Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Teacher Tenure Battle

It's hot, hot, hot--and I don't just mean the weather outside. I mean the battle over teacher tenure rights.

Everyone agrees: there are some bad teachers.
I don't think everyone agrees on how many. My own estimate would be--depending on the school--from 5-15%. And I'll have more to say about that, hopefully later next week.

The question is, what should you do about bad teachers? As with so many of these education issues, we sometimes agree on the problem but not the solution. I think the proposed tenure reforms are (most of them) misguided--but they are barreling through the legislature so you should certainly know about them.

Here is an overview from the Detroit Free Press.

And an advocacy piece from Grand Blanc and Michigan Parents in Support of School Funding (you can also join their Facebook page if you like):

HB 4625 (Rogers, R-66 Brighton) Amends the Tenure Act to do the following:
• Increases probationary period from 4 to 5 full years.
• Replaces 60 day notice with “end of school year “notice to a probationary teacher as to whether their work is satisfactory.
• Allows probationary teacher to be dismissed at any time.
• Requires probationary teacher to be dismissed if he/she has been rated ineffective on two performance evaluations within a school year.
• Gives School Board authority to determine format and number of classroom observations.
• Eliminates assumption of satisfactory performance if an evaluation is not conducted.
• Allows a tenured teacher to be returned to probationary status if he/she is not rated effective or better on the two most recent performance evaluations.
• Requires dismissal of a teacher who fails to have an effective rating on two consecutive performance evaluations.
• Establishes a limit of one probationary period.
• Mandates annual evaluation.

HB 4626 (Scott, R-51 Grand Blanc) Amends Tenure Act to do the following:
• Redefines demotion to mean a suspension without pay for 20 or more consecutive days or reduced compensation equivalent to 40 days.
• Replaces “reasonable and just cause” with “not arbitrary and capricious” for teacher tenure discharge.

HB 4627 (O’Brien, R-61 Portage) Revises the School Code to do the following:
• Requires School Board policy to provide for the placement of teachers based on mutual consent of the teacher and principal.
• Ensures that a principal has the authority to select teachers who have demonstrated effectiveness and who have appropriate qualifications.
• Requires that a teacher be placed on unpaid leave if a mutually agreed assignment cannot be reached to within 30 days.
• Requires evaluation system to include ratings of Highly Effective, Effective, Minimally Effective and Ineffective.
• Prohibits the use of seniority in the reduction of staff unless all factors are equal than seniority will count as the tie-breaking factor.
• Requires that during a staff reduction a teacher’s effectiveness must be considered, which includes individual performance is a major factor, increased student achievement is a predominant factor, demonstrated pedagogical skills, significant contributions above the normal expectation, demonstrated record of exceptional performance and relevant special training other than professional development or continuing education.

HB4628 (Yonker, R-72 Caledonia) Amends PERA and adds the following prohibited subjects of bargaining:
Decisions about the development, content, standards, procedures, adoption and implementation of personnel policies and decisions for:
o the placement of teachers;
o personnel decisions of all employees;
o elimination of positions, recall, & hiring after a reduction;
o evaluation systems;
o discharge and discipline;
o number of observations or format of classroom observations;
o method of compensation and performance based compensation.

WRITE or CALL the House Representatives listed below. Give them this message:

While some aspects of the tenure law could use revision, the prohibitive subjects of bargaining proposed in the four House bills being considered today are punitive and anti-worker. Local bargaining has been able to create very comprehensive and objective evaluation systems in our school district. Compensation, discharge, placement, and other personnel policies have been bargained in cooperation with our administration and if amendment is needed, it should be done with the local voices of educational professionals who have researched and trained to implement the "best practices" for an educational community.

Please consider legislation that will truly make our educational system better. For instance, smaller class size. With smaller class sizes we could spend more individual time with each student. Individualized instruction designed for a student's specific needs would be a reality. Make rules that will truly improve education. Quit demonizing the individuals who care most for the education of children - the public school educators of Michigan!

Representative Bill Rogers – R, Brighton
Phone: (517) 373-1784

Representative Paul Scott – R, Grand Blanc
Phone: (517) 373-1780

Representative Hugh Crawford – R, Wixom
Phone: (517) 373-0827

Representative Eileen Kowall – R, White Lake
Phone: (517) 373-2616

Representative Cathy Denby – R, Handy Township
Phone: (517) 373-8835

No comments:

Post a Comment