Page 2 of 2 Previous
Leading mayoral contenders generally agree that teaching ranks must become more racially diverse. They also say they prefer layoffs based on proficiency rather than seniority, although rising enrollment makes Minneapolis layoffs less likely.
Samuels, who has long pitched himself as “the education mayor,” testified in favor of a 2012 bill to end to layoffs that target new teachers first. It was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Winton said he’d encourage parents to ask the school board to negotiate a change in layoff rules, but if teachers resist, he’d call them out publicly. “Why are you willing to prioritize mediocre teachers over exceptional children?” he said he’d ask.
Mark Andrew, a former Hennepin County commissioner, maintains that flexibility should be worked out at the bargaining table, not through legislation.
The teacher union opposes changes in the current “last-in, first-out” law governing layoffs, but has other proposals for making the teaching force more racially diverse.
Rewarding good teachers and good schools
Samuels proposed creating a mayoral-controlled private foundation to reward schools that improve student outcomes through innovative approaches. It also would serve as a lender to help failing schools turn around, but that money would require adopting some of the practices successful schools use.
Winton, for his part, advocates making bonuses available for strong teacher performance, with test scores part of the measure, but he said he’s open to discussing the type of test used. He said he’d make part of the mayor’s salary performance-based. Additionally, he wants to appoint some school board members, though that faces an uphill battle in a Legislature that rejected a mayoral appointment bill in 2012.
Andrew modifies statements
Earlier in the campaign, Andrew raised questions about charter schools and the Teach for America program, and he maintained a more traditional platform emphasizing the role of public schools.
He criticized Hodges for having supporters who endorse some initiatives being paid for by the conservative Koch brothers and said he opposed efforts by those supporting some of his rivals “to corporatize the schools.” That prompted Mayor R.T. Rybak to call his comments “reckless” and “deeply stupid.”
Now Andrew has said more recently that he is open to Teach for America and charter schools, clarifying that the city should learn from the good charter schools and shut down those that don’t work.
He called a news conference last week to lay out a more detailed education plan that — like Hodges’ — would expand the scope of the Youth Coordinating Board to provide more opportunities for children outside of the classroom. He would leverage private dollars to make that happen.
Andrew has recruited attorney and education advocate Mike Ciresi as well as Louise Sundin, an executive vice president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, to head his Mayor’s Council on Education. Ciresi has supported some of the initiatives that Andrew once criticized, advocating at the Legislature for the end of “last in, first out.” Additionally, he helped fund the campaign by Josh Reimnitz, a Teach for America advocate who set a spending record in his successful defeat last year of a union-backed candidate.
Maya Rao • 612-673-4210 Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438