Sunday, February 26, 2017

Iowa teachers: Minnesota welcomes you

“Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system.“ — Sidney Hook, American philosopher known for his contributions to the philosophy of history, education, political theory and ethics

THE POST I wrote two days ago about the hardship that the loss of collective bargaining is inflicting upon Iowa teachers and other public employees as well as our state's education system, clearly struck a chord. In less than 24 hours, it became the single most-read post in Hey Look Something Shiny's six-year history.

As a follow up to that post, below is a letter to The Des Moines Register from a Minnesota school district superintendent thanking the Iowa legislature for treating teachers poorly. It seems our progressive neighbor to the north is in need of certified teachers and appreciates the encouragement our governor and legislators have given Iowa teachers to move there.

Minnesota superintendent thanks Iowa lawmakers for passing collective bargaining

By Joseph E. Brown Sr. 

February 17, 2017 

As the Fairmont Area School district superintendent, located in south central Minnesota, I want to personally thank the Iowa Legislature for dismantling Chapter 20 of the Iowa Code. You see, this country is facing a serious shortage of qualified and certified teachers.

Ten years ago, Fairmont would receive more than 100 applications for an elementary opening. Two years ago we had three openings due to retirements and we only received five applications and hired three of them. Last year we had a 5th grade opening due to a retirement and we did not receive any applicants. I had to personally recruit a teacher from a neighboring district that was a resident of ours to teach at Fairmont.

By the way, our starting salary is $40,000. Teachers at the top of our salary schedule may earn $70,000.

When Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin legislature reduced collective bargaining rights, Minnesota became the net gainer as we recruited Wisconsin teachers to relocate to Minnesota. I anticipate that if and when Iowa destroys Chapter 20, once again, Minnesota will be the net gainer by making it easier to recruit Iowa teachers to relocate to Minnesota. This will result in a shortage of Iowa teachers.

As a born and raised Iowan, I gladly tell people that I have the best of both worlds: an Iowa education and a Minnesota paycheck. Please note that I served two terms in the Iowa Senate from 1979-1986. During my first four years I served as the ranking member of the Senate Education Committee. During my last four years I served as the chairman of the Senate Education Committee and vice chair of the Senate Labor Committee. It doesn’t surprise me that the Republican legislators are pushing H.F. 291 and S.F. 213. It does disappoint me. It will result in Iowa becoming a loser and neighboring states becoming winners.

Joseph E. Brown Sr., superintendent, Fairmont School District 

1 comment:

  1. This is heartbreaking. It is also a perfect illustration of the difference between a Republican economy versus a moatly Democratic one.