Editorial: Don’t undermine Minnesota Legislature’s education reforms

Jun 06, 2017

Star Tribune, Editorial board

As part of the state’s multibillion-dollar E-12 education package, Minnesota lawmakers approved two long-awaited and much-needed provisions governing teaching jobs. Under the new legislation, the state’s teacher licensing system was overhauled to make it more streamlined and less complicated. Overall, the changes create an easier, more sensible path to obtaining a license to teach in Minnesota.

The Legislature and governor also rightly repealed the provision in state law that makes seniority the sole factor in determining which educators are laid off when positions are cut for budget reasons. Known as LIFO, or last in, first out, the rule had been the legal fallback position when school districts and teacher unions had not negotiated exceptions to seniority-based layoffs. Removing LIFO from state statutes allows district managers more latitude to consider other factors when making staff reductions. It doesn’t necessarily eliminate seniority as a consideration, but it will no longer be the default.

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