ST. PAUL (AP) - The Minnesota House has passed a controversial bill minimizing the role of seniority in teacher layoff decisions.

School boards would be required to include teacher evaluations in their layoff decisions if the bill becomes law. Republican proponents say that will ensure the best teachers stay in classrooms.

Democrats argue the move would foster competition between teachers. They point out that far more educators leave their jobs due to retirement or personal reasons than layoffs.

The bill also streamlines the licensing process for out-of-state teachers. That provision is aimed at curbing a shortage in areas like math and special education.

Republicans control the House and passed the bill largely along party lines. It faces an uphill battle in the Democratic Senate. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a layoff bill in 2012.