Posted: 02/27/15 09:21
by Dave Mindeman
KSTP/Channel 5 did another of their snapshot surveys and asked this question:
There is a proposal in the legislature to change "teacher tenure" rules by ending the so-called "last in, first out" method of laying off teachers who have the least seniority. Should layoff decisions be based on seniority? On the quality of the teacher? Or on something else?
Asked of 525 registered voters. Margin of error for this question = +- 3.5%.
4% Something else
6% Not sure
Now I think there is an odd narrative perpetuated with that question and shows obvious bias. Notice that the questions seems to be separating "Quality" from "Seniority" as if they are two separate things.
The reality of evaluating teachers is that embedded in the "seniority" class of teachers are virtually ALL of the "quality" teachers as well.
This debate has lost any credibility in its terminology. The use of Last In, First Out (LIFO) is a defined parameter which a lot of school districts would use regarding layoff decisions anyway. Teaching "quality" isn't going to magically appear in a teacher just starting out. Some will show natural gifts, but good teaching methods are born from experience (seniority if you will).
And the even larger issue is ignored here. The number of teachers laid off gets to be fewer and fewer as we reach a crisis in shortages. Our problem is finding a way to keep quality/experienced teachers and teachers in general - not laying people off. A low paying job can be a little more attractive if some job security (tenure) is available.
KSTP may believe that their question has validity based on how things have been framed at the legislature. But truthfully, the choices offered via that question tell us nothing.
Yes, I am sure that 80% of Minnesotans want to keep "quality" teachers, but let's at least correctly define who that is.