MSBA at the Capitol — Goodbye, LIFO? Teacher licensure bill heading to the House floor

MSBA at the Capitol — Goodbye, LIFO? Teacher licensure bill heading to the House floor

The House Education Finance Committee passed an amended teacher licensure bill Tuesday 13-7 on a party-line vote. The bill will now be sent to the general register and advance to a vote on the House floor.

The bill (HF 2) is sponsored by committee chair Rep. Jenifer Loon.

One of the biggest provisions of this bill is the end of the “last in, first out” (LIFO) method of placing teachers on unrequested leave of absence when school boards must make staff reductions due to budget cuts, reduction in students or consolidation.

Seniority can still be a factor in teacher cuts, but it would NOT be the ONLY factor under Loon’s plan.

Representative Jenifer Loon

Representative Jenifer Loon

“Teacher evaluation should be part of the process,” Loon said. “There should not be a default plan based on seniority.”

Loon’s wide-ranging proposal also aims to streamline the licensure process for out-of-state educators and encourage reciprocity, assist teacher applicants who are unable to pass Minnesota’s basic skills tests, and expand alternative pathways to teacher licensure.

MSBA’s Denise Dittrich testified again Tuesday in support of this proposal. Dittrich quickly praised Loon for making key amendments to her bill.

“Thank you, Rep. Loon, for extending the (bill’s) implementation date,” Dittrich said. “In the last hearing we pointed out the implementation date of 2016-17 is not realistic since school districts will not have performed summative evaluations for all teachers. We thank Rep. Loon for responding and delaying the implementation until 2017-18. Also, Rep. Loon has changed the use of ‘effectiveness categories’ to ‘effectiveness categories or rating’ … this will adapt better to the Teacher Development and Evaluation (TDE) statute.”

MSBA Associate Director of Government Relations Denise Dittrich

MSBA Associate Director of Government Relations Denise Dittrich

Dittrich said doing away with LIFO would provide school board members with “a tool to retain the best teachers when layoffs are required.”

Dittrich reminded committee members that adequately funding education is one way to minimize teacher cuts.

“School board members are responsible for these staffing decisions,” she said. “They need the flexibility to retain the best teachers for students.”

Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) Executive Director Gary Amoroso also testified in support of Loon’s proposal.

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