COMMENTS OF THE WEEK | The fight to keep co-teaching at Lucy Laney

The classroom teacher, sitting on the floor, is Scott Teigland and the co-teacher is Sarah Stark (standing.) (Photo by Sarah Lahm)

We return this week to issues highlighted at Lucy Craft Laney Elementary School in north Minneapolis. Three weeks ago featured open letter from a Lucey Laney parent pleading for extra funding to expand a co-teaching model that the school initiated in reading/writing and math instruction. Planet reporter Sarah Lahm presented the parent’s plea in a report making clear that budgeting and teacher-assignment procedures leave Lucey Laney with high staff turnover and a concentration of lower-paid, less experienced teachers.

On May 9 Lahm wrote a second Lucey Laney story, “Minneapolis principal fights for co-teaching to counter turnover and burnout.” This report too emphasized “the constant turnover of the teaching staff” for this high-poverty low-performing student body and the urgent need to strengthen both faculty stability and student achievement. Co-teaching, said the principal, is an effective, proven strategy to that end.

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Most reader comments this time avoided digging into details of co-teaching and whether Minneapolis Public Schools can afford it. Instead, interest focused on the background question of rookie teachers quick-to-leave in schools like Lucey Laney. What accounts for a staffing pattern that seems to penalize students with the highest learning needs? Some readers answered with their own strong opinions; others asked that reporters like Lahm look into it further.

For the full article and complete reader comments, go here. To get you started, here acre some comment excerpts:

Lynnell Mickelsen: Ive spent years pushing the district and teachersunion to make staffing changes that put kids first. At Lucey Laney the principal and teachers have stepped up to the task. Now its the districts turn to do the same. If the district doesnt, it will send a terrible message

Joe Nathan: The legislature allocates compensatory aid that is supposed to be spent to help students from low-income families. Perhaps Sarah can explore how much of this ends up at Lucy Laney.

Rico Ventura: [on new teachers transferring out…]  This is the way the system, dictated by the union contract, is designed to work. New teachers all start in the schools in the north and later bid to positions in the rest of the system through seniority. If you want different results, you have to change the contract.I suggest that teachers commit to the students of one school for a period of years no bidding out. Gasp! The contract will never be changed to allow this in Minneapolis, not with the union on both sides of the bargaining table. Sadly.

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CORRECTION: It's Lynnell Mickelson, not Kickelson - sorry for the typo!

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Anthony Morley's picture
Anthony Morley

Anthony Morley (anthonymorley at tcdailyplanet dot net) is a retired editor, reporter, teacher, principal and priest. 


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Since Lucy Laney is doing so

Since Lucy Laney is doing so well, why are teachers opting out.  One would expect them to want to stay in a successful program. 

In regards to the co-teachering model,  has the parents, teachers, community, principal consider applying for a grant, especially since they can point to an extremely successful model in their school.  Many granting agencies would like to see a successful model before funding it.

Lucy Laney has one of the highest discretionary funds allocated to it.  Is all of it being used wisely.  The district cannot rob from Peter to pay Paul.  All of the schools that have high levels of discetionary funds need to determine if the funds are used for the best education of the kids in their classroom.