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Minnesota Education Legislation Would Evaluate Teachers Based on Student’s Test Scores, Other Factors

Minnesota lawmaker’s proposed legislation would rate teachers, K-12, based on the failure or success of their students.  The proposed legislation would affect teacher’s tenure, limit growth for new teachers and create tension within Minnesota schools.

The Legislation: Changing the Face of Minnesota Education

The proposed education legislation begins by entering school districts throughout Minnesota.  School districts would start by using student testing growth, parent surveys and administration evaluations.  These tools will help the state evaluate teachers on a new assessment scale.

The legislation requires Minnesota school districts to test teachers on five specific job ratings.  Once this data is gathered, it is kept confidential by the school district.  High rated teachers will receive bonuses or higher benefits.  Low rated teachers will be demoted or fired.

Minnesota legislators, Republican and Democrat, created the framework for the legislation.  The Republican’s proposal is more dramatic and includes many potential changes.  Minnesota Democrats, including Gov. Mark Dayton,  agree there is a need for new teacher evaluation, but have a softer proposal.

The education proposal was initially sponsored by Branden Petersen, R-Andover, Minn.  Petersen’s proposal includes ending the teacher tenure system.  The tenure system would be replaced with teachers signing five-year contracts.  In addition, Petersen’s proposal requires 40 to 50 percent of teacher evaluations to be based on statewide student testing.

Democrats agree there is a need for a K-12 teacher evaluation system, however they disagree with Petersen’s proposal. Kathy Brynaert, D-Mankato, Minn., developed an alternative legislation that excludes student test scores from teacher evaluation.  Brynaert’s proposal assures that teachers will not be “teaching for the test”.

Minnesota Teachers: Evaluation and Accountability

Teacher evaluation is necessary in any education system.  Currently, Minnesota teachers face limited performance reviews.  The lack of evaluation allows inadequate teachers to gain tenure in schools throughout Minnesota.

Minnesota Education Commissioner, Brenda Cassellius, is developing additional evaluation standards for the state.  Inserting alternative teacher evaluation criterion may slow the development of potential legislation.  Potential criterion includes:

  • Requiring intensive training for evaluators
  • Creation of a three-year teacher  evaluation cycle that includes teacher growth plans, teacher learning communities and a peer review process
  • Allowing teachers to present professional work portfolios to show occupational growth
  • Mentoring evaluators during the introduction process

Minnesota’s Department of Education is avoiding test score teacher evaluation at all costs.  To prevent potential legislation to further, the Department of Education will restructure their teacher accountability and evaluation standards

Minnesota Students: The Association of Tests Scores and Their Environment

Minnesota K-12 students are required to take the MCA tests throughout their education.  The MCA tests students on their reading, mathematics and science abilities.  The MCA tests also measures student’s annual growth.

The proposed education legislation supports teacher evaluation based on student MCA scores.  However, many Minnesota teachers contest that student environment, outside of school, is a main contributor to low MCA scores. Certain environmental factors include:

  • Increased poverty in urban cities
  • Parent accountability
  • Decreased study space
  • Abuse
  • High divorce rates
  • Frequently moving students

Minnesota teachers believe parents must be held accountable for their children’s success or failure.  The current education proposal does not mention parent accountability as a factor of low student test scores.

Minnesota Citizens: A Mixed Review

Teacher evaluation and low student test scores are both hot stove topics concerning Minnesota’s education.  However, Minnesotans across the state reacted differently to the proposal of teacher evaluations based on student test scores.

“Students have a carefree attitude when they take tests.  They want to finish as soon as possible so they can go outside for recess.  They don’t realize the repercussions of a bad test score.  They just want to play,”  St. Peter Middle School teacher Jake Malz said.

Many citizens believe reform is necessary in school districts throughout the state.  Multiple citizens stressed the importance of yearly teacher evaluations.

“The evaluation of teachers is awful right now,” Petersen proposal supporter Scott Hoffman said.  “Almost every profession is evaluated on an annual basis.  Teacher evaluations should be more strict because they mold our youth and our future.”

Many Minnesota teachers agree with teacher evaluation reform.  However, they are strongly against Petersen’s proposal of test scores determining tenure and salary.

“I should be able to determine the future of my career, not a fourth grader.  Tenure affects where I plan on raising a family and where I buy a home.  Five-year contracts don’t provide career stability,”  Carver Elementary teacher Kristin Bauer said.

Final Decision: Governor Mark Dayton

The future of Petersen’s legislation lies in the hands of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.  Dayton, a democrat, alluded to teacher evaluation reform in his seven-point education plan.  The plan includes increased funding for K-12 programs, alternative teacher license programs and better testing.

Dayton has the option of vetoing any proposed legislation.  He will likely use that power on Petersen’s proposal because his stance on teacher evaluation differs.  Dayton believes teacher reform is necessary but is more concerned with Minnesota’s current budget situation.

The first provision of Petersen’s legislation was approved by the House of Representatives.  For the legislation to get to Dayton’s desk, it must be approved in the Minnesota Senate.

Minnesotans will need to wait to find out about potential progress of the proposed legislation.

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Related Links

Minnesota Department of Education
Education Minnesota
Petersen’s proposed legislation
Star Tribune: Ratings could end tenure for Minnesota’s teachers
CBS Minnesota: Minn. Lawmaker’s Proposal Puts Teachers To The Test

SEO keywords: Teacher evaluation, Minnesota student test scores, education legislation, K-12 students, Minnesota teachers, Minnesota education legislation

After reading Thornburg’s chapter on “Journalism as Conversation” it became apparent to me the importance of social media ethics and policies.  Social media sites are still new to the public.  They may not be new to tech-savvy users, however they are growing throughout the population of beginning users.  Social media sites such as Twitter,Facebook and LinkedIn all have an intrusive trait that has never been seen before their implementation.  This trait allows us, as users, to set limits on what is witnessed and read.  As users and business professionals, it is crucial to develop a social media policy that satisfies privacy and guideline requirements.  Along with reading chapter 11, I read a quality piece on the 10 Must-Haves for a Social Media Policy.  When developing a social media policy in a business, I think it is imperative to define the importance of social media.  Additionally, we need to introduce what the purpose of social media is and how to properly use it.

Secondly, it is vital to convey the importance of responsible writing.  Make sure clients are aware that what they publish could hurt company image or procedures.  Like any business decision, our social media policy should reach our targeted audiences.  It is important that we reach potential and current readers.  Another policy needed to compile an effective social media plan is to have all employees exercise good judgement.  This may be slightly vague, but employees should not publish any hurtful or demeaning language.  Additionally, our policy will contain a section devoted to understanding copyright and fair use procedures.  The last policy implemented would be the importance of bringing value and news elements to published work.  This will create publicity and awareness.

Lastly, I would individually want to edit or review all work done by professionals.  This will give me the ultimate power to make decisions.  This may seem very demanding, but it means I will also take 100 percent of the blame when functions are not proper.

All these policies are imperative to business organization.  Social media is a new concept that is starting to be grasped by different populations.  If a social media policy is implemented, then everyone is aware of potential harms and dangers to the company.  Also, boundaries are set and determined therefore preventing a potential crisis.

PR Week’s story focusing on New York Fashion week was flawed in many key areas.  It was evident from the beginning that this story lacked the substance and editing to be an effective news story.  First, there were many issues surrounding the visual elements in the story.  Primarily, the lighting was so poor that it became tough to see the interviewees and their facial expressions.  Additionally, the camera angles were basic and provided no sense of professionalism.  Along with the poor camera angels, the story didn’t provide any neat effects that grab my attention.  The camera work was sub par and really lowered the quality of the story.  The point of effective camera use is to provide an illustration about the audience and the “vibe” that is present throughout the event. The Mecedes-Benz Fashion week is the “super bowl” for fashion executives and supporters.  This story fails to depicts the attractiveness of this event and the people that help make it known.

The audio was at an equal level as the video in this story.  Background noises were very frequent and disturbed the flow of the interviews with top fashion executives.  The interview with Naeem Khan was very choppy and didn’t accentuate his skills as a top fashion professional.  Additionally, the interview with Paul Wilmot was the worst of all interviews in the story.  This interview included choppy audio and nearly impossible visual content.

There are many ways I would have made this story a more effective one.  Specifically, I would have used a tripod to take steady visual clips.  These clips would be conducted in areas of good light and been visually striking.  Secondly, I would have tried to conduct interviews where the background noise doesn’t impede the audio content.  Lastly, I would have used a interviewer who sounded more professional.  The interviewer seemed like she didn’t rehearse her questions and didn’t understand the professionalism needed within the industry.  Overall, the story was very poor and should never have been published.

“Air Raids hit Gadhafi stronghold of Sirte in Libya” was a comprehensive article developed by Yahoo News that depicts the recent air attack on Libya.  This article accurately illustrates the political struggle in Libya with more than 100 pictures and multimedia content.  The reason this article is so strong is because the content is strictly focused on the people and attitudes of Libya. Specific photos put a strong emphasis on the actual events that are occurring in Libya.  These photos complement the text in a well-ordered fashion and point out each specific event in excellent visual representation.  Additionally, the article covers the specifics of the struggle in Libya but in my opinion is too long.  I, personally, lost interest in the story after a few paragraphs.  This story would be more effective if it was cut in half.  The strong suite of this story is the multimedia content that borders the text.  Users are able to view slideshows that detail specific problems associated with Libya’s dictator Muammar Gaddafi.  Also, readers can view video content of President Obama speaking about the Libya situation.

This story rivals other stories from other top news sources.  However, I believe it better informs people who are unaware of the turmoil occurring in Libya.  The pictures, video and news article are of higher quality than The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post.  Although Yahoo’s story is quite long, it really delves into the real social and political issues that are affecting the people of Libya.

High gas prices will continue to skyrocket, forecasters say

Consumers aren’t the only ones being affected by high gas prices recently. Increasing gas prices continue to affect the automobile industry in many different ways, experts say.

Consumers are starting to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles in order to save money.  Larger vehicle sales have decreased dramatically since the price increase in fuel.

“When gas prices go up, the focus goes to vehicles that get high gas mileage,” Luther Mankato Honda sales consultant Bob Anderson said.

Gasoline prices rose to $3.60 a gallon locally last week and experts predict that prices will exceed $4 a gallon this summer.

A Changing Behavior

With the increase in fuel prices, consumer buying behavior has transformed.  Consumers’ fear of price increase is widespread and is being witnessed by automobile professionals

“Gas isn’t high-enough-priced yet, but once it reaches $4, then people will get a bit goofy and panic a bit.  Four dollar to $5 gas has a lot of people concerned,” Ben Heintz of Heintz Toyota said.

However, there are still many reasons why consumers need larger vehicles.  These reasons are:

  • work
  • outdoor enthusiasts
  • recreational use
  • safety features
  • hauling or towing purposes

These consumers pay the price for owning larger automobiles with lower gas mileage.  Although, some are growing weary of high gas prices.

“It’s getting old,” New Ulm resident Meredith Frank said.

With high gas prices penetrating the market, one thing is for certain, consumers will be filling up their tanks less and finding more efficient alternatives.

Keywords:  High Gas Prices

The Reporter FAQs

Posted: March 3, 2011 in Uncategorized
Is The Reporter available for download as a PDF file?

Yes, The Reporter is available as a PDF file.  It can be downloaded instantly and is printer-friendly.  Readers normally find it easier to download if they are currently using a updated internet browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer.

How can I contact The Reporter Staff?

The Reporter Staff can easily be contacted and currently has four main editors.  The Reporter’s business hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.  The Reporter is located in room number 293 in the Centennial Student Union on the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus.

How do I become a member of The Reporter’s online publication?

The registration process to become a member of The Reporter’s online publication is simple.  Prospective members need to provide an active email address and personal information.  Users will be asked to create an online password to log in to the Web site.

Can local businesses advertise on The Reporter?

Local businesses have various opportunities to advertise on The Reporter.  A media kit is available for local advertisers and accurately describes the potential advertising possibilities The Reporter offers.  Prices and additional opportunities are also presented.  The Reporter’s advertising sales staff is helpful and can answer any questions regarding advertising.

Is The Reporter on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter?

The Reporter is currently on Facebook and Twitter.  Also, The Reporter staff’s personal blogs are available to online members.  These contain anything from daily news to sports opinion stories.

Who publishes The Reporter?

The Reporter’s online edition and Web site is powered by College Publisher, which facilitates many college and university Web sites throughout the country.

All About Americansforfreedom.org

Posted: February 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Americansforfreedom.org is owned and operated by Michael Pinson of Pinson Communications. This site was founded on July 8, 2008 and was last updated on March 31, 2010. Contact information is provided and lists a street address and phone number. The phone number is (813)855-3663 and is located in the state of Florida. This Web site is sponsored by Godaddy.com and Michael Pinson’s email address, jmpinson@aol.com is also provided.

WhoIs is a creative and quality Web site for internet research. WhoIs is another research tool that can become extremely useful for journalists and professional bloggers. Future use of WhoIs can range anywhere from contacting Web site owners, understanding the development and creation of the site and exploring additional content. WhoIs is a fascinating information research site that is brand new to me. WhoIs and Thornberg’s screencast unveiled a new world of internet sourcing and evaluation. WhoIs is also important regarding copyright legalities and other publication issues. WhoIs can accurately interpret domain names and registration sponsorships.