Sadly, we’re used to seeing lots of good education bills die, but here’s one post-mortem worth some attention.
Last week, the Minnesota legislature rejected a completely sensible bill that would have required teacher preparation programs to place their student teachers only with effective cooperating teachers, not just any teacher who volunteers. The reasons given by some of the legislators for defeating the bill are priceless:
Some focused on how the proposal would be punitive to current teachers. Senator Kevin Dahle argued that, “So I can look at this as a teacher learns a lot from these students coming out of college, with the latest and greatest technology skills, they've improved my own lessons and so forth.”
“This is the kind of bill that is really punitive to teachers. They are at risk of having their HR information shared on the outside. It would be like asking anyone of us sharing our criminal history or driving records when we’re testifying in the Senate. … We need to start getting real about whether we’re talking about punishing teachers or encouraging better teachers.” Senator Jim Carlson seems to have missed that all evaluation results will remain confidential.
On the Senate floor, Senator Patricia Torres Ray argued: “I can assure you that I heard from multiple school districts and superintendents that [placing student teachers with ineffective cooperating teachers] is not a practice that occurs today.” Torres Ray did everything in her power to stop this initiative from passing as she denied the bill from getting a hearing.