He'd revamp rules covering teacher tenure and open teaching ranks to professionals in other fields.
Saying innovation is needed to boost educational achievement, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer on Wednesday called for overhauling teacher tenure, exempting inner city schools from some state mandates and expanding the ranks of teachers to include other professionals.
Emmer, in an address at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, said teachers should be evaluated based on their students' progress and paid accordingly.
"Rewards should be real, tangible and, yes, unequal," he told the audience of about 60 people who attended the candidate forum.
Emmer said teachers should be encouraged to leave after three straight years in which their performance was deemed poor. He urged more rigorous teacher competency exams for licensure.
As governor, he said, he would push to create "Urban School District Empowerment Zones" that would exempt some school districts from certain state mandates, including those reached in collective bargaining agreements.
Regarding tenure, he advocated reevaluating a teacher's tenure once every five years.
Emmer said teachers union leaders have blocked reforms in education needed to make Minnesota more competitive.
Education Minnesota, the state's largest teachers union, said it has supported some form of alternative licensure to expand teachers ranks to professionals from other fields.
But Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher said Emmer's proposal to reevaluate tenure every five years was just "the back-door way of saying 'we're going to eliminate it.'"
Dooher said there was no evidence linking the tenure system -- which puts up barriers to firing teachers -- and poor student achievement.
Pat Doyle • 651-222-1210