Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Error in Star Tribune Article on our Q-Comp Proposal

You may have seen the article in today’s Star Tribune about the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) signing off on our proposal ( ).  In there, they say our district “would scrap it’s ‘steps and lanes’”.  That is not accurate.

Lanes would not change at all, steps would be modified.  Steps would be called “Performance Increments” and could be withheld if someone was not at a proficient level on their observations two years in a row.  Now, there already is language that says steps can be withheld for performance reasons in our current contract, but it is rarely (if ever) used. Districts that have Q-Comp currently say it is also rare in their programs that someone doesn’t get to move to the next step. This modification is required by the MDE for all Q-Comp plans.  I’ve included more specifics after my signature.

It is a change – and one people should consider carefully – but it doesn’t “scrap” our current system.

Chances are this won’t be the last inaccuracy we see in the media. In this case, someone in the district office misspoke (an honest mistake). We’ll work to get you the real story when the errors pop up so you can make an informed vote on March 8th and 9th.  Thank you to the eagle-eyed members who brought this to our attention and keep the questions coming,


The specific steps on handling performance increments are laid out in the Appeals Process portion of our proposal:

For those who do not successfully complete their observations, there will be options for additional support from the evaluators, colleagues, or administrators along the way. If those do not work, participants can appeal to the Q-Comp steering committee which is made up of half educators appointed by AHEM and half administrators.

If the appeal is not successful, the participant will not receive the incentives and the next year the participant will be on a formal PAS process with their administrator. If the observations in the second year are also not successful, the participant will neither be awarded incentives nor get a performance increment (step) on the salary schedule. 

The standard for success on the observations will start out lower at first to give us time to get used to the plan.  For the first year of our program, success means earning a rating of Proficient or Distinguished on 3 out of the 5 components of the instructional (or equivalent for those not in a regular classroom) portion of our current Performance Appraisal System (PAS). The second year, you’d need to be Proficient or Distinguished on 4 out of 5 components, with the standard moving to being Proficient or Distinguished on all parts of that portion by year three and each year thereafter.