Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Minnesota is getting left behind in education reforms - latest passer is North Carolina.

A key next step in education reform is expanding school choice options for parents in the form of tax credits and/or scholarships funds.  Minnesota at one point was in the vanguard of education reform.  No longer the case.  The blob or education establishment has strengthened its grip on government run education.

The latest example of a state moving forward is North Carolina which recently established $4200 scholarships for low and middle income kids.  They also passed a number of other reforms designed to make education more accountable and responsible to taxpayers. 

  • Scholarships for children from low- and middle-income families. The Opportunity Scholarship Act will give students from low- and middle-income families and foster care the opportunity to receive $4,200 scholarships to attend private schools of their choice.
  • A–F school grading. A transparent school grading formula on an A–F scale based on student achievement and growth will start the 2013–2014 school year. It will also grade high schools on graduation rates and enrollment in accelerated coursework.
  • Teacher contract and dismissal language. The budget replaces existing tenure rules with renewable two-year contracts. Top-performing teachers will be offered four-year contracts.
  • Phase-out of certain teacher salary supplements and move toward merit-based pay. Teachers and instructional personnel will no longer be paid based on paper credentials such as master’s degrees. The state will also move toward a merit-based teacher compensation plan, which will evaluate teachers based on student performance and growth.
  • Teach for America expansion. Additional funding will be given to Teach for America to expand the size and scope of the program. Total funding will be $6 million.

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