Minnesota’s statewide teachers’ union does not “scorn” Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposal to change the way teachers are paid, contrary to a paraphrased comment in your Feb. 2, 2005, article on alternative compensation (“Governors Seek New Teacher-Pay Methods”).
The remark was attributed to a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Education. Had you actually contacted the teachers’ union, Education Minnesota, you would have learned that we have been involved in some very productive meetings with the department on alternative compensation.
Education Minnesota is, in fact, interested in exploring professional compensation systems that can do a better job of attracting and retaining effective teachers while improving teaching and learning. We do believe that any such system must be collectively bargained at the local level and must be consistent with several essential principles. Those include fairness, predictability, high-quality mentoring and professional development, adequate and sustainable funding, and no reduction of basic salaries.
Alternative compensation is not a quick solution, nor is it cheap. We hope Gov. Pawlenty will support the time and resources necessary to do it right.
St. Paul, Minn.
A version of this article appeared in the March 09, 2005 edition of Education Week as Alternative Pay Plans: Not Cheap or Quick