Minnesota Lawmakers Take on Teacher Seniority in a "Low-Key" Manner

Here’s a headline from a Minnesota Public Radio news story that should cause some sleepless nights for leaders of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers: “Teacher seniority, NCLB top education in low-key legislative session.”

The story reports that Minnesota lawmakers want to end the practice of basing teacher layoffs on seniority rankings, a disgusting practice known as “last in, first out.”

The state currently mandates “that schools use quality-blind seniority privileges for retention decisions,” said state Rep. Pat Garofalo, a Republican, according to MPR News.

“That doesn’t work; it’s being widely criticized. I think we’ll take a look at repealing that,” Garofalo said.

Here’s why this story should have teacher union leaders reaching for the antacid. Not only is “last in, first out” in danger of being repealed in the union-friendly state of Minnesota, but a left-wing media outlet describes the proposal as being part of a “low-key legislative session.”

Not that long ago, the idea of repealing teacher seniority in the land of Al Franken, Paul Wellstone, Walter Mondale, Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey would have been unthinkable. Efforts to do so would have provoked great angst and ugly protests.

Now, it seems obvious and inevitable. Readers can almost see the reporter shrug his shoulders as he writes the story.

Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers union, has promised to fight the legislation. Who knows – they might even win this particular battle.

But given the blasé attitude surrounding this story, it appears that education reformers may have already won the war.