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Should Teacher Layoffs Be Based on Seniority or Effectiveness?

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The MN House will debate today whether seniority should continue to trump effectiveness.

Proposed legislation would limit the role seniority plays when teacher layoffs occur due to budget cuts or student enrollment drops.

Supporters of the bill believe staffing decisions should involve several factors to “keep the most effective teachers in the classroom.”

Supporters of the current system, known as Last In, First Out, tout the importance of administering layoffs based on experience.

“Many teachers believe the seniority-based layoff system is a predictable one that recognizes experience…”

There is no denying experience is important. It is helpful in any profession. But experience alone does not guarantee success.

Opponents to an alternative layoff system fear educators with higher salaries will be targeted. But laying off only least experienced teachers, who are paid less, results in more dismissals and less money saved to fix a budget crisis.

Plus, more dismissals add to a concern over teacher shortage.

“Minnesota faces a growing shortage of educators in key specialties like math, science and special education. Teacher retention plays a key role in the shortage, with one in three educators leaving the field in their first five years.”

The teaching profession takes commitment, passion, and hard work. Educators should be confident their effectiveness and success will be respected and valued, not undermined solely because of seniority.

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