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For those of you who don't know, Michigan legislators passed major "reforms" in the teacher tenure law on June 30, 2011.  It hasn't been signed into law yet, but Republican Governor Rick Snyder is sure to do so.  

This four bill package that was passed increases the length of time it takes to be granted tenure in Michigan from four years to five. It also allows for a probationary teacher to be let go at any time for any reason.  It also changes the language regarding firing a tenured teacher for a "reasonable and just cause" to one that is not "arbitrary and capricious."  Basically, a teacher is guilty until proven innocent instead of the other way around.  "Not arbitrary and capricious" is the lowest standard, but the legislators argued that it was the middle standard, with "reasonable and just cause" being the highest standard.  These legislators claim that most employees are "at will," which really is no standard at all.

Also in this bill package is a "mutual consent" rule which requires that both the principal and the teacher agree on the placement of the teacher.  You may feel that this is not a big deal, but picture the following scenario:  I have been teaching 12th grade English for 10 years and all of a sudden my principal wants me to teach 6th grade English.  I am certified and qualified to do so, but will I excel at it?  If I don't agree, I can be placed on unpaid leave until I do.  So now, principals can place teachers in areas where they are certified, but maybe not best suited to be teaching.  The students' test scores will count as part of that teacher's evaluation (more on that later), so if a principal wants to evaluate out a teacher, all he/she needs to do now is to place him/her into a position where he/she is likely to to struggle.

Next is the teacher evaluation piece.  The legislators didn't really want to hammer out a complicated evaluation system in this bill, so they just came up with the idea of creating a governor's council to decide the particulars.  What they DO want, however, is an increasing percentage of student test data to be used as part of a teacher's evaluation.  By the year 2015, 49% of a teacher's evaluation will be based on student test data (what they call student "growth" data).  Nothing like putting the cart before the horse!  Really, I'm sure that legislators have been told that they really don't need to worry about a teacher evaluation system because there are already so many out there to choose.  My biggest fear is that they will choose a really bad one such as Michelle Rhee's IMPACT.  Here's an analysis from someone objective about that one. Another system that has been used here in Michigan is the Oscoda System.  It is a merit pay system that also uses student test data as a portion of a teacher's evaluation.  In this document, the administration actually admits that money is not a good motivator at all times for teachers.  

 I contacted via e-mail the head of the Michigan House Education Committee, Representative Paul Scott, about the evaluation system.  I was under the impression (mistakenly) that the Education Committee was going to work on some of the particulars of it over the summer.  I received a response back from one of his staff members (I'm sure Rep. Scott was really busy) that advised me that the governor's council has not even been named yet, but when it is, maybe the information I have would be better served if I shared it with them instead of Rep. Scott.  So, the head of the House Education Committee doesn't really want any teacher input.

The last part of this legislative package, but certainly not the least, is the bill that the MEA objected to the most.  It limits collective bargaining topics.  NO longer may unions negotiate

policies governing teacher placement or personnel decisions. An employer's performance evaluation system. Decisions about a policy for discharging or disciplining employees subject to the tenure law, and the discharge or discipline of an individual employee. Classroom observation decisions. A performance-based method of compensation. Decisions about parental notification of ineffective teachers.

Basically this strips the teachers of most of their collective bargaining rights.  Unions can still negotiate wages and benefits (that is until the health care bill passes and teachers must pay more for their health care).  This seems to be what the people of Michigan want, with the exception of the teachers.  There has been a myth here that it is impossible to fire teachers and that the reason we have so many failing schools is because they are full of highly-paid, lazy, free-loading teachers and it is time to get rid of them.  I read the comments on all the education articles.  There's no love out there for teachers right now.

Political journalist for the Grand Rapids Press, Peter Luke wrote a column in Sunday's paper titled "Effective tenure reform requires political, professional competence."  His article suggests that the MEA should not be upset with the new legislation because it was endorsed by our Democratic State Board of Education.  He also says that other states have been doing similar things (apparently that makes it right). He says the legislation "adopts the national reform consensus that student performance depends on a quality teacher in the classroom."  Again, just because everyone else is doing it doesn't make it the best action to take.  Republicans have wrapped this "reform" around the idea that it is what is best for children, something they detest when teachers say it.  This is NOT reform at all, just another way for Republicans to control the show by taking away union power.  In the end, it will NOT improve educational outcomes because it does not address the real problem of failing schools.  Republicans aren't listening though because what we really need are some more social programs to help children in impoverished districts.  No way, they won't go for that...

Originally posted to CleanSlate on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 07:52 PM PDT.

Also republished by Education Alternatives and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Test scores shouldn't be used at all (6+ / 0-)

      Junk science.

      Test scores measure what matters least.

      Use performances, portfolios, Learning Records, and exhibitions.

      Does the football team sit in a desk on Friday night and fill in bubbles on a standardized test about the rules and history of football?  Hell no, they play the game.

      Does the concert band sit in a desk on Tuesday night and fill in bubbles on a standardized test about the musical scale and the history of music.  Hell no, they play the concert.

      Why doesn't the history team or English team or Math team get to play the game or the concert?

      "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

      by neaguy on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 10:26:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Snyder's plan is to get rid of public education. (17+ / 0-)

    Not public education "as we know it" -- public education, altogether.

  •   Snyder (9+ / 0-)


    has Got to Go!


    thx for the info CleanSlate


    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 08:54:14 PM PDT

  •  Author- don't move to Texas! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MGross

    I teach at a charter school in Texas, and our contracts are at-will.  That means either party can terminate the contract for any legal reason at any time.

    As far as placement, we have no say in that at all, nor have we ever.  

    I'm a pretty liberal guy- but just about nothing I have seen convinces me that unions are good for students.  In fact, most of what I have seen has convinced me that not having unions is better.

    This is because unions seem to create an adversarial atmosphere between teachers and just about everyone else.  And if school leaders aren't in control of their own schools, they can't do what is best for the students.  

    I disagree that teachers are 'screwed' in Michigan- It sounds like there needs to be a lot more getting a long between everyone involved- and unions just seem like an inconvenient, and unnecessary middleman.  If teachers are professionals, why do you even need a union?  

    That is my view- I've never been a part of a union, but that is my rational view.  

    •  You can terminate a contract for a legal reason? (8+ / 0-)

      Can you give a specific example of that?

      Unions do not necessarily create an adversarial atmosphere. I have worked in non union states and states with strong unions. In my experience, there are some districts that have adversarial relationships between administrations and teachers. I found that in two states where there were either weak unions or no unions.

      In schools that I have taught in with strong unions there was an effort on the part of the administrator to listen to the teachers and to work together for the sake of the students.

      Atlanta has an association, not a real union and the teachers were pressured into cheating. At least it appears there was definitely pressure for them to cheat.

      I am happy that you are happy in your non-union job. However, you haven't taught in Michigan, so why would your opinion about their schools be rationale on this topic?

      I don't mean to pick on you, but, there are good unions and not so good unions, just as there are good teachers and not so good teachers. There are also good principals and not so good principals. Anytime any one group has too much power it can lead to problems for student learning. For example, a dishonest principal could reward teachers who cheat for their students on tests by giving them the highly academic students the next year. A teacher might blow the whistle on this, but, without union protection, would be likely fired.

      All leadership systems need accountability, openess and checks and balances. Unions often provide that. Michigan is known for quality education.

      •  Good and Bad (8+ / 0-)

        You, in my opinion as a retired family counselor, left out the most important part of the equation.  There are also good and bad PARENTS.  Those who are actively involved in therir child's education and performance and those who are not.  Too often I saw poor performing students who arrived at school without having done any of their homework, half asleep because they spent their night playing computer games or texting, stoned from drugs, or emotionally strung out from their family's dysfunction.  Of course the education reformers/teacher haters ignore these issues and blame all school problems on teachers and their representatives.

        •  I've often commented that some parents think (14+ / 0-)

          sending a kid to school to be educated is the equivalent of dropping their clothes at the dry cleaners.

          So many kids having trouble at school not only do not have their parents invested in education, but live in choatic households where there's no quiet place for the student to study, 'crises' just about every day, etc.

          Kids can't learn in that environment.

          My mother was a school nurse in Compton, CA - a low income black and Latino neighborhood.  She kept in her office and home a supply of boys' & girls' clothes and shoes to give to kids who couldn't go to school because they lacked those items.

          That's a tough environment to try to learn something.

          HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

          by HylasBrook on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 06:25:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Truer words have never been spoken... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            not this time, HylasBrook, WillR

            There are some really bad schools in this country, but in almost every instance, parents are contributing to the mediocraty and expecting teachers to be miracle workers.  Inner city schools have so many problems on all sides (teachers, parents and students) that it is hard to know where to start fixing the problems.  In those really bad inner city schools, I am in favor of trying new solutions, like charter schools, but they need to be accounable as well.

            •  The Place To Start Is With Classroom Discipline... (0+ / 0-)

              But unfortunately, requiring students to follow basic rules is no longer part of education.

              And it is not just a problem with low income kids.  Parents of all groups no longer expect their kids to behave or be prepared for school.

          •  bad parenting is a symptom (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53

            of a horrible economy.

            •  That is highly debatable. (0+ / 0-)

              Historical evidence alone would doubtless disprove your claim.

            •  Certainly it makes things worse (0+ / 0-)

              and I've had principals from schools all over the state remark that to me independently, that the kids seem just a bit more on edge these last two years.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 04:54:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I Disagree... (0+ / 0-)

              For many years now, I have seen parents with young children shopping long after their young children should be in bed.  It appalls me to run to Wal Mart at 11:00 pm to get somethng I need the next morning and see a parent doing a cart full of shopping with to kids that are Grade School age.  This happens during both good and bad economies.  It is just a sign that parents have become more selfish.

              I know, you will say that they probably work two jobs and this is the only time they can shop.  I hear the excuses we make for bad parents.  But I lived in a small town where you know many of the people you see at the store.

          •  Agree that there are many parents... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HylasBrook

            that approach parenting as managing a series of placements of their kids to achieve the desired growth experiences along a programmed path, school being one.  As you point out the reality for many is that kids actually do much of their learning outside of school and bring that wisdom and skill development (or not) into the classroom.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

            by leftyparent on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 07:28:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Legal Reason for terminating contract (0+ / 0-)

        I should explain this... Generally the terms of ending a contract are spelled out in the contract.

        An at will contract generally offers the weakest protection for the employee.  The wording usually says something like, "either party can terminate the contract for any reason or for no reason."

        What I meant by legal is, even though the contract says any reason, it's not really true.  For instance, it's illegal to terminate a contract because someone is pregnant (violates the FMLA), or because someone is black (violates the Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution).

        So an at-will contract means the contract can be terminated for any legal reason.

        Did I answer your question?  

      •  My view on unions (0+ / 0-)

        I don't claim my view on unions is very well informed at all.. it's definitely not.  I'm pretty open minded about the whole thing, but I think I'm more balanced than people in union states, because I can see how people work just fine with out it.  

    •  I would never teach in Texas (8+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't last one school year in Texas.  I teach U.S. history and I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to deal with the textbooks in Texas.  I'd be fired for bringing in my own material...

      You seem to be in a really happy place in your career.  I read your diary the other day about charters.  Maybe with a few more years under your belt, the idealism will fade and you will become more cynical like I am.

      •  I hope not! (0+ / 0-)

        If I become cynical, I hope I will quit for the sake of the kids.

        As far as choosing instruction- it depends heavily on the district.  Texas is very decentralized with education.  Even within individual schools you will see very wide variety on how instruction is delivered, even if the curriculum is the same.

        It's a good balance, as long as the school leaders are good- and that's the kicker.  I would hate having an admin. breathing down my neck, so maybe that's why I am in a good place.  

        •  Ok, so... (0+ / 0-)
          It's a good balance, as long as the school leaders are good- and that's the kicker.  I would hate having an admin. breathing down my neck, so maybe that's why I am in a good place.  

          So what protects your ability to teach to the fullest of your abilities for 30, 35, or 40 years in the same school if you're admin is breathing down your neck? One can simply not trust having solid admin in a school for any extended period of time. School Admin folks job hop and ladder climb like crazy.

        •  Cynicism doesn't extend to the children (0+ / 0-)

          Please don't think that I am bitter and that it affects my job.  I love the kids and what I do in the classroom.  My students have no idea about all of this political stuff.  

    •  your problems (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, lorla, NYCteach, ladybug53

      such as being at will, adversarial atmoshpere and placement are not due to unions it just means you need to be in a union,  if you have one is not powerful enough. Teachers = unions and all professionals need unions.

      •  Saying people don't need unions is like (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JanL

        saying companies don't need management, that said people have to be responsible for what their union does and if there are bad teachers being protected by their union, then teachers themselves need to take care of it.  Set your own standards and make sure the union enforces them, don't wait for the administration to use these poor performers against the good people that are doing their jobs.  Teachers need to set their own standards for student accomplishment, contracts with parents, homework must be done, appointments must be kept, contracts with students on behavior standards, bad behavior can and should create failure and as in business, document, document, document.  

    •  As I said before, you are mistaken. (14+ / 0-)

      And, foolish.

      If my Union, flawed as it is, didn’t exist:

      I would have classes of 40 plus.  I already have 5 classes of 34.  Teaching administrators have no limits and they have students sitting on the floor.

      I would have no heat.  That was a fun school battle.  Oh, there are no rules on schools being too hot, just too cold.  It’s lovely when kids start fainting in your room because it is 100 degrees, crowded and no AC.

      There would be no supplies.  When the school ran out of paper and chalk teachers were told to buy their own.  We took out our contract and showed they had to supply it.  The administrators were spending the money to buy themselves ipads!

      The administrators could force teachers to change grades to passing.  (They already do this, but having a Union makes it harder for them to fire teachers).  Go ask Atlanta’s teachers who spoke up and got fired because they spoke up about the cheating.

      Principals would hire their friends only.  They would fire the expensive and noisy.  Even when they are the best teachers.

      When you are out of a job because of your yearly contract and no Union, you will think differently.  I bet it will happen around year 8 to 10. If you have a job, your salary will be low and you will be just a lowly cog with no way to protect yourself or your students.  

      Some young and stupid teachers in NYC started groups that were anti-Union.  Guess what?  Most of them were denied tenure.  They got what they wanted, no protections.  They aren’t so anti-union now.

      •  Year 10 (4+ / 0-)

        I was forced out of my job at a non-union school at the end of my tenth year.

        That fall, I was given two courses I had never taught and that no curriculum or texts existed for. I was told about one 48 hours before school started and the second 12 hours before school started. Then I was marked down on an evaluation for not having a syllabus and information for parents available on the first day of school for the second course. I was also heavily critiqued for the two courses not being structured as they allegedly had when last offered twelve years before.

        It's called a set-up. Principals not limited by unions do such things all the time.

        As well as a problem with parents and the issue of poverty, my sixteen years in education and the experience of my friends working in all sorts of systems in several states indicates a massive problem with manipulative and just downright incompetent administrators.

        •  That's horrible! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BB Jam Fan, DeeDee001, judyms9

          This is an example of what will happen here in the near future.  I'm so sorry this happened to you!  Are you still teaching, or did you leave the profession?

          •  Left (5+ / 0-)

            I didn't look for another teaching job. I taught high school English and history for 16 years. I loved my students and I loved it when I could close the door and teach. But I worked for five principals in two systems and not a single one was competent. They were petty and manipulative and childish. Most of them were consumed with making parents happy and having winning sports teams (which in the words of one of them "are the face of the school to the public" and therefore most important).

            The parents were horrific as well. In my second to last year, a father who was a police officer in town was upset about his son's senior project and harassed me outside of school including driving by my house or having his colleagues do it in order to intimidate me. The principal shrugged this off as harmless and suggested our department pass the kid even though he had not completed the project. Not doing so was brought up in my final evaluation a year later.

            When you add a complete lack of job security to the mix, the job is not worth its rewards anymore.

            •  That's where tenure came from (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Neon Mama, BB Jam Fan

              Tenure protects teachers against treatment like what you described.  I can't wait until I have a school board member's child in my AP U.S. History class not getting the grade he/she thinks his child should!  How long until I get evaluated out then?

              True, most teachers don't go into teaching for the pay but for other types of rewards.  When you have to deal with local politics on top of all of the other demands of the job, AND no job security, the rewards are not enough to keep us in the profession.

              I hope you have found a profession that brings you happiness!

    •  Unions don't have to be adversarial (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      They can also be used to come to consensus, particularly when there is a shared goal amongst all the people involved - which is a great education for the kids.

      The key is to make sure all the adults in the room share that goal in the first place.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 08:55:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Better an adversarial atmosphere (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      judyms9

      than an abusive one.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 03:55:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Doctors have been forming unions in recent (0+ / 0-)

      years, ever since most hospitals became for-profits.

  •  Unions are under attack because they force states (13+ / 0-)

    to pay fair wages to their teachers and because teachers have input, they lower class size. This is expensive, so the Tea Party doesn't like it. Their children have grown and they don't want to pay for other people's kids to go to school.

    The teachers in Michigan pay union dues out of their own pay. They choose to have the union negotiate for them. That way, there is a contract. That way there are clear expectations.

    The reason people aren't "getting along" in Michigan is because class sizes are going way up. In Detroit, some classes will have 60 students.

  •  WHEN this happens in WA., we'll DESERVE it! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DWG, caul, peregrine kate

    I don't know about Michigan's teacher participation in all things electoral -

    doorbelling, leafleting, rah-rah-ing, community out reach, letters to the editor, going to school board / legislative meetings, ...

    but in WA., we 80,000 WEA members could NOT be more invisible.

    the pols love us and respect us and ... boo hoo ... get your kleenex out ... sniff sniff ... noble profession ... sniff sniff...

    AND THEY DO NOT FEAR US.

    Of course, it doesn't help that those who rise to the leadership are obsessed with this lefty infantile concept of "unity" where we're all gonna be at 1 huge rally

    weep weep weep

    hugging and sharing and empowering and glowing

    weep weep weep

    and the venal rules makers will stop making venal rules cuz of our over powering i-have-a-dream glowing empowered-ness !!

    yawn.  

    Given the obsession with political stupidity, it is therefore perfectly "reasonable" that "political" action consists of incessant awareness raising meetings by various parts of the choir preaching to the choir - for the relative few who are 'active'.

    Our state union does manage to trot down to the legislature all kinds of teachers for heart wrenching testimony about how stupid policy = stupid results -

    well, except you can't say

    "stupid policy = stupid results, AND,
    IF you keep doing stupid policy,
    we're gonna get rid of your stupid ass",

    cuz if you're blunt,
    cuz if you make a promise you can't keep,  

    then you won't be invited to a seat at the table of rubber chicken buffet!

    (pst - I'm a high school math teacher in Seattle, I've taught for 6 years, I'm 51 - and has ANYONE noticed that none of this drippy tele tubby happy happy shit has worked since Ronnie Raygun was elected over 30 years ago?)

    Does ANY working stiff deserve to be treated like the scores of millions of current junk-mart employees are treated?

    and you don't fight for yourself,
    and you don't fight for the junk-market community members,

    nope -

    except when you have it better than most,

    AND, you have your head up your ass -

    Robert Murphy
    Seattle

    good luck to you.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 03:25:06 AM PDT

    •  The MEA is not strong (5+ / 0-)

      Not enough teachers have been involved politically.  There were many teachers who voted for Snyder because he was a businessman and thought he would be able to solve Michigan's financial problems.  They now have buyers remorse.

      I was a the Capitol lobbying the day that this horrible legislation passed.  Unfortunately, there were only about 200 teachers there watching.  Where were all the teachers?  Where is all the outrage??

      •  Read Naomi Klien's Shock Doctrine to answer some (6+ / 0-)

        of those questions.

        "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - Ronald Reagan - 1980

        by livjack on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 06:28:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've gone to appx. 20 different (3+ / 0-)

        education-y events in Seattle in the last year ---

        3 school board meetings,
        8 or 12 local Democratic Organizations,
        Leafleting education deform events funded by Bill Gates ...

        and I see some subset of the same cast of characters, all the time!

        there is always different 3 or 6 of us out of this larger group of ...40? 80 ??

        AND WHERE ARE THE REST OF THE 4000 Seattle Education Members?

        +++++

        now - I do this stupid shit cuz this is what I do - I don't do NASCAR or painting or NFL or wood working or knitting - so I do NOT expect others to do what I do.

        BUT - it drives me nuts how stunningly inept and incompetent the SEA / WEA is at getting people out, just a little, just a bit --

        and I'm really really really starting to see some of the underlying problems to getting people just a bit involved-

        and 1 of the BIGGEST obstacles is this incessant bullshit "progressive" obsession with "Unity" and touchy feely happy happy crap, cuz it means that until we all agree to show up together and glow in unity together and weep together in glowing unity power, cuz that is unity,

        NOTHING gets freaking done!

        Hell - do the math - there are 80,000 WEA members.

        IF we all did something political 4 times a year

        that would be 320,000 somethings.

        that would mean that the pols would see at the summer street fairs UNION members leafleting and tabling, pols would see at any and all community events UNION members leafleting and tabling, pols would have UNION members doorbelling and doing literature drops and phone banks and and and and and ...

        and that would mean that the pols would NOT mess with us.

        OH, by the way -

        cuz we are NOT fighting for the junk mart employees,

        cuz it looks like we don't give a rat's ass about junk mart employees,

        guess what?

        junk mart employees don't give a rat's ass about us!

        ugh.

        oh well - keep up the fight & good luck.

        rmm

        Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

        by seabos84 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 08:33:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Teachers are not known for their activism (0+ / 0-)

        because what time they have is usually devoted to (1) a second job, (2) school prep, or (3) professional development via college course work.  Communities don't like their teachers to be uppity or leaderly; they like them to be servile public servants.

        •  I'm not a teacher, but if I were... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CleanSlate

          I'd be pushing for teachers to adopt a new strategy than the classic "us and them", labor and management paradigm of most traditional unions.  This is the paradigm where the unionized workers fight to be a major player in the management of the organization and in doing so take on more responsibility for the effectiveness of that organization.  I'm talking about innovative models where teachers run their schools (possibly with or without a principal "staffing" them as part of the governing body.)

          This is a huge paradigm shift, and not something that can be done in the short term.  But I feel it is a profound path forward for transforming our schools through a new more egalitarian governance model, appropriate for an institution in a country with stated egalitarian goals.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

          by leftyparent on Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 07:19:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I can't begin to list all the things that are wron (6+ / 0-)

    wrong with this legislation:

    There has been a myth here that it is impossible to fire teachers and that the reason we have so many failing schools is because they are full of highly-paid, lazy, free-loading teachers and it is time to get rid of them.  I read the comments on all the education articles.  There's no love out there for teachers right now.

    That's the meme that has been pushed by the right for just about any public servant except firemen and policemen.  It's a meme also used for people on welfare, unemployed, disabled, or needing help that will improve their lives that uses government money.

    Then lowering the for standard for firing tenured teachers - Not arbitrary and capricious- makes them vulnerable to all the social and religious conservatives who want schools to teach 'their' version of history and science.

    It's easy to see in your example how a school district can get rid of a teacher with seniority by assigning them to a grade level they are certified for, but haven't taught it for many years.  

    Being able to fire well paid, dedicated tenured teacher and replacing them with low paid ones just out of college (and eager to pay off student loans) can save tons of money.

    Clearly they are more interested in quantity of education than quality.

    HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

    by HylasBrook on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 06:17:43 AM PDT

  •  It just makes it easier for a Principal to hire (7+ / 0-)

    the son/daughter of a "friend" or "bridge" partner by getting rid of any teacher in the position that that friend's child wants.....and keeping that person without "evaluating" him/her because the evaluation doesn't really count.

    And that is done now in many districts....who says nepotism is passe??? I can cite cases here in Illinois. There have always been ways around the laws and the Unions, but Michigan has made it legal and easier.

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 06:29:40 AM PDT

  •  If it is not reform, stop calling it reform. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, judyms9

    You are accepting the Republican framing.

  •  I'm not a teacher, but if I were... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misterbodine, judyms9

    I'd be pushing for teachers to adopt a new strategy than the classic "us and them", labor and management paradigm of most traditional unions.  This is the paradigm where the unionized workers fight to be a major player in the management of the organization and in doing so take on more responsibility for the effectiveness of that organization.  I'm talking about innovative models where teachers run their schools (possibly with or without a principal "staffing" them as part of the governing body.)

    This is a huge paradigm shift, and not something that can be done in the short term.  But I feel it is a profound path forward for transforming our schools through a new more egalitarian governance model, appropriate for an institution in a country with stated egalitarian goals.

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

    by leftyparent on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 07:23:58 AM PDT

  •   ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, BB Jam Fan

    I teach in a public school in Texas, and although we don't have unions here (just organizations), I respect and am grateful for those states who do, because they help establish a standard for the rest of us.  If you are new, you haven't seen some of the things that happen in education and can't realize how much worse it could be.  

    Wait and see how you feel when you are called in and told that your job is gone and you find out that someone the principal knows is taking your place.  That person may not do a great job, but that is not what they are looking for here.  

  •  Nuts, I thought I was going to learn a new way to (0+ / 0-)

    screw.  Still a good diary though.

  •  All teachers are screwed, not just in Michigan (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, ladybug53, BB Jam Fan, judyms9
  •  the funniest part of this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, elfling, ladybug53
    "adopts the national reform consensus that student performance depends on a quality teacher in the classroom."

    and where does anything he proposed attract quality teachers?

  •  wait until we have no public education (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckybadger1988

    the Rs want the kids to be home schooled or taught online.  it will not be long before they eliminate schools altogether.  it is happening.  Indiana now offers online public education.

    You could not pay me enough to enter the teaching profession as it is publicly vilified.

    •  Michigan too (0+ / 0-)

      Schools are selling seat waivers to an online company that peddles high school courses.  Some districts on the west side of the state actually have "blended" learning where students are online two days and in class three days a week.  That way, they can pay the teachers less.

      •  It depends on how effective the online class is... (0+ / 0-)

        For example, I can see getting rid of half of a foreign language teacher and replacing that instruction with Rosetta Stone (keep the teacher instruction for cultural and other items and let the computer do the rote vocabulary and basic grammar).

        I learned a moderate amount of Spanish in three years of taking it, but I've learned a lot of French by just taking Rosetta Stone for a few months.

        I am in favor of any method that makes students learn better, whatever it may be.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 07:10:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Do US govt employed tortures get tenure? (0+ / 0-)

    Or can any psychopath become a high-paid waterboarder on the taxpayer dole?  I mean, geez, what are the requirements?  And who do we value more?  Torturers or teachers?

    "Whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people."--Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox

    by lebkuchen on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:01:47 PM PDT

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