The Minneapolis Public Schools district is trying to implement a plan for quality compensation known as Q Comp. The goal of Q Comp is to boost student achievement through professional development and merit-based pay for teachers. If passed, Q Comp will go into effect on October 1st, 2013.
If Q Comp is passed, the district will receive an additional $9.17 million in funding. A large portion of that money would support district’s teacher evaluation system put in place last year.
Q Comp was passed in 2005 under Tim Pawlenty. Participation is on a voluntary basis. According to the Minnesota Department of Education, the benefits of Q Comp include systematic reforms, expanded staff development, greater teacher retention, and improved effectiveness in the classroom. Merit based pay is a measure designed to reward effective teaching. A powerpoint presentation hosted by the Minnesota Dept. of Education’s website states, “All Q Comp schools reported higher teacher satisfaction with job.”
The district’s Q Comp proposal must be accepted by the school board and the local teachers’ union. Q Comp was proposed in mid-June and will be voted on by the union during the week of September 26th.
Robert Panning-Miller, South’s union steward and a member of the union executive board, is opposed to Q Comp. “Even though in the Q Comp proposal that’s out there, merit pay is a very small part of it… Q Comp is designed to promote merit pay,” he explained. Panning-Miller is opposed to that on the principle that it threatens the current system of rewarding teacher experience and education.
Panning-Miller is concerned that Q Comp is a means to fund the district’s evaluation system. The system puts extra strain on teachers and administration because of the paperwork, preparation, and time required to carry out evaluations on every teacher. “Good administration knows if there are teachers [who need help],” said Panning-Miller.
70% of the union needs to vote in favor of Q Comp for it to pass. According to Panning Miller, whether or not Q Comp passes depends on “how many people really take a look and get involved.” Those who participate in the conversations favor rejecting the measure, but his concern is that some will accept it because union president [name] supports it. “My hope is that Q Comp fails… the district should look at its evaluation system and cut it back,” said Panning-Miller.