The Michigan legislature is finally in the process of setting a new standard with the current teacher tenure reform bill. The House passed the bill this past week and it is now up to the Michigan Senate to move it forward to Governor Rick Snyder. The teachers have held the upper hand for quite some time now and finally some of the focus is shifting back to the students.
The bill would lengthen the time for earning tenure from four years to five. However, “top teachers” can earn it faster. Another part of the bill would allow a school district to put a teacher on probation after two consecutive years for sub-par evaluations (based partly on the student success rate). However, this probation is only the first step toward dismissal, and with unions and other regulations in place, the questions have to be asked: how long the dismissal will actually take and how much time do we actually have?
Another big part of the bill, and arguably the most significant, is that school districts will now no longer be restricted in assigning or laying off teachers simply because of seniority. While you can take this for what it’s worth, the direction with the most impact is quality. By allowing a school district to shift around their teachers, they actually have the capability to provide their students with a quality education, not just the quantity or “seniority” that may or may not meet bare minimum standards.
I personally think that this is a move in the right direction. While the Michigan Education Association, teachers unions and other organizations serve their purpose, their effect is lost when the quality education disappears. I don’t care how long you’ve been there, what your resume looks like, or how many kids you’ve taught in your career, if you’re not educating kids to the highest level possible, you don’t deserve your job. Just as with any job, if you’re only doing half the work, working half the time, or half-assing everything you do, you should be fired – it’s no different when it comes to education.
The United States used to be globally ranked as #1 in the world in education for many decades… now we’re down to #14 in reading, #17 in science and #25 for mathematics. Are you kidding me? On top of that, out of the 34 ranked OECD countries, the United States ranked third from the bottom in the percentage of 15-year-olds who are enrolled in school, ahead of only Mexico and Turkey!
Take a stand. Move in the right direction. Educate your kids, call your school boards, and push your local politicians to increase effective educational spending. I urge you.
Vote in our poll below and let us know what you think: