Sen. Wiger Responds to House Teacher Layoff Action

Wiger Portrait

GOP-led House of Representatives voting to implement heavy-handed school lay-off policy

On Thursday the GOP-led House of Representatives voted to undermine a teacher evaluation process designed to ensure that our schools have quality educators in the classrooms. I am disappointed in the House’s action and urge legislators to allow our new process time to work for our schools and students.

The Senate DFL values and welcomes new teacher evaluation and development tools that were just implemented in the fall of 2014, based on a bipartisan Teacher Development and Evaluation (TDE) law that passed in 2011. This evaluation tool is fair and it works. It’s important to give these new provisions time to work before we throw another change at school districts.

Teaching has a proud tradition in Minnesota, and our state has a history of strong investment in K-12 education. Teacher quality plays an important role in the success of students and building the World’s Best Workforce. Recruiting and supporting teachers is key in their success, and the success of students. House File 2 is not about teacher quality; it’s about teacher layoffs. Instead we need policies that help us train and retain quality educators.

While I disagree with the fundamentals behind the GOP’s call for repeal of the way we lay off teachers, I also disagree with their timing. Their approach does nothing to enhance teacher quality in Minnesota, as they claim. The state’s new teacher evaluation law does — by ensuring teacher effectiveness is the focal point in making staffing decisions. The law also ensures every teacher is receiving evaluations throughout their careers. Without regular evaluations of ALL teachers, it’s impossible to write performance considerations into layoff language.

Not only does the House legislation disregard a newly implemented teacher evaluation law, it takes away local control and it costs the state around $1 million a year with significant unknown costs for districts. The House’s action doesn’t make sense if the goal is to support quality teaching and build the World’s Best Workforce.

For more information on LIFO or other issues, Sen. Wiger can be reached at sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn or by calling his office at (651) 296-6820.

Senator Chuck Wiger
Chuck Wiger represents District 43, which includes portions of Ramsey and Washington counties in the northeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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