Probationary teachers get the boot in Moorhead

This is the time of the year when we wonder why anyone would want to be a teacher in Minnesota. It’s layoff time.

Last night, for example, the school board in Moorhead voted 6-to-1 to fire 20 probationary teachers. No teachers or parents spoke at the meeting, a different scenario from earlier this month when almost 100 people showed up to protest the terminations, the Fargo Forum reports.

“Schools have climates, and this has already created anxiousness for new teachers and veterans alike,” Thomas Dooher, a teacher who is not probationary, said at the earlier meeting. “Teachers are not disposable, and this non-renewal (of their contracts) says they are.”

They are

If you want to be a teacher here, you better be prepared to jump through hoops as described by the paper:

Under Minnesota law, teachers who are on probationary status can be terminated for any reason until they have been offered a contract three times, at which point they have tenure. Many of those who were terminated were foreign language teachers, including those in the Spanish-immersion program, who had expertise but often lacked proper credentials. Many of the others were special education teachers, who must have special credentials.

Take note: The problem wasn’t expertise. It was credentials. Some of the teachers who lost their jobs had no marks against them in staff evaluations.

“Are we setting probationary teachers up to fail?” asked school board member Matt Valan, the only vote against the firings.

He’s also concerned about the number of teacher resignations this year.

“I remain troubled over the list of resignations – some, I am still convinced, were made because those teachers felt they had no other option but to do that at the protection of their own career,” he said.