Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Teacher layoff, license bills taking shape in Minnesota

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House and Senate education committees started putting the finishing touches Thursday on competing bills to update key state education policy. The legislation includes common ground on streamlining how Minnesota teachers ...

 

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House and Senate education committees started putting the finishing touches Thursday on competing bills to update key state education policy.

The legislation includes common ground on streamlining how Minnesota teachers are licensed. But the bills differ when it comes to the tests students are required to take and whether school administrators must consider teacher performance when making layoff and staffing decisions.

State lawmakers tend to break along party lines on issues of testing and teacher union rules.

The House bill, where Republicans are in control, includes changes to teacher seniority rules that would require districts use performance as a primary criteria when making decisions about layoffs and staffing. State law now allows, but does not require, districts to consider performance and other criteria when cutting staff.

ADVERTISEMENT

Most districts now rely primarily on a system of “Last in, First Out,” also called LIFO.

Supporters say with seniority as the state’s default, it’s tough to negotiate new systems that rely on other criteria. Opponents, including most Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members and state teachers union Education Minnesota argue districts already have the tools they need to hire and fire teachers.

The Senate bill, where DFLers are in the majority, includes a provision to reduce the number of Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, or MCAs, students must take between third grade and high school. Gov. Mark Dayton wants to eliminate early math tests and reading tests in middle grades as well as three college readiness tests.

Supporters say students take too many tests and instruction time is lost to test preparation and administration.

Opponents, including Republicans and members of the business community, want to keep the MCA tests because they believe they are the best measure of how schools are performing. They worry eliminating achievement tests will result in less information about students’ academic skills and the achievement gap between poor and minority students and their peers.

The House education policy bill does include making the ACT college readiness tests optional for students, which was recommended by a recent test reduction working group.

Both bills include changes to teacher licensing that would streamline the process for candidates from out-of-state and from alternative training programs. The bills differ on other provisions to make it easier for “community experts,” candidates who would not otherwise be eligible for a teaching license, to get into the classroom.

The House legislation cleared committee Thursday; the Senate will spend more time debating its bill Friday.

ADVERTISEMENT

If the bills are approved by the full House and Senate they will head to a conference committee where Republicans and DFLers will have to work out their differences.

 

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
What To Read Next
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.