The state should articulate consequences for teachers with unsatisfactory evaluations, including specifying that teachers with multiple unsatisfactory evaluations should be eligible for dismissal.
New legislation in Minnesota requires that teachers who do not meet professional teaching standards be given "support to improve through a teacher improvement process that includes established goals and time lines." Teachers are "disciplined" if they do not make adequate progress, through either "a last-chance warning, termination, discharge, nonrenewal, transfer to a different position, a leave of absence or other discipline a school administrator determines is appropriate."
Make eligibility for dismissal a consequence of unsatisfactory evaluations.
Teachers who receive two consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations or have two unsatisfactory evaluations within five years should be formally eligible for dismissal, regardless of whether they have tenure. While the state's new legislation is a step in the right direction, Minnesota should adopt a policy that ensures that teachers who receive such unsatisfactory evaluations are eligible for dismissal.
Minnesota was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state noted that legislation that was passed on developing a teacher evaluation system includes language that requires the new system to include a mechanism for addressing ineffective teachers. It "makes inefficiency in teaching or in managing a school grounds for terminating a teacher's employment." This language is effective for bargaining agreements ratified after July 1, 2014.
While the state is commended for taking steps toward instituting consequences for teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations, Minnesota's new policy gives districts significant flexibility in determining what those consequences will be. The state should consider strengthening its current policy to make it clear to districts that a teacher is eligible for dismissal after two unsatisfactory evaluations.
To review the process and types of personnel evaluations observed in other job sectors, including the problems inherent to some evaluation systems see, for example, Gliddon, David (October 2004). Effective Performance Management Systems, Current Criticisms and New Ideas for Employee Evaluation in Performance Improvement 43(9), 27-36.