Gov. Mark Dayton said he won’t sign legislation that would allow schools to lay off teachers based on factors other than seniority, reports Associated Press (AP) in NECN.com. He criticized the bill, calling it “more of a political ploy than a serious policy attempt” and said it was among several Republican initiatives introduced this year aimed at undermining teachers, public schools and unions. “It’s just another round of onslaughts, all with the underlying premise that public schools are failing,” the governor said.
Under current law, schools must lay off teachers by seniority unless districts negotiate their own layoff policy. The bill would let schools consider teacher performance before seniority when making those decisions. It would go into effect for the 2016-17 school year.The House and Senate passed different versions of the bill in February 2012, and a conference committee is working out the differences. The legislation would need final votes in both chambers before it could go to Dayton.
Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and the statewide public teachers’ union, Education Minnesota, both opposed the measure. Union leaders said that evaluations should take place throughout the school year and that low-performing teachers should be addressed before the layoff point.
Source: NECN.com, 3/30/12, By AP
[Editor's Note: Dayton (a Democrat) is bucking a trend, as a number of (Republican) governors have actively supported teacher tenure reform legislation in recent years. In March 2012 Legal Clips summarized an article in the Detroit Free Press reporting that a local teachers’ union was challenging aspects of Michigan’s Teacher Tenure Act in a federal lawsuit alleging that a controversial amendment made to the law in 2011 is unconstitutional. The amendment barred school districts from using seniority as the determining factor when making layoff decisions — tossing aside traditional “last in, first out” procedures.]