Education Minnesota argues against a court takeover of personnel decisions in schools


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ST. PAUL, Minn. Oct. 12, 2018 – No one knows good teaching and good teachers better than the people who work in Minnesota schools every day, argued Education Minnesota and the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals in a new court filing, and those educators, administrators and school board members should continue making the personnel decisions. 

The Minnesota Court of Appeals accepted amended briefs on Friday to Forslund v. State of Minnesota. The plaintiffs in the case are asking the court to overturn the state law granting due process protections, including tenure, to Minnesota teachers. The plaintiffs claim the laws protect ineffective teachers, but then ask courts to define what “effective” means.

“Effective teaching looks very different depending on the students in the school and the subject matter being taught,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “But the plaintiffs in this case want the courts to step in and create a single standard that applies to all grade levels, districts and subjects. Any educator will tell you that’s impossible.”

“If the courts erase due process protections for Minnesota teachers, there is no guarantee that administrators won’t make hiring and firing decisions based on cost, not quality,” Specht said. “There’s also a very real chance that more good teachers will leave the profession out of frustration if the courts take away their ability to speak out about what’s happening in their schools. Due process protections are the teachers’ First Amendment at work; no one wants to lose their voice.”

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.