Pawlenty unveiled the reforms today in a a single bill that he wants legislators to quickly pass. The bill includes alternative licensing, pay for performance and an end to tenure. The Republican governor has made similar proposals before and the DFL-controled Legislature has rejected them. The statewide teachers union Education Minnesota has also opposed many of the proposals. But Pawlenty said the reforms are needed now to strengthen Minnesota's second application for a competitive federal grant called Race to the Top.
"We believe that given the competition that we're in, the advance of the research and the consensus around these types of things being needed for education reform and improvement in our country that they are worthy of reconsideration," Pawlenty said
A joint House-Senate hearing is scheduled Tuesday to take up the Race to the Top issues. Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, the House education finance chair, said she's been trying to convince the union to compromise. Greiling acknowledged the union's lack of support as a factor in the state's first unsuccessful grant application. Still, she was not pleased with the governor's news conference.
"To have the governor poking the union in the eye one more time, when that's when we lost most points, is not helpful at all," Greiling said.