The Big Story Blog

For teachers, a sudden spotlight on seniority, training

Posted at 6:20 AM on February 23, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Education

I wrote and edited education stories in the Twin Cities from 1998 to 2008. I can't recall a week like this where so much potential change was set in motion for teachers and teaching.

On Wednesday, Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law requiring Minnesota public school teaching candidates to pass skills tests in reading, writing and math before receiving a teaching license.

The Senate Education Committee signed off on a bill to eliminate seniority as the sole factor in deciding teacher layoffs, a major change approved last week by the House.

On top of that, MPR News reported a group founded by former Washington, D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee is ramping up its presence in Minnesota with an eye to ending the seniority rules.

MPR News education reporter Tim Post writes, "Although some teachers think it's time to shake the system up, many are opposed to any change in the long-standing system of tenure, a form of job security for classroom veterans."

Will the changes improve teaching? Will they help students learn more or close achievement gaps? How much of a student's success or failure rests on a teacher?

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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