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Our nation’s schools have become a national security issue. The United States’ failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy and maintain its leadership role, finds a new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)–sponsored Independent Task Force report on U.S. Education Reform and National Security.

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“Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk,” warned the task force, chaired by Joel I. Klein, former head of New York City public schools, and Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state. The country “will not be able to keep pace—much less lead—globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long,” the task force stated.

Whoa! That’s serious. What can and must be done to rescue the system for total failure?

Student First, a movement to transform public education believes the first step is to abolish “last-in, first out.” Generally, if it becomes necessary for a school district to initiate teacher layoffs, those layoffs would be based on length of service, “not the impact that teachers have on their students’ learning. That means, in most instances, some of the most impactful teachers in a district may be fired because they lack seniority.

A spokesperson for Students First, Jeri Powell, stated that ending the last in, first out policy by enacting state law, would work in concert with the teacher evaluation framework that is in place in Minnesota, with the approval of Gov. Mark Dayton.

The only groups opposed to this change in policy are bad teachers and the Minnesota Education Association, the union that represents state educators.

Right now, the Minnesota State House and Senate have passed measures to change the law. It is in a conference committee where members of both houses will work out differences between the two measures.

If the measure becomes state law, ineffective teachers will be the first to be laid off.

Unless this measure becomes state law, the findings of the task force will place our nation’s security in peril.

Our students will be the beneficiaries of this change in law.

Ultimately, the slump in our nation’s educational system will be eliminated and good educators will be rewarded for excellence in the classroom.

Keith Hansen

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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