain for our pay and benefits,…

    and constantly seeking wipe out tenure…

    so that I can be fired at the whim of any school board member or loudly demanding parent…

    who doesn’t like something about me or the information I teach…

    the way I graded their child,…

    or called them to account for unacceptable behavior…

    or who decides that, having long experience, I’m too far up the steps on the pay scale to be retained,…

    and I can look forward to watching members of the state legislature continuously seek pull money out of the Public School system,…

    and drop it into far less accountable,…

    PRIVATE charter schools…

    in order to pad, with PUBLIC money, the pockets of their profit monger friends…

    because they claim the Public Schools…

    which they’ve consistently sought to damage by UNDERfunding them…

    just aren’t working.

    With all those DISincentives that “conservatives” (and some “liberals” like Arnie Duncan) have piled so high over the past few decades…

    I can’t imagine that ANY incentives currently being considered could overcome them.

    Why would anyone want to become a teacher in the current environment?

  2. Submitted by Jim Million on 03/15/2016 - 09:07 am.

    Too bad, Vikings

    Looks like you’ve hit a “bear patch.” Of course, the Mpls. City Council may yet again come to your offense.

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