MN Teacher of the Year Loses Job

The 2014 award winner lost his position in the midst of a teacher shortage in Minnesota.

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Image Credit: Minnesota Department of Education

MINNEAPOLIS — Tom Rademacher was once awarded one of Minnesota’s highest educational honors, as he was named Minnesota’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.

In a WCCO profile written back in 2014, Angela Davis describes Rademacher as a well-known and well-loved teacher. Rademacher, who taught English to grades six through twelve, made a shocking announcement on Twitter:

“If anyone knows of good English positions next year, please let me know. I lost mine today to budget gremlins.”

Rademacher blamed the loss of his job on the LIFO policy adopted by most schools. The Last-In, First-Out policy gives preference to teachers with seniority, the more years worked by a teacher at a school, the greater the job security. Rademacher, who taught at a different school than the one he received his award with, was on the chopping block since he started teaching at the school only a year prior.

Budget cuts in school districts are not uncommon as many teachers face the chopping block every year in many Minnesota schools. However, as MPR reports, Northern Minnesota is facing a teacher shortage. In fields like math and science, and for special needs educators, schools in northern Minnesota are facing high turnover as new teachers are not seeking rural jobs as their first choice.

Current legislation making its way through the chambers of St. Paul’s Capitol building would eliminate the LIFO policy currently in place in many Minnesota communities.  The Pioneer Press reports that Republicans, who are backing the bill, see the removal of LIFO and the delegation of teacher layoffs to school districts as a way to bring new teachers into the fold. Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) told the Pioneer Press, “We have a problem attracting and keeping new teachers.”

The bill has passed through the House, but faces pushback from Gov. Mark Dayton said according to the Pioneer Press, “he was open to school leaders negotiating local plans, but he opposed changes to layoff language currently in state law.”

 

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