Gov. Dayton’s statements on LIFO indicate that the DFL version of education reform isn’t about the children. Here’s what he said that enunciates the DFL’s priorities on education reform:

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton today (March 30) indicated he would not sign a Republican marque education initiative, Last In, First Out (LIFO).

Indeed, Dayton styled LIFO, a push for allowing school boards to determine the order of teacher layoffs based on teacher effectiveness rather than seniority, as part of a Republican “onslaught” against teachers and public employees.

Teachers feel “demoralized,” said Dayton.

Rather than celebrating recent accomplishments in education in Minnesota, Republicans focus on “negative stuff,” the wrongheaded premise that the state’s education system is a wreck, Dayton explained.

I don’t give a damn if teachers feel demoralized. My first priority in this is giving school boards the authority to keep the most effective teachers, not those with the most seniority.

What’s so brilliant about a system that, theoretically, has the authority to keep a fossil with 35 years experience but then is force to terminate a teacher of the year?

Admittedly, it’ll take time to establish verifiable, objective, criteria to judge teacher effectiveness. If that’s what’s needed to put together an objective set of criteria for LIFO, then let’s get started with putting that criteria together.

As for Gov. Dayton’s statement that Republicans think that “the state’s education system is a wreck”, Gov. Dayton isn’t telling the truth. Gov. Dayton can’t point to a single statement from GOP leadership that reflects that thought.

Gov. Dayton isn’t attempting to be honest about why he’ll veto the LIFO legislation. This week, he threw another temper tantrum about charities not jumping on board with the Vikings stadium project.

Gov. Dayton will veto LIFO because his union puppeteers told him that it’s his responsibility to protect them. This isn’t for the children. It never has been. It’s always been about protecting EdMinn.

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12 Responses to “Wasn’t it ‘for the children’?”

  • eric z says:

    Do you see this assault on the teachers’ union separate from the ALEC inspired constitutional amendment effort, or overlapping, and would you favor the question – either question, being on the ballot as a constitutional issue? And why?

    What I see as workable, on the notion of being able to slough off bad teachers with seniority, and the concerns of workers in the schools, as a compromise, would be that the salaries of a school board be aligned highest to lowest, rank order, and if one in the high salary levels is jettisoned, then each below that moves up one salary rung so that the salary savings in any such decision would be the lowest level on that totem pole.

    That way the incentive to be chintzy on the part of a school board and adminsitrators is negated, and any firing judgment would be based solely – and properly – on effectivness in handling classroom education.

    Yes, there still could be partisan biases at play, but at least remove the economic icentive to screw over those making the highest levels of pay, for that reason and that reason alone. Remove that bias, and it becomes a fairer looking proposal, even if coming from Republicans.

  • Gary Gross says:

    As I’ve said, I don’t give a rip about the unions. My first priority is making sure that the best teachers, the ones that students learn from, are the people on the payrolls. If there are school cuts, which I hope there won’t be, I don’t want a fossil who’s been there 30 years & isn’t effective to stay while good teachers are laid off as a result of LIFO.

    As for ALEC, get over it. They’re a think tank. If legislators want to use some of their ideas, then customize it for their state, I’m cool with that. The legislation will rise or fall on the merits. That’s as it should be.

    Frankly, I’d love seeing citizens put in Data Practices Act requests to their school boards. Let’s find out how many people are teaching & how many are administrators & consultants. Then let’s find out what the administrators’ & consultants’ responsibilities are & how much they’re paid. Why should people’s property taxes go up to pay for dead weight that sits in offices? This isn’t a condemnation of all administrators & consultants. It’s just saying ‘let’s make sure the taxpayers’ money isn’t getting wasted.’

    My message would be “Pay as much as you need to but don’t spend a penny more than you have to.’ At this point, Gov. Dayton isn’t showing that he’s the taxpayers’ watchdog. There’s significantly more proof that he’s the union’s watchdog.

    That’s unacceptable.

  • eric z says:

    “Pay as much as you need to but don’t spend a penny more than you have to.”

    The problem there, experienced teachers, good or bad, end up at the higher pay rates. Don’t spend a penny more as an approach says, cut more expensive payroll first, keep the same teacher-student ratios, but with less expensive teachers, quality aside.

    I am suggesting an approach that would be payroll neutral. It would frustrate chop the costliest tree first attitudes. Allowing merit to be a larger factor.

  • Gary Gross says:

    You’re missing my point. First, sign LIFO so the best teachers are kept. Next,the point isn’t to cut teachers’ salaries. It’s to eliminate administrators & consultants from crony-approved positions.

    My point is that we’d have alot more money going into the classroom if we eliminate crony consultants & administrators.

  • Chad Q says:

    Teachers are demoralized? Tough. Why should anyone be able to keep their job just because they have worked some place for 10, 20, or 30 years and aren’t performing? I had lots of teachers in school who should have been fired but knew their job was safe due to seniority. Times are a changing and we need real change, and not the Obama kind of change either.

  • Jethro says:

    Maybe it’ a high time Gov. Dayton & the DFL get behind a student “union” or a parent “union” instead of a teacher’s union.

  • Patrick says:

    Jethro – good point!

  • Gary Gross says:

    That works with me, Jethro.

  • Rex Newman says:

    You have to admire Dayton’s consistency. If there’s a union involved, his position is 100% assured, legal or not. Republicans should be as committed to the taxpayers.

  • Gary Gross says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Rex.

  • John says:

    Unions protect teachers from being unfairly fired. For example, if you are a conservative teacher, and you have a liberal principal, which many are, then you can be fired for saying anything conservative in your classroom. By destroying unions, you just end up putting the teachers at the mercy of the principal, who is often a left-leaning socialist. So you should hope that teachers, all teachers, have some protection.

  • Gary Gross says:

    I don’t want to destroy teachers unions for the very reason you just mentioned. I just want contracts to be written in such a way that a) protects the best teachers & b) establishes a set of objective criteria that guarantees the best teachers are kept.

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