For Immediate Release | Apr 23, 2012
Poll: Overwhelming Majority of Minnesota Voters Back End to “Last In, First Out” Teacher Layoff Law
St. Paul, Minn. _ A new poll released today found that overwhelming majorities of Minnesota voters support ending the state's "last in, first out" (LIFO) law and support using a variety of factors to determine teacher layoffs in the unfortunate event they arise, rather than seniority alone. Lawmakers in both houses of the legislature are considering final passage of such a measure.
"Minnesotans continue to tell their leaders the same thing over and over again: they want to end this antiquated and harmful ‘last in, first out' policy because it is wrong and doesn't serve kids well," said Tim Melton, Vice President of Legislative Affairs for StudentsFirst. "People all across Minnesota – including thousands of StudentsFirst members – have called on the Governor to do the right thing and reform LIFO. These numbers point to the clear support that this bill has among Minnesotans."
Among the topline findings of the poll:
- Overwhelmingly (86%), voters say a "variety of factors" instead of "one main factor" should determine which teachers to lay off, in cases of layoffs.
- When given a list of potential factors, teacher seniority ranks toward the bottom of the list, below measures of teacher performance such as students' achievement (27%), or evaluations by principals and other teachers (18% and 19%, respectively).
- Taken altogether, 64% of respondents believe some measure of teacher performance should be the top factor, while only 15% of voters say that of seniority.
- Large numbers of Minnesotans clearly want to see the LIFO law changed. A clear majority (62%) want to change current law to allow "a variety of factors, including teacher performance, to determine which teachers get laid off when there are layoffs." Support for a change exceeds opposition by more than 5-to-1 (11% oppose). After hearing balanced messages from supporters and opponents, support for changing the law increases to 69%.
In recent weeks, Minnesotans have spoken out in force about the need to end LIFO. StudentsFirst members alone have sent thousands of letters to the governor's office, and made hundreds of calls as well, urging him to listen to Minnesotans and sign this bill.
About the poll:
This survey of 600 respondents was conducted April 14-17, 2012. Respondents were reached by telephone, using a Random Digit Dial (RDD) sample. A 500-interview representative statewide survey was supplemented by a 100-interview African-American oversample. All participants were screened to be likely November 2012 voters. The margin of error for the sample overall is +/- 4.0%, while the margin of error for subgroups may be larger.
The poll was commissioned by StudentsFirst and conducted by Momentum Analysis, a leading Democratic polling firm whose experience in Minnesota includes work for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the Minnesota Long Term Care Imperative, and Democratic candidates for Congress and Governor.
Formed in December 2010 by former Washington D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, StudentsFirst is a bipartisan grassroots movement of more than 1 million members working to transform America's schools so they work well for all kids. In its first year alone, StudentsFirst members successfully helped advocate for passage of more than 50 new, student-centered policies in half a dozen states, and our movement continues to grow every day.