Teaching Profession

Minnesota Republicans Set Their Sights on ‘Last-in, First-out’ Layoffs

By Emmanuel Felton — March 24, 2017 1 min read
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A bill aimed at teacher seniority has sailed through Minnesota’s lower house.

The bill would require school districts to negotiate layoff plans with teachers’ unions. Currently, districts can negotiate such plans or can just use the state’s default system, which is based on seniority. According to Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers’ union, 60 percent of districts use the default option. Proponents of measures like this across the country say that “last-in, first-out” policies disadvantage talented younger teachers and thereby harm students. They argue that administrators should have more of a say in which teachers are dismissed.

State Senator Karin Housley, a Republican, will be pushing for the bill in the Minnesota Senate.

“There’s no incentive to work out a plan that’s in the best interest of our students,” Loon said, according to the Minnesota House of Representatives’ Public Information Service. “Let’s encourage and allow the collective bargaining process to work and develop a system that represents both what the teachers are seeking, and also what the administration would like.”

The 71-to-59 House vote was largely down party lines in a chamber controlled by Republicans, the open question is whether the bill can find enough support in the Democratic-controlled state senate and garner the signature of the state’s Democratic governor.

Democrats have already been lining up to oppose the bill.

“We have a teacher shortage. We should be focusing on making sure our schools have the resources they need,” said House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman. “This is just another Republican attack on protections in the workplace.”

CLARIFICATION: Language in this post has been clarified to better explain the effects of the law in districts that already negotiate layoff plans with their unions.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.