The national education reform group Students First praises a piece of legislation in the Minnesota House, which would replace teacher tenure with five-year contracts, and require plans for teacher and principal evaluations.

The bill, says Students First, would have three benefits:

  1. Save great teachers.
  2. Provide fair and robust evaluations for teachers and principals.
  3. Reform teacher tenure.

The House Research Department provides a summary of the legislation. I’ve taken their summary paragraph and put it into numbered paragraphs for easier reading:

  1. Proposes to establish a statewide teacher evaluation and professional development structure and change the terms of teachers’ employment for all K-12 teachers so that decisions about teachers’ continued employment over five-year periods are informed by measures of teachers’ performance effectiveness.
  2. Prospectively establishes salary bonuses for the most highly effective teachers.
  3. Requires studies on the impact of teacher diversity on the educational outcomes of minority students and district efforts to recruit a diverse teaching faculty.
  4. Establishes an advisory task force to make recommendations on fully implementing this teacher evaluation and professional development structure.

The full text of the latest edition of HF945 is here. It currently has five sponsors: Branden Peterson (R-Andover); Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington); Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth); Keith Downey (R-Edina), and Andrea Kieffer (R-Woodbury). Its senate companion, SF636, has four sponsors: Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista); Linda Scheid (DFL-Brooklyn Park);  Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka); and Ted Daley (R-Eagan). Garofalo is the chairman of the House Education Finance committee. Olson is the chairman of the Senate Education committee.

The House version has been passed by the Education Reform committee and is now sitting in the Education Finance committee. The Senate version is still in the Senate Education committee.

Students First is led by Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor the District of Columbia Schools, who figured prominently in the film Waiting for Superman.