Minnesota's 2014 Teacher of the Year is losing his job.
Tom Rademacher is an English teacher at the FAIR School in Crystal, but due to budget cuts in the Robbinsdale Area Schools – and the "last in, first out" (LIFO) policy – he won't be returning to his classroom next year.
Rademacher taught in the district for the first six years of his career, during which he won the 2014 Teacher of the Year award. Then he switched districts. So when he came back for the 2016-17 school year, he was a newbie – and got to stick around for one year.
"Now I'm not going to get to stay" due to the LIFO policy, Rademacher wrote in a blog post Sunday. He said he's bitter, but noted the problem isn't just with the policy that rewards seniority – it's the lack of funding for schools.
"The order that we cut teachers is way less of an issue to me than the fact we are cutting so many teachers. There are groups that should be protected. Schools should not be forced for budget reasons to cut teachers of color, or math, or science teachers. It should also be said that we are doing no one, certainly not students and teachers, any favors by making new teachers start over and over and over again in the years that they most need stability and protection to do their jobs."
He said he understands that school districts are wasting money, so it's just easier to take it away. But "he's sick" of teachers and students "bearing the brunt" of bad decisions, noting schools won't do any better with less money.
"So I'm not interested in anyone calling for an end to LIFP who isn't also calling for an end to teacher cuts," Rademacher wrote.
As for what's next for Rademacher, he's got a book coming out (read about it in this story by MinnPost) and he wrote in his blog post that he's hopeful next year he'll be in front of another classroom of kids – and with any luck, the following school year he'll be in the same building, teaching a new year of students.
Teacher tenure debate in MN legislature
Rademacher's blog post comes as the Minnesota Legislature is debating school funding and job protections for teachers.
Last month, the House passed a Republican-sponsored bill that would require school leaders and teachers unions to come up with a plan for what to do when a district needs to cut staff, and it gets rid of language that says the fallback plan would be the LIFO policy.
Supporters of the bill say getting rid of the seniority rule will help attract new teachers and will keep the best teachers in the classroom.
The Pioneer Press says the bill hasn't been voted on in the Senate, and Gov. Mark Dayton has defended the LIFO policy in the past.
To read more about the "Last in, First out" policy and how it can affect schools, click here. Or watch Rademacher's TEDx talk about teacher tenure from 2014 below.