Minnesota gets poor marks for teacher qualityby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota scores a 'D' in a new national study that rates how well states keep good teachers and remove bad ones.
The National Council on Teacher Quality gave the state a 'D' in each of three areas -- finding effective new teachers, hanging onto the best new teachers, and getting rid of the worst.
For one, the study cites the fact that teachers who haven't yet passed the state's licensure test can still teach with a waiver.
Education Commissioner Alice Seagren says many of these issues are well-known.
"They have identified some areas where we need improvement, and in fact we're doing a lot of the things they want to do. But it just takes time," said Seagren.
Seagren says the study only renews the need for legislation this year to improve teacher quality, including one proposal to require the merit pay program called Q-Comp at all districts.
"Q-Comp pays for mentors, pays for job coaches, if you will. So, in that process, Q-Comp can actually start to implement some of the things this report is saying," said Seagren.
Gov. Pawlenty is also pushing for tougher standards for students studying to become teachers, as well as for graduates testing for their teaching licenses.
The National Council on Teacher Quality says nearly every state allows teachers to automatically get tenure in three years or less. It says only Iowa and New Mexico require any evidence that teachers are effective before granting tenure.
The nation's largest teachers union, the National Education Association, says job protections like tenure shouldn't be blamed for keeping bad teachers on the job, because contracts do allow for such dismissals.