ReportCard by twincities

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                                                                                                                                          State Rank: 26
                                                                                                                                A B C
                                                                                                                         GRADE State Rank:
                                                                                                                        OVERALL                                D        F

                         State Policy Report Card 2013                                                                    GRADE
                                                                                                                                A B
                                                                                                                                                           C       D F
                         State Policy Report Card 2012                                                                                        GP A   1.15
Currently, Minnesota's education policies do not prioritize great teaching, empowering parents with quality choices, or using resources
wisely to raise student achievement. The state is stagnant when it comes to many critical education reforms. Minnesota has moved to
improve its educator evaluations, but not all teachers benefit from the new system annually and districts are not required to link student
performance, educator performance, and personnel decisions. The state also does not provide parents with meaningful information
regarding school and teacher performance. Minnesota prioritizes establishment of quality public charter schools, but the state should
strengthen accountability and improve access to facilities. Finally, Minnesota should create authority for the state and city mayors to
intervene in low-performing districts and schools, and it should free teachers locked into the state's existing outdated pension systems by
offering more attractive, portable retirement options.

           State Momentum Builder
          In 2011, Minnesota passed S.F. 40, creating a strong framework for alternative teacher certification programs. Beginning teachers may now teach
          on provisional licenses while completing teacher preparation programs through traditional and non-university providers. Minnesota's programs
          also have high admissions standards for alternative certification candidates.

Elevate                  State Rank: 21
                                                          Empower                  State Rank: 20
                                                                                                                      Spend                       State Rank: 45

                          A B C
                         State Rank: 4th
                                                                                    A B C
                                                                                   State Rank: 4th
                                                                                                                      Wisely &
                                                                                                                                                     A B C
                                                                                                                                                   State Rank: 4th D–     F

                                B1.55F                                                                                Govern &
                           GP A
                                  C D
                                                                                    A B C D
                                                                                    GP A   0.76F                      Wisely
                                                                                                                                                     GP A    0.89
                                                                                                                                                            B C D F
                            GPA                                                      GPA
                                                                                                                      Govern                         GPA
Minnesota is behind when it comes to ensuring             All families should have the information and access
                                                                                                                      Minnesota   is not permitting its districts to use
effective teachers are identified, retained, and           they need to provide a quality education, and no            resources wisely and has yet to develop strong
rewarded. Although the state requires principals to       student should be forced to attend a low-performing         accountability measures. The state should permit
be evaluated through a strong framework, it does          school or be taught by a low-performing teacher.            state and mayoral control of underperforming
not require districts to evaluate teachers mean-          Therefore, Minnesota must empower parents to                schools and districts. To enhance transparency and
ingfully. Current teacher evaluations do not              take action by providing meaningful information on          accountability and promote data-driven deci-
differentiate performance through a multi-tier rating     school performance and more high-quality school             sionmaking, Minnesota should require districts to
of effectiveness, and there are no consequences for       choice options. Minnesota must grade its schools            link spending to academic achievement and allow
ineffectiveness. Seniority is still allowed to drive      on an A-F letter system based on student                    governance changes when resources are mis-
personnel decisions. Notably, the state shows             achievement data, require parental consent if a             managed. Notably, the state permits districts to use
commitment to recruiting top teaching talent, as it       student is placed with an ineffective teacher, and          some management alternatives to realize cost
requires alternative certification programs to be          give parents the authority to petition local school         efficiencies, but it does not have a 21st century
substantive and selective, and there is a voluntary       districts to turn around failing schools and create a       teacher retirement system. To provide all teachers
performance-pay system to reward effective                publicly financed scholarship program for low-               with career flexibility and retirement security,
teachers. For Minnesota to strengthen its teaching        income students in chronically failing public schools       Minnesota should move to a fully portable
corps, it must implement rigorous, meaningful             to attend private schools.                                  retirement plan.
evaluations for all teachers annually; hold alter-
native certification programs accountable; and
require that teacher effectiveness drives placement,
layoff, tenure, and compensation decisions.

Minnesota Fast Facts
Michigan Fast Facts
 Total Students, 2010–11                                NAEP Scale Score Rank, 2011                     NAEP Proficiency, 2011
                                                           4TH   MATH     READING                                     47%                                      53%
                                                                                                        4th Grade
Stats, 2010–11                                          NAEP Scale Score Rank, 2011
                                                         GRADE      3        21                          NAEP Proficiency,
           STUDENTS                                         4TH
                                                           8TH   MATH
                                                                 MATH     READING
                                                                          READING                                                   65%                      35%
                                                                                                         4th Grade
                                                         GRADE                                            Reading
                                                                    2         9                               Math
  Sources: DISTRICTS
  SCHOOLU.S. Department of Education, NCES,
                                                            8TH  MATH     READING                                               65%                            35%
  Common Core of Data (CCD), and 2011 National
           SCHOOLS                                       GRADE                                              Reading    Below Basic Basic        Proficient      Advanced
  Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
   PUBLIC CHARTERS                                                                                                                  68%                      29%
                                                                                                                      Below Basic     Basic    Proficient      Advanced
Minnesota                                                                                                       State Policy Report Card 2013

                                                                                                  Momentum Builder: State has             Anchor Objective:
                                                                                                  made recent progress in this            Foundational policy for
                                                                                                  policy area.                            meaningful education reform.

                                                                                                                                          Gold Standard: Exemplar state
                                                                                                                                          policies that prioritize bold
                                                                                                                                          reform and put students first.

Comprehensive Evaluation
                   Strong evaluation systems are foundational to improving teacher and principal quality;
        C–   D F
                   evaluations recognize excellence, support development, and address ineffectiveness. They
                                                                                                                                 Objective                   Score (0–4)

GPA     1.71       must be meaningful, objective, and fair. Unfortunately, Minnesota's evaluations do not
                   substantively assess teacher quality. Notably, the state includes multiple measures that weight
                                                                                                                                 Teacher Evaluations              1
                   student growth as 35% of total evaluations. Principals are measured based in part on their
                                                                                                                                 Principal Evaluations            3
                   effective management of teachers. Yet teacher evaluations lack annual frequency for all                       Evaluations &
                   teachers, as well as at least four tiers of effectiveness. This is critical to differentiating                Contracts
                   performance so that all educators have substantive information to improve their practice.
                   Districts must also have the authority to develop evaluation criteria apart from contract
                   negotiations, protecting these systems from change based on other interests.

Use Evaluations for Personnel Decisions
                   Basing personnel decisions on performance is critical to building schools that retain effective
              F                                                                                                                  Objective                   Score (0–4)
                   teachers and make student achievement paramount. Minnesota is behind in this area;
GPA     0.14       specifically, the state does not use teacher effectiveness to drive decisions around teacher
                   assignment, layoffs, and tenure. Schools do not have the authority to build and maintain an
                                                                                                                                 Ending Forced
                   effective instructional team, including making their own hiring decisions and having the
                   ultimate say in dismissal of any ineffective teachers. Furthermore, when teachers are forced to               Staffing Decision                 0
                   be laid off during a budget-induced reduction in force, the state mandates that seniority, not                Tenure Attainment &
                   performance, determines layoffs. In regard to tenure, teachers receive this status after serving                                               1
                   a short three-year probationary period. Attainment and revocation of tenure are not tied to
                   performance. Prioritizing students and great teachers requires that performance, evident
                   through strong evaluations, be the driving influence for all personnel decisions.

Value Effective Teachers
                   To encourage a high-quality, diverse workforce, professional pay should be based on
        C    D F
                   performance rather than other non-classroom factors such as seniority or degrees held.                        Objective                   Score (0–4)

GPA     2.00       Minnesota has a voluntary peformance-pay teacher compensation system. Seventy percent of
                   teachers in the respective school district must agree to the plan, and at least 60% of any
                                                                                                                                 Reward Performance
                                                                                                                                 with Pay
                   compensation increase must be based on performance. To strengthen teacher compensation
                                                                                                                                 Reform Salary
                   systems across the state, Minnesota should expressly prohibit automatic pay increases for
                   master's degrees alone and require all school districts to implement performance-pay systems
                   that prioritize student outcome measures.

Alternative Teacher Certification
                   Minnesota became a leader in alternative certification programs in 2011. The state requires
    B    C D F
                   alternative certification providers to include selective GPA requirements and a demonstration                 Objective                   Score (0–4)
                   of content knowledge, which ensures high-quality teacher candidates. Providers can come
GPA     3.25       from outside the state's university system. Teachers who go through an alternative
                                                                                                                                 Alternative Certification
                   certification process may teach on a provisional license while completing their teacher
                   preparation program. Minnesota law provides general guidelines for components that                            Alternative Certification        1
                   programs must include, and it outlines the process for authorizing programs. It also states that              Accountability
                   the Board of Teaching has the power to decommission a program, although it does not
                   establish clear criteria for that process. The state should establish a rigorous process for
                   decommissioning programs shown to be ineffective based on teacher evaluation data.
Minnesota                                                                                                       State Policy Report Card 2013

                                                                                                  Momentum Builder: State has            Anchor Objective:
                                                                                                  made recent progress in this           Foundational policy for
                                                                                                  policy area.                           meaningful education reform.

                                                                                                                                         Gold Standard: Exemplar state
                                                                                                                                         policies that prioritize bold
                                                                                                                                         reform and put students first.

Empower Parents with Information
                  Currently, parents in Minnesota do not have access to meaningful information that enables
             F    them to engage in their schools and to make informed decisions for their children. To further
                                                                                                                                 Objective                 Score (0–4)

GPA   0.00        empower parents with information, Minnesota should require that PK-12 schools receive an
                  annual report card that includes an A-F letter grade based on student achievement. Minnesota
                                                                                                                                 School Report Cards             0
                  should also make teacher effectiveness data available to parents and require parental consent
                                                                                                                                 Parent Notification              0
                  for a student to be placed with an ineffective teacher. Finally, Minnesota should empower                      Parent Trigger                  0
                  parents by establishing a parent trigger law that allows a majority of parents to band together
                  at the grassroots level and petition to turn around low-performing schools throughout the

Increase Quality Choices
                  Minnesota is working to ensure students are not trapped in failing schools by providing high-
        D–   F
                  quality school choice options for parents, yet more work needs to be done. The state was the                   Objective                 Score (0–4)
GPA   0.86        first in the country to allow public charter schools. Now Minnesota should strengthen its
                  charter accountability policies to ensure both schools and authorizers are accountable for
                  student achievement results. Further, Minnesota should create a publicly financed scholarship
                  program for low-income students in chronically failing public schools to attend private schools                Charter Establishment
                                                                                                                                 & Expansion
                  that meet certain accountability standards.
                                                                                                                                 Charter Accountability          1

Provide Comparable Resources for All Public Options
                  Children stuck in chronically failing schools should have an option to attend another school of
                                                                                                                                 Objective                 Score (0–4)
        D+   F
                  their choice without being punished by the state through reduced funding. Minnesota public
                  charter schools receive general state funding comparable to what traditional school districts                  Fund Fairly                     2
GPA   1.40        receive and additional state funding in lieu of local funds. In 2011, the legislature considered,
                                                                                                                                 Enable Equitable                0
                  but did not pass, legislation to strengthen charter school funding. Minnesota should remove its
                                                                                                                                 Access to Facilities
                  skimming provisions that currently allow up to 3% of a charter school's funding to be retained
                  by the charter's authorizer. The state should also remove unusually restrictive language that                  Charter Facilities
                  prevents charter schools from using any state funds to purchase land or buildings. Minnesota                   Financing
                  should instead provide access to unused school buildings and facility financing.

  Methodology                                                                                  GPA Sample Calculations
  State policies were analyzed and assigned an individual score from 0 to 4,                                          Score          Weight             Subtotal
  with 4 representing the strongest lever for reform and the most common                        Objective 1             3        x      3         =         9
  sense policy for students. Anchor policies were assigned a 3x weight.                         Objective 2             2        x      3         =         6
  Grade point averages (GPAs) were calculated based on grouping policies by
                                                                                                Objective 3             4        x      1         =         4
  category. For the full methodology, evaluation rubric, and detailed analysis of
  each policy, please visit the website at                                                                 7                  19
                                                                                                GPA = Subtotal ÷ Total Weight
                                                                                                GPA = 19 ÷ 7 = 2.71
 Minnesota                                                                                                        State Policy Report Card 2013

                                                                                                    Momentum Builder: State has           Anchor Objective:
                                                                                                    made recent progress in this          Foundational policy for
                                                                                                    policy area.                          meaningful education reform.
                                                                                                                                          Gold Standard: Exemplar state

                    Spend Wisely                                                                                                          policies that prioritize bold
                                                                                                                                          reform and put students first.

                    & Govern Well
  Promote Governance Structures
  that Streamline Accountability
                    The ability to turn around failing schools is often hampered by bureaucratic red tape and
  A B C D
               F    politics. Currently, Minnesota does not allow for alternative governance structures that
                                                                                                                                   Objective                Score (0–4)

   GPA   0.00       streamline accountability. Minnesota can address this at a state level by providing state
                    control of underperforming schools and districts. At the local level, Minnesota should allow full
                                                                                                                                   Mayoral & State
                    mayoral control of low-performing school districts. These changes would provide for more
                    flexibility in addressing the needs of low-performing schools and districts.

  Spend Taxpayer Resources Wisely
  to Improve Outcomes for Students
                    Given the limited resources available for public education, states must ensure that districts
                                                                                                                                   Objective                Score (0–4)
  A B
         C+   D F
                    spend as many dollars as possible in the classroom rather than in bureaucracy and that the
                    dollars invested drive the greatest change. Minnesota does not impose ineffective rules on                     Fiscal Transparency            1
   GPA   2.67       class size past the third grade, which provides school districts with staffing flexibility.
                    However, Minnesota should provide greater spending flexibility to school districts by removing
                    other restrictions that limit their ability to reallocate resources to their greatest needs.
                    Moreover, Michigan should also empower data-driven decisionmaking by improving the                             Class Size                     4
                    financial data it collects and linking spending to academic achievement. The law should
                    enable governance changes when resources are mismanaged.

  Make Teacher Pensions Portable and Fair
                    Attracting a high-quality workforce will require a competitive retirement plan. Portable
  A B C D
               F    retirement options, such as 401(k) plans, are an essential component of compensation
                                                                                                                                   Objective                Score (0–4)
   GPA   0.00       packages and make the teaching profession more competitive. It is a classic win-win for
                    teachers and districts. Currently, there are three teacher retirement funds in Minnesota; all are
                                                                                                                                   Pension Reform

                    defined benefit plans, and all public school employees are required to participate. These plans
                    promise teachers a payout based on years of service and salary, not the actual amount
                    contributed to or earned through the fund. If teachers leave before reaching retirement age,
                    they risk losing a significant portion of their savings. To provide career flexibility and ensure
                    sustainability of the existing system, Minnesota should move to a portable employer-
                    sponsored retirement plan and permit public charter schools to opt out of the plan.

                                                        StudentsFirst is a bipartisan grassroots movement of more than 2 million members nationwide,
                                                        working to focus our education system on what’s best for students. Today, too many of America’s
                                                        children are not getting the quality education they need and deserve. StudentsFirst is helping to
                                                        change that with common sense reforms that help make sure all students have great schools
                                                        and great teachers. We are working to ensure educators are valued for the critical role they
                                                        play in kids’ lives, families have high-quality school choices and a real say in their child’s
825 K Street, 2nd Floor
                                                        education, and our tax dollars are spent wisely on what works for kids. Launched by former
Sacramento, CA 95814
                                                        Washington D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee in December 2010, StudentsFirst
Website:                    has successfully helped pass more than 70 student-centered policies in 17 states, and our
Email:                      movement continues to grow.

                                                                                                                                                © StudentsFirst 2013

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