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Dayton Vetoes Wolf's Teacher Layoff Bill

Senator, who represents part of Fridley, cited Vikings' Tarkenton on LIFO reform.

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill on teacher seniority Thursday that was authored by Sen. Pam Wolf (R-51), who represents part of Fridley.

Wolf's bill, to teacher-union criticism, in February. It would end "last-in, first-out" (LIFO) seniority rules for teacher layoffs.

In a veto letter (see PDF), Dayton said Republican legislators "denigrate" teachers, and he derided the bill as "yet another example of this prejudice against public school teachers. Once again, they are singled out as 'the problem,' for which some legislators' solution is to override the long-established rights of local school boards and teachers' elected representatives to negotiate the terms of their employment and their dismissals."

In a statement, Wolf defended her bill:

“We worked in a bipartisan manner to draft a bill that benefits Minnesota’s teachers and students. When schools are able to retain good teachers, a child’s learning experience is greatly enhanced. As the policy stands, experience does not equal seniority. LIFO reform would have opened doors for effective, experienced teachers to move to schools where their skills are needed without the fear of being laid off for lack of seniority. Reforming the current LIFO system would have given our schools the tools they need to attract and retain effective educators who can provide our children with quality education. ...

"I am disappointed that Governor Dayton values partisan politics and special interests more than he values Minnesota’s school children. Along with legendary Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, I hoped that ‘the governor would turn some attention to something far more important than football: our public schools and a failed policy that’s hurting our kids.’ The governor failed to act on the opportunity to make sure we have the best teachers in our schools to educate the next generation of Minnesotans.”

(Wolf's statement quoted an op-ed column by Tarkenton supporting her bill that appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press last month.)

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Julie McMonigal May 04, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I would like to vote as "concerned". I would like to know how this bill would have helped school children at all? First of all I would be devastated as a parent if my children's teachers were laid off. I rely on them just like I would rely on my spouse. My children and I have developed a personal bond with their teachers (yes even the old ones) and to be honest I think it would have very emotional consequences on them. Second of all, we all know that sometimes people have to be let go, whether it be a Walmart worker or a teacher. I do not believe in the "last-in, first-out" and think that in order to make a decision on who needs to go, they need to evaluate those individuals on their work performances and ethics. Not just let them go because they were last to get hired. That's just dumb.
P. Scott May 04, 2012 at 06:55 PM
This is just another ploy to "blame" teachers for students' performance. A student performs for their parents approval, if parents do not value education, nor will their children. Having worked in a school setting for the last 13 years, I would suggest that Pam Wolf experience the situation before coming up with more "solutions". This is just another ploy to get rid of older, experienced teachers. The solution to education is the parent's involvement in their child's education. Until you see actual parental involvement, no changes will take place.
Tim Simonson May 05, 2012 at 09:26 PM
If Pam Wolf wants to make schools more like the business world than the "last in- first out" rule should be just fine for her. If I were hired at Walmart and then they started to lay people off I would expect to be one of the first to lose their job. Isn't that how it works? I don't know of any teachers who just sit around and do nothing and deserve to be laid off before anyone else. All of the teachers that I know work very hard at getting students to learn as much as they can. Shame on anyone who thinks that teachers don't work hard in today's schools. My kids have great teachers and they deserve recognition, not ridicule.
Tammy May 07, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I attended public schools thru 12th grade and had some wonderful teachers that I felt were better than some of the professors I had as an undergraduate in college. However, I also had some terrible teachers that didn't deserve to be in the classroom and I as well as anyone else in their classes deserved much better. No, I am not ashamed to think there are too many teachers hiding behind their union and tenure. The problem isn't all due to poor teachers but it also isn't all due to parenting as so many teachers are quick to claim whenever their performance is questioned. Regardless of this particular bill I find it hard to understand those who dispute any measures that would make it more efficient to allow school districts to get rid of underperforming teachers.
Greg Leaon May 11, 2012 at 06:34 AM
That's what she gets for voting against the "original" and the "revised" New Vikings Stadium Bill. I hope that she never gets re-elected or serve in office again! We got our New Vikings Stadium as I expected and they are here to stay! Shame on those in the MN House and the MN Senate for voting against this bill. They are totally clueless as to the ramifications if we would have lost them to another city. They are part of Minnesota culture, our lives, and an asset to our state. I bleed purple. Show your horns. Skol Vikings!!!

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