Michigan Education Association Joins Recall Efforts
The Michigan Education Association has officially joined efforts to recall many of the Michigan lawmakers who are supporting the new teacher tenure laws. The MEA has called the new laws, which await Governor Rick Snyder's signature, the "tipping point" and the reason they are now joining the recall efforts.
Freep.com summarizes a few of the changes the laws would create:
• Extend from four years to five the time it takes a new teacher to earn tenure protection.
• Bar districts from using seniority as a primary factor when laying off teachers.
• Require parents to be notified in writing if their child is taught by a teacher rated "ineffective."
• Add seven items to the list of things unions can't bargain for -- including placement of teachers, personnel issues related to layoffs and decisions regarding discharge or discipline of an employee.
The MEA believes the changes go to far, they say:
Our elected leaders need to know that we will not sit idly by as they try to dismantle public education, destroy the middle class, and defeat MEA and other public sector unions!
The laws have been widely supported by school administrators including Grand Rapids Superintendent Bernard Taylor. Taylor has called the laws "revolutionary" and "game-changing". Taylor is set to leave Grand Rapids Public Schools on June 30, 2012, but says he may have stayed longer if these laws were passed sooner.
Taylor said the law will force tenured teachers who might be struggling in the classroom to seek the help they need or risk being removed after a series of poor evaluations.
Teachers union leader Paul Helder responds to Taylor at mlive.com:
(Taylor) is excited only because this new legislation would allow him the opportunity to further exercise his own narcissism and pathological hatred of teachers through the termination of dissenters and their replacement with nepotism hires.
Wow. This is ugly and we've got a long ways to go. Snyder is expected to sign these bills into law, then we'll see what happens with the recall efforts. But all sides, even the MEA, have acknowledged that teacher tenure needs reform. What kind of reform is where the disagreement lies.
What would you do with teacher tenure in Michigan to best serve our students?