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Statewide teacher evaluations won’t be delayed after all

Wednesday morning, the state Senate E-12 Division, the committee that deals with education finance issues, voted to amend a controversial bill that would have delayed statewide implementation of teacher evaluations.

By unanimous voice vote, the committee removed the delay and inserted a provision that would direct up to $10 million to pay for evaluations in districts that do not participate in the state’s chief teacher-development program, Q-Comp.

Education advocates who tracked the brief, intense dust-up over the bill hailed the vote as a great compromise: Every teacher in Minnesota will be evaluated starting in the 2014-2015 school year as planned, and there is a precedent recognizing that, done well, performance reviews and the professional development that should accompany them, need a dedicated source of categorical aid.

This one was hard won. On Thursday, the Senate’s Education Committee, which handles policy matters, voted to delay the evaluations’ rollout by a year, over the vociferous objections of the minority.

Because the hearing wasn’t announced, testifiers opposed to it were limited to a couple of education advocates who have been at the Capitol nearly around the clock during this turbo-charged session.

Committee Chair Patricia Torres Ray, a Minneapolis DFLer, conceded that the bill had not been on the posted, public agenda the night before. And advocates say there was an 11 a.m. time stamp on the PDF of the measure that was heard at 12.

The bill was heard again 24 hours later in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which had posted notice of its hearing March 25, two days before the Education Committee vote.

A number of education advocacy groups weighed in with a letter [PDF] delivered to senators on Tuesday. And the bill’s author, Apple Valley DFLer Greg Clausen, told colleagues that he was introducing an amendment that would remove the delay.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/03/2014 - 10:13 am.

    Good News and Interesting

    $10,000,000 to do something that should have always been done seems steep, however I am happy it is moving forward.

    I wonder if Education MN submitted there own letter? Their site has lots of information on how to implement it.

    Does anyone know what a “3 year cycle” means?

    I am hoping it does not mean reviews only occur once every 3 years… I mean if a Teacher’s performance starts to falter for whatever reason, how long do we really want to keep them in the classroom. I mean the kids only get one chance at that grade/class.

  2. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/03/2014 - 11:32 pm.


    Does anyone know what a “3 year cycle” means?

    Also, did the proposed criteria seem unfair to the Teachers? Are you comfortable with the student achievement criteria now that we know std tests only apply to a small group?

    Teacher Evaluation Handbook

    Student Perf Handbook

    Teacher Perf Rubric

  3. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/05/2014 - 09:44 am.

    Oh Come Now

    All the past comments about how tenure is absolutely necessary for the good of the students… How steps, lanes and seniority are the best fairest way to compensate, recruit and retain the best Teachers. And the comments about how evaluating Teacher performance is not necessary after the first 2 years… And no commenter wants to disagree openly with the implementation of this change?

    It seems to be a pretty massive swing. I mean if the capability (ie value) of every Teacher is documented. The next step I would take as a good manager is to create a simple table that compares the performance ratings (ie value) and “work/responsibility load” to the compensation levels (ie cost). This should make it very visible which Teachers are not being rewarded fairly by the steps, lanes and tenure system. Which may even promote some improvements in the compensation policies.

    Now isn’t that exactly what we Parents and Tax Payers want? To ensure the best Teachers are well rewarded, no matter their “years served” or degrees earned. Thoughts?

  4. Submitted by Ross Reishus on 04/06/2014 - 12:06 pm.


    I’m guessing two reasons there haven’t been many comments here.

    1. The nicest weather MN has seen in the past 6 months.
    2. Minnpost continues to stoke the fires of the tea party witch hunt on public education that most people have grown tired of.
    3. Much of the Minnpost reporting on education ignores all of the recent progress and only points out the problems.
    4. All of the above.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/06/2014 - 09:53 pm.

      We have an opening

      MinnPost / Beth shared the excellent news that the teacher evaluations are moving forward. I think that is excellent recent progress.

      Since we have no comment competition, what other recent progress should they or I be commenting on? I know we have more all day kindergarten, additional K-12 funding, and they are working to improve access to pre-k.

  5. Submitted by Joanne Simons on 04/10/2014 - 11:28 am.

    $10 million boondoggle

    So who’s pushing this scam? Who’s getting the $10 million? Pearson? Consultants? Gates?

    All research on data-driven teacher evaluations dismiss them for the junk science that they are.

    Let school administrators do their jobs, like all managers. Put that $10 million back into the schools. This is a huge scam. Follow the money.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/11/2014 - 10:07 pm.

      Union Resistance

      What is the point of Administrators doing evaluations if they can do little to nothing with poor performing Teachers, without spending months or years of effort? And if they have little or no control over who is paid what?

      Spending the money, following process and collecting the data may be the only way to turn this around. At least folks will know who is paid how much and how their performance is judged by the students and by objective standards.

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