Posted: 05/04/12 14:02
by Dave Mindeman
Governor Dayton vetoed the Republican LIFO (Last In First Out) bill. The bill that would have taken out LIFO as a key bargaining position in teacher contract negotiations.
The GOP reaction
?"The governor has dealt a major blow to teachers, schools, students and parents across the state,? said the proposal's chief sponsor, Rep. Branden Petersen, R-Andover. Petersen and other supporters met with Dayton repeatedly to urge him to sign the bill. Petersen issued what he called a ?public apology? for Dayton's veto. ?I am sorry that Governor Dayton chose to side with big-labor special interests and sell out our children's futures."
I have had a few people argue with my position in support of LIFO, saying that this blocks emphasis on teacher evaluations that the public supports.
But EdMN leader,Tom Dooher, had the line that sums it up:?The priority should have been making layoffs unnecessary."
Republicans have focused, not on properly funding education, but on how to make cutting funding more efficient.
If you keep starving the education system, you have to have a scapegoat. The teachers union is the easiest target. They have control of classroom and they are the biggest expense item on the education books.
If we fully invested in education then LIFO wouldn't be a factor in budgeting. We could keep most of the teachers that are hired. School districts generally hire teachers because they are needed, not to create heavier expense numbers. If we need them, then we should properly fund the district to keep what is necessary.
The Republican legislature, led by Chair Pat Garofalo, have convinced us that funding cuts is now a fact of life. It is what we have to do in education. And, to him, teachers are the biggest problem. They just demand too much.
Do you know any rich K-12 teachers? I am not talking about college professors or administrators. I mean the people in the actual classrooms. Handling 30 some kids. Dealing with supply issues. Working with old technology. Buildings that are crumbling. The ones who buy supplies themselves. The ones who work "off the clock" at school events and clubs. The ones who stay after school to help a kid with understanding math or geography or writing. Those are the ones I'm talking about. How many of them are punching gaping holes in school budgets because of high salaries? I'm guessing none of them.
Yes, we can talk about teaching evaluation. Yes, Governor Dayton has been involved in getting that in place. But before we erase bargaining tools for the core employees in our schools and force salary levels down and lower quality over time, let's give the ideas in place a chance to work.
The priority should be to make layoffs unnecesary. That should be our goal. We need more teachers not less. We need to upgrade technology. We need to innovate with minority education. We need to listen to the people who are closest to the kids....the teachers.
The legacy of Republican (and some Democratic) ideas in education are onerous.
Cutting budgets are the norm. School shifts are a target for budget shortfalls. Teachers are supposed to have less bargaining tools. And the pressure on education funding sources, namely property taxes, is increased by LGA cuts.
Education is the key to our future growth. That is not just some slogan...it is an undeniable fact. Business depends on education for its work force and for its innovations leading to increased productivity. Business should be persuaded to increase its investments in education. The state should increase its investments in education.
It is time to refute GOP talking points on all aspects of this.
Fully fund. Upgrade technology. No more layoffs. That's the ticket.