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Posted on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.

Gov. Rick Snyder signs major changes to teacher tenure into law

By Kyle Feldscher

This story has been updated

Gov. Rick Snyder signed teacher tenure reform into law Tuesday, the final step for some of the most sweeping changes made to Michigan’s education system in decades.

Now, the work will begin to implement the changes called for in the new package of four laws.

The laws end the practice of school districts making staffing decisions based on seniority, with classroom effectiveness now being a main consideration for administrators when making staffing decisions.

The laws also extend the period it takes to receive tenure from 4 to 5 years, with teachers able to be dismissed at any time during the probationary period.

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Gov. Rick Snyder

“Making staffing decisions based on merit and performance encourages good teachers to keep doing what they are doing and helps ensure students receive the highest quality education,” Snyder said in a statement, adding that the reform will help keep enthusiastic, quality teachers in the classroom.

The reforms also require teachers to continue earning effective ratings in order to keep tenure, and school districts will have to notify parents in writing if their child is taught by a teacher who is rated ineffective.

Snyder also signed legislation into law that will make it easier for school districts to share resources by allowing superintendents of intermediate school districts to also serve as the superintendents of a local school district.

Questions still surround the legislation, with many school officials waiting for clarification on the changes. Many have wondered how the state will judge teachers to be effective, with “student growth” as the only parameter set forth so far.

John Austin, president of the Michigan State Board of Education, said the tenure reforms signed by Snyder Tuesday were among the recommendations the school board made to the governor in Feburary. He said the next step will be for a commission appointed by Snyder to determine the answers to the questions that still surround the legislation.

"Going forward, the key effort will be to make sure the teacher evaluation system that the law calls for ... will be fair, objective and based on the right measures," Austin said. "The state board of education will be weighing in on that."

The laws have been hotly debated among education advocates throughout the state since Snyder laid out his plans for teacher tenure reform in his education address in April.

Proponents of the legislation say the reforms will allow teachers who are consistently ineffective to be weeded out of the state’s classrooms in favor of more quality teachers.

However, critics such as Ann Arbor Education Association President Brit Satchwell, believe the reforms reflect an attempt by state lawmakers to industrialize education.

Teacher tenure reform stories

Here are a few stories chronicling the tenure reform process:

Satchwell said earlier this month that the reforms represent state lawmakers heading in the wrong direction regarding education. His term for the end goal of lawmakers was “Teachertrons.”

“They’re taking an inspired profession and take all the inspiration and heart out of it,” he said. “We’ll end up with a bunch of factory workers and that’s what the people at the top want.”

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

I hate to say it, but Snyder finally got it right this time. After the horrific teachers we encountered in Ann Arbors system, we are throwing confetti. But I hate to say it though, how does it help when we already have horrific teachers that are already tenure. Does this end theirs completely? I surely hope so. For the sake of the parents who have to deal with the teachers we dealt with in certain schools in Ann Arbor. With this law now? I poise to aim it at our childs hi school teachers. I am so ready to end tenure and keep the teachers who need to stay and get rid of the riff raff that wants to spoil it for all.

John B.

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.

@ERMG: Indeed! My children both went through AAPS schools. They both attended (and now have degrees from) highly-selective colleges that are featured in the "colleges that change people's lives" book. To say that AAP Schools have nothing but 'horrific teachers' is patently false, and ignorant.


Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 12:52 a.m.

jna131 - There is some hope that those few deadwood teachers or the more common ones who blatantly refuse to follow Federal law about providing accommodations for students with disabilities will lose tenure and therefore leave teaching. It will take a minimum of 2 annual evaluations in which they are found "ineffective" overall on the measures that are adopted, one of which is required to be "growth in student achievement". For the teachers who don't teach well, or teach much, but who have been coasting along, depending on the intelligence of AAPS students to ensure that their class average is at least at grade level, beware! Measuring the achievement growth of every student means EVERY student. Not just the average, not just the ones above or below average, but all. I would be DELIGHTED to see my kids achieving at least one years' growth per year of instruction, rather than having their SAT and IQ scores drop 5-7 points every year they spent in an AAPS high school. @Ghost - You quote averages, and jns was talking about a few specific individuals. My family has also have encountered a few horrific teachers in AAPS along with a slightly larger number who are doing a fantastic job and the great majority who are pretty good but not great. I am extremely happy to see AAPS forced to evaluate all teachers annually, and then eliminate or publicly justify keeping those few (1-2% of the total) who will be rated ineffective twice in a row, as this new law requires.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

Given that the AAPS is considered one of the best school districts in the state, and given the success of AAPS graduates in gaining admission to some of the nation's best colleges and universities, when a parent makes a blanket statement about the "the horrific teachers we encountered in Ann Arbors [sic] system," I tend to conclude that the problem laid outside of the teacher and their classroom. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

The practice of teaching and the principles of learning are known to people all over the world. In the east, this understanding is reflected in our behavior. Teacher is called "GURU" as he/she primarily dispels ignorance by imparting education, providing information that leads to knowledge if the information is properly assimilated. We keep the teacher or guru on a high pedestal and treat the person with utmost respect, reverence, and very often worship the individual attributing a sense of divinity to the person. This attitude of showing respect actually helps the learning process and transforms the teacher into a very effective communicator. It improves teacher performance by changing the attitude of the learner while the teacher could be a bad performer. Learning requires attention, good listening skills, and a sense of devotion and discipline. By treating a bad teacher with a sense of respect, a student acquires and imbibes more knowledge as compared to a student who has no respect for the teacher who could in reality be a person of higher learning and knowledge. Teacher performance depends upon student participation in their own learning process. I would suggest that teachers could attend workshops, and seminars when schools are closed and could be retrained on a regular basis using resources in the District.


Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 12:26 a.m.

Thanks for that response. I am asking you to learn a tradition that is practiced in the East. Give respect to your teacher and then you learn better. By giving respect you are motivating yourself to learn better. You are taking the initiative and when you complete the process of learning, the teacher has earned your respect for having taught you.


Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

Respect is earned not given.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

Slick and his teapublicon constituency have one , maybe two purposes only in mind, and a good education for our kids has absolutely nothing to do with it. Why anyone would think that Slick is interested in our childrens' education after he robbed the K-12 education fund to hand his wealthy constituency a fat check is way beyond comprehension. I agree with those who say that this is an attack on those who would stand up to teapublicon class warfare. Retribution may have some small part but in general, the destruction of the middle class is far more important to them. The main purpose Slick has in enacting this additional piece of robbery is to reduce teacher wages. This happens in business all of the time. The people who get layed off first are, workers (not executives) who, are on average the highest paid. During Slick's destruction of Gateway Computers, he had plenty of experience with this. Tenure assures that the longest employed, and therefore generally highest paid, teachers are protected from this age and wage discrimination. Therefore in the republicon playbook, tenure is evil and must be destroyed because it threatens to keep some of the wealthiest from paying zero tax. After all, the roads, military defense, commerce regulations, contract enforcement, and treasury expenses that overwhelmingly go to the support of their grossly disproportionate accumulation of wealth should be paid for by those who can't afford to buy goverment office. Right?


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

I really wish people would listen to the actual teachers who are in the trenches working their butts off against all odds at times and against HORRIBLE administrators (at times), and students and parents from very very dysfunctional homes. I worked in Detroit Public Schools for three years and let me tell you- NEVER did the papers print the most important and obvious issues that were going on. If you REALLY want to know what's going on- DO NOT DEPEND UPON the major news media outlets such as the Free Press or even this paper. Just one SMALL example- do people realize that about six years ago DPS asked its teachers to loan the district ~$5, 000 each from out of their paychecks, to be paid back approximately three years later? What other profession loans money to its bosses? (That's when I opted out- just in time it turns out- I don't loan money out unless I am ready for it to not be paid back.) This concept is bad enough by itself but consider that the district often shorted paychecks such as mine to the tune of ~$8,000 over my last two years of employment. I spent countless hours trying to get paid by incompetent payroll employees including the manager himself. Do you think the union helped get those funds back? Who but a fool loan money to such an un-credit worthy applicant in the first place? Granted, the district actually made good on those loans, but in my opinion that was a 50-50 bet. Several years ago, the district upped the ante- ~$10,000 from each teacher to be paid back over the next several years? Oh no, to be paid back WHEN YOU LEAVE THE DISTRICT. I knew single mothers paying $500 out of each paycheck and putting their groceries on a CREDIT CARD while the district used the teachers as their credit card.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

As a good teacher who will benefit from this, it is a disaster and people should get as far away from this as possible. I want to teach because I love it, not to please some politician or to determine my paycheck. I could use help, but this isn't what we need....


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

I wish that the parents of many of the students would also get evaluated. The blame for ineffective student development is more on the shoulders of the parents than that of the teachers.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

Has any one here actually read the legislation? Parsing stuff when you haven't even read a single line.... (I haven't either, and so will refrain from commenting one way or another.)

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Yes, I have, unfortunately. The mental pain of plowing through the legalese is worth it once you see what is at stake. But it's not light reading.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 11:32 a.m.

Let's just start telling the truth. None of this legislation has anything to do with helping children. Teachers and their unions have supported Democrats for years. In order to keep their supporters happy, those Democrats have protected the best and worst teachers at the expense of students. Now that Republicans are in charge, it's revenge time. Of course, this revenge is not fueled by the want to help children, rather, it's revenge against teachers for supporting Democrats over Republicans. These Republicans will do anything and everything to stick it to teachers, even if it means hurting our children by driving the best teachers out of the profession. Research shows that parents are the biggest factor in their children's success, yet this legislation hold teachers responsible for those very factors which are beyond their control. In this fight, children are just collateral damage. Anyone who thinks our politicians actually care about our children in public schools is a fool.

John B.

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

Well-said, mmppcc!


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

mmppcc - So trying to move bad teachers out of the classroom, is revenge? Sorry, I do not buy this position. While there may be some level of dislike in the Republican Right Wing, as I read the bills, they are trying to: 1) give the school boards more flexibility in who they retain when they have to downsize. 2) provide an objective framework for teacher evaluation (as opposed to a subjective one) - and YES, we don't know exactly what that framework will be 3) give the schools a longer period to evaluate new teachers before they are committed to them 4) provide a reasonable path for removing bad teachers If it was revenge, the state could have: 1) mandated a 187 day school year (think Gov Engler) 2) mandated teacher pay 50 or 100 percent of health care 3) mandated a single state wide employee health care plan with 1 administrator (putting the MEA's MESSA out of business) 4) removed tenure completely and made teachers purely at will employees 5) removed the right for teachers to be represented by a union 6) created a single statewide teacher contract with the state having the right to assign teachers to schools 7) increased the retirement age for teachers to 65 8) moved all teachers with less than 10 years of teaching time to a 401K program Now doing all of this to teachers would be revenge. But Governor Granholm and her team suggested 1,3 and 8 at one time or another The Republican Lead Senate rejected a mandated percentage of health care contribution And no one is seriously proposing the others.

Lac Court Orilles

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 11:26 a.m.

Mr./Ms. DB Holden: The new tenure laws will insure that a "great" teacher who for one year gets assigned a half dozen special ed students will be fired because test scores in the classroom go down. With these laws the death sentence for a career end will happen when a teacher gets assigned some difficult special education students. The best teachers can handle special education students, but now with Slick Rick's new laws none of them will want to teach any special education students. Slick Rick created this harmful situation, and it's not fair to special education students. AND most school administrators were once teachers who couldn't cut it in the classroom and went to administration to get an easier and higher paying job. Now with Slick Rick's uneducated attacks on tenure, the great teachers will be evaluated and fired by administrators who couldn't teach the class themselves. Why oh why do we allow Republican politicians who hate teachers because most vote democratic make dramatic decisions about the nature of public education? Why? Why? Why?


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Lac Court Orilles - As I read the laws, one bad evaluation will not get a teacher fired. I would suggest you take a good look at the laws and read the text of the bills. Your post is pure fear and no facts. Please take the time to read the actual laws.

no thanks

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

The below comment is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. It's mostly the other way around: most teachers don't go into school administration because most parents are nuts. Some have the people skills and the patience and THOSE are the folks who go into administration. Getting paid $150,000 as a superintendent to manage a 500 teacher, 3000 student district is not worth the money and I applaud that they do it for so little. Find me a CEO that makes $150,000 with that many employees... "AND most school administrators were once teachers who couldn't cut it in the classroom and went to administration to get an easier and higher paying job."

Fire Rick

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 10:20 a.m.

Sign the petition to recall Rick Snyder at any one of the following locations during the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Petitioners will be available to take signatures on the RECALL petition AND the petition to REPEAL Public Act 4 (the Emergency Financial Manager Law). Hours are July 20-23, 10 am until 9 pm (except for Saturday which only goes until 6 pm). 1. BOOTH – on E. Liberty between Division and Fifth Ave 2. SHUTTLE DROP – at the intersection of State and S. University 3. PIONEER HIGH SCHOOL SHUTTLE – in Pioneer High School Parking Lot at Stadium and AA-Saline Rd 4. AATA BUS TERMINAL – on Fourth between William and Liberty 5. MAPLE VILLAGE PARKING LOT – on N. Maple Road between Jackson and Dexter Ave 6. DIAG – near the Block M 7. ENGIN ARCH (WEST HALL) – at the intersection of S. University and E. University 8. ASHLEY & LIBERTY INTERSECTION – can move to intersection of Fourth and Liberty if traffic is light 9. SHUTTLE DROP – at the intersection of William & Main St


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 10:47 p.m.

I hate to say it, although he sucks at some things? He is doing great by me in getting rid of tenure and making the teachers accountable. This will make my job a lot easier once September hits. Thank you Gov Snyder.

Thick Candy Shell

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

I don't want to recall Snyder, I just do it to cause problems for the people who are petitioning! I think he is doing a great job!

Billy Buchanan

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

Who would want to recall Governor Snyder? He's doing a great job.

Thick Candy Shell

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

That is great, 9 more times I can sign!

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:35 a.m.

There are lots of reasons to be worried about this legislation aside from the whole tenure discussion. Rather than less testing, this law will require more: a pre- and post-test on each subject. Testing will have to be pushed down to Kindergarten and up every year through high school, or else the 50% of the teacher evaluation based on &quot;objective measures of student growth&quot; won't be available. These tests don't currently exist, and even if you believe that the tests truly measure &quot;student growth&quot; (I don't), and no one knows where the money will come from, or how much more time will be sacrificed from the school year to prep and administer them. The issue is not whether or not ineffective teachers should be in the classroom; everyone - including teachers' union officials - agree that they should not. The question is, how do you evaluate them accurately? The MEAPs currently cover math and reading skills, and a writing test has recently been added back for some grades. But think of the average elementary teacher - they teach all that and much more (science, social studies, not to mention citizenship skills, etc) only some of which are tested, and that only in a couple of grades. Does a fifth-grade teacher get all the credit for how a student &quot;blossoms&quot; as a writer that year, even though it was based on teaching that had been done since Kindergarten? Child development is not smooth, and testing for growth each year ignores the fact that &quot;growth&quot; does not manifest itself on a regular schedule. Tests do not get at the growth we're really interested in. Evaluation systems in Toledo, Montgomery Co. MD, and elsewhere have been in place for years. They emphasize evaluating teacher practice, and providing tools to help all teachers become better practitioners. And they have been very successful. AAPS has been working on a similar model. See our article on the legislation before it passed: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

I think you missed my point, Steve. Whether one likes it or not, the MEA is the state's teachers in many people's minds. That organization and its leadership have failed miserably over the last decade to respond to a changing environment, much as did the UAW. The leadership's ultimate bankruptcy came this spring with its call for a state-wide strike vote. It lacks credibility across the state of Michigan and, from conversations I have had with many of its members, it has a real problem with credibility within the organization, as well. Near as I can tell the MEA has no answers except to fight everything. That is a strategy for organizational disaster and, hence, disaster for public education in the state. Yes, the question is how to move forward. I sincerely doubt that the MEA's leadership has the first clue how to move forward. I doubt it has the first clue who its friends are and who its enemies are. I doubt they have the intellectual or psychological flexibility needed in this environment. So yes, how to move forward is an important question. But an equally important question is who will represent the interests of teachers and of public education as we move forward. The history of the last decade strongly suggests that the MEA's leadership is singularly unsuited to that task. Good Night and Good Luck

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

DonBee: the same might be asked of our school board and district leadership. In fact, I don't know that they *haven't* been doing it, just that it has not garnered press attention. But the bruising budget battle, and bringing in a new superintendent while dealing with a spate of high-level retirements, clearly has set them back. In any case, I regard this as a top priority for anyone who cares about K-12 education in Michigan.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

It may well be that MEA leadership has played their cards poorly in the past, but that is of little interest to me. What does concern me is the very serious and corrosive impact this new law will have on our schools and therefore our children. With, or without, help from the teachers' unions, our elected representatives ought to be acting in our best interest and not enshrining into law radical changes to education based on little but ideology. As to seeing it coming, it was the sweep of state legislatures by Republican candidates that gave this effort more momentum. Unfortunately, the motivation often seems to be partisan politics rather than educational improvement. Briefing papers from Michelle Rhee's Students First group show that they were instrumental in helping to draft the legislation here and elsewhere. Colorado, for example, has a similar &quot;Governor's Council&quot; to choose evaluation methods. But seeing the changes the Senate leadership made to Rep. Tim Melton's original bill on evaluations is instructive.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 5:07 p.m.

Wonderful points. Very well-stated.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

@Steve: Let me preface this by saying that I have long defended teachers on this website, and tire of the ilk of people who make ignorant and angry posts about them. That said: If what you say is true, the only people who teachers have to blame for this circumstance is the leadership of the MEA. This has been coming for a long time, yet the MEA steadfastly refused to cooperate in making any meaningful changes to the teacher tenure law. Rather than working with a governor and 1/2 of a state legislature that was friendly to it, the MEA refused to make any concessions whatsoever. So now, with no friends in Lansing, it has a tenure bill it hates. They can only blame themselves. And if my description of the situation is wrong--if the MEA was willing to work toward meaningful tenure change for the last eight years--then the MEA did a horrific job of getting its message out. And if this is the case, this too is a massive leadership failure. In any event, from where I sit, the entire upper-level leadership of the MEA ought be sacked. Time to bring in new faces with new ideas and with new attitudes. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

Mr. Norton - And so why has not the AAEA and AAPS been very busy lobbying to have that system put in place by the state, instead of staffing recall booths? The only way to make the things better is to dig in and help!


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 3:43 a.m.

How smart to sign something into law without a clear, fair, and effective method of enforcing it already developed. D'oh!


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

Mr Norton - Pieces of the Health Care Reform Act are already on line, the state is laying out an extra $700 million dollars this year for the unfunded mandate and the rules for how to add people under this mandate have not been released yet... It happens with lots of laws, at both the state and federal level. A couple of counties in the UP are still waiting for rules on land purchased from a private owner by the state several years ago. Governor Granholm made it a priority to buy the land, but never followed through on the rules for the use of that land.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:53 a.m.

Yes, and the major parts of the health care law don't come on line for some years. Schools will have to be implementing this (using for teacher evaluations) by the year after next. The state &quot;approved&quot; system is not expected to be determined until next spring.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:50 a.m.



Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:39 a.m.

Yes, how did we pass the Credit Reform Act, the Health Care Reform Act, TARP, and the Simulus Package in Washington? All of these bills required months, if not years of work to work out the details behind the high level policy in the bill. Almost every bill passed today at state or federal level needs thousands of pages of regulations writen after the bill is passed into law. The Health Care Reform Act created 20 new groups that have to write parts of the final regulations. So, how smart is Washington? D'oh!


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

God bless you Rick Snyder. Keep up the good fight.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 2:34 a.m.

I'll be okay with teacher salaries being tied to student performance when teachers have the authority to fire their students. Until then, a teacher hoping they get the classroom of kids who a.) are capable of learning, b.) want to learn, and c.) do well on standardized tests so they can keep their job is pure nonsense. Would you even THINK about going into a profession where the food on your table was dependent upon luck of the draw between the two parent, affluent, piano lesson taking, ballet recital giving prodigy and the heroin baby raised by grandma who couldn't pull his or her eyes off of a Nintendo DS? What would progress for either of those be? Is teaching the first to speak French the same as teaching the second to tie their shoes? This issue doesn't have a right answer. Never has, never will.


Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 6:20 a.m.

KJMClark - The folks I was working with are union members, they are on the job by seniority. Unless we reduce the workforce, they are not in any danger of being removed from the job, unless they commit a criminal offence on the job. This is a regular issue I deal with around the world in my job. I have to work with what I am given. No one interviews, no one selects, rather it is who is next on the list. My work is dangerous, people get hurt with high voltage equipment and multi-ton pieces of equipment being lifted into location. But, we deal with the people we are given. Part of why they hire our firm is the help work through these issues. As to teaching poker in the classroom, Indeed I know several teachers who use this method today for bright students to reduce disruption in the classroom. I learned advanced math, statistics, probablity and other numerial concepts playing poker, I would not have learned until much later. Every great teacher I know makes time to deal with students, teaching is not a job for them but an advocation. These are the people I want in the classroom and for whom I would advocate for higher pay. It is the &quot;9-5&quot; folks that bother me. As to your new teacher, obviously that teacher had not learned classroom management, and reviewing videos from a local master's degree program that teachs classroom management, if you know the techniques the way a classroom runs is a night and day difference from people who don't know that techniques. Unfortunately classroom management is NOT required to get a teaching certificate.


Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 1:14 a.m.

Don, that's not the same situation at all. The teacher has all of the kids to teach as well as dealing with the difficult cases. They don't have the opportunity to hang out with them for hours after school. As leaguebus pointed out *somebody* interviewed your co-workers, didn't they? Just because you didn't doesn't mean your company just hired anyone it could find off the street. And I said the employees are constantly disrupting the other employees. As in, they know there are no consequences, think there never will be consequences, and they think it's a fun game to goof around with the other employees so they can't get their work done. And yes, this most certainly *does* happen, even in Ann Arbor. My son had a class like that a few years ago, and some kids at our elementary school this year were so bad we lost around a dozen families and the school ended up firing a new teacher who was thrown into that mess. And do you really think a teacher today would get away with teaching the kids to play poker in the classroom?


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

I did not hire them, they work for the company they work for. I don't have hire and fire authority, I don't get to pick people. My teachers did take me aside as a child. I was disruptive early on (bored) in class. One teacher took 4 of us aside and taught us poker. We played in the bakck of the class when our work was done. By the way I was in 3rd grade. This is the one skill from third grade that has served me well for my whole life. And I went from a C student to an A student because I was not bored and goofing off anymore. It was this change that made the difference in my academic life.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

@Don, its great that you do that with your workers. I assume that you also hired them after an interview or two? Teachers don't get that luxury. They get what they get and now with larger classes and less money for support, (business tax break), Snyder tightens the screws even more. We will be a third world country in ten years if the Republicans have their way.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

KJMCLark - What I do every day on the job, take them aside, show them the impact of their behavior, set a good example and mentor the ones who want to be there. Working after work to help teach and correct the ones that don't. I got back to my hotel at about 8PM last night after some 2 on 1 (two of them and 1 of me) on reasons they were screwing up their own futures and lives. Today I saw a glimmer of hope from one of them. I am an engineer, not a teacher, but it is important to me to impart what I know on the folks I work with, that include proper behavior.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 11:46 a.m.

Don - and if you have three kids who constantly and consistently disrupt the class? If you were a business owner and had three out of 20 employees who constantly didn't do their work and constantly disrupted the other people - *but you couldn't fire them, by law* - what would you do?


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:35 a.m.

The right answer is a good teacher imparts knowledge to students. If they don't they are not good teachers. If you have 20 students, you should be able to show some knowledge growth for the group over the course of a year. If not, then you are not teaching you are a babysitter.

Lac Court Orilles

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 2:32 a.m.

Dear DB HOLDEN: Tenure for teachers was an excellent way of protecting the best of the best, and now Rick Snyder who has absolutely no formal training in teaching makes it impossible to keep the top performers. Just how do you propose to (1) attract the best college students to the teaching profession, and (2) how will you keep them employed now that all the emphasis is on attacking, demoralizing, and firing instead of mentoring and training? Snyder has done his best to make the teaching profession the lowest paying and most stressful of all the professions. As for me, I will try my best to advise my own children to pick careers other than teaching.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

KJMClark - I would suggest you read some history on the reasons for tenure. The system was taken by Education unions for use in High Schools and Grade Schools, but it was not originally designed for that reason. It was developed to protect people doing things that could advance society. I was and am talking about the original tenure and its reasons, not the way modern folks seem to have twisted the system.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 11:38 a.m.

Don - no, tenure was put in place to protect people from the whims of poor administrators and politics. What's to prevent an incoming administration (at the state) administering a test on their political priorities and firing teachers that don't pass? Evolution vs. creationism is a classic example. A more common example is an administrator that works by promoting friends. Either you're one of the administrator's friends or you get the worst classrooms and you're on the chopping block. My wife's mom was a teacher in that kind of situation. There's a reason neither of her kids considered teaching as a profession. Without tenure, it's easy for an administrator to get rid of someone they don't prefer - just assign them a group of unmanageable kids along with some kids of parents who will complain loudly. Then you're protecting teachers you like, while setting up the teacher you don't like as much to fail.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 6:20 a.m.

Maybe they were the best when they were tenured but burnout happens, life happens, and maybe some teachers deserve to be removed, even if tenured. No one expects a resoundingly effective teacher to be let go but some of us DO expect a lackluster, complacent, tenured teacher to be considered for termination, or at least they should have to worry about it happening so it might rekindle their flame. My favorite teacher must have been about 70. I learned the basics of complex math in her 5th grade classroom and have never forgotten her. She was relentless and we learned. Math was her thing. She was a highly effective long term teacher.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:33 a.m.

Lac Court Orilles - Tenure only protects the bottom in high schools and grade schools. Tenure was for research at the college and university level to allow them to explore and pursue unpopular topics. Tenure as originally designed was to protect people doing unpopular things for the long term benefit of society. As to availability of good teachers, there are 2 to 3 teachers who graduate in Michigan for every opening. Many move south for teaching jobs. There is no demand for all the teachers we create. Moving poor teachers out, opens spots for new teachers and makes it possible for new teachers to find jobs, making the major more interesting.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 2:39 a.m.

Yes, because the best way to judge a good teacher is to blindly pick the one that's been around the longest.

Richard Lake

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

The Following 16 Politicians in Lansing Are Facing Recall Petitions That Have Been Approved by Local Election Commissions: Governor Rick Snyder (R) Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R - Monroe) State Senator Darwin Booher (R - Evart) State Senator Judy Emmons (R - Sheridan) State Senator Mike Green (R - Mayville) State Senator Mark Jansen (R-Gaines Township) State Senator Jim Marleau (R - Lake Orion) State Senator Mike Nofs (R - Battle Creek) State Senator John Proos (R - St. Joseph) State Senator Roger Kahn (R - Saginaw Township) Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger (R - Marshall) State Representative Kurt Damrow (R - Port Austin) State Representative Nancy Jenkins (R - Clayton) State Representative Joel Johnson (R - Clare) State Representative Phil Potvin (R - Cadillac) State Representative Al Pscholka (R - Stevensville) <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> A petition is circulating also to REPEAL PUBLIC ACT 4 of 2011, &quot;The Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act&quot;. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

@thick candy shell-LOL if they are the official Recall Snyder petitions you may have messed it up (fingers crossed, LOL). Pretty sure your name can only appear on the petition ONCE. Otherwise 100people could sign the petition 1000times each and you would have 100k signitures that only represent 100 voters, LOLOLOLOL. Unless of course you are commiting fraud by signing a different name each time, if so, thanks for the confession. LOL

Billy Buchanan

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

Don't get your hopes to high. Nobody's going to be recalled. Why? Because we have people in office now that have figgured out our problems that way to many have been consistenly propigating. Thank's to the government officials we have in office now maybe we can move forward and reach our potential as a much better government run state.

Thick Candy Shell

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

I have already signed at least 20 of these petitions for Snyder and will continue to sign more as time allows!


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

Already signed the petitions at the Art Fair. I would sign them more than once if I was allowed to.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 11:14 a.m.

What a great waste of taxpayer money should we have any recall ballot printing IR recall elections. Everyone elected to office needs sufficient time to have an impact and be fairly evaluated, whatever party they are in.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

Too bad republicans are above liberals or else every liberal would have been recalled years ago.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:27 a.m.

Can't wait to see what happens when the first HS football coach is rated ineffective in the guess is it STILL won't happen.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

Sorry, Mike, but that's just not so. I used to teach at a high school where the football team was a perennial favorite to win the state championship. People worshipped the coach on the field, but all the kids agreed that he was a pretty crappy teacher with an over-reliance on showing movies.

Mike K

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

If he's (supposition) fails in the classroom, odds are he fails on the field. It's all &quot;teaching&quot; after all.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:03 a.m.

The new laws are an excellent start on reform of the teacher tenure system. Evaluating teachers every year, as is extremely common for employees (and managers) in the private sector is great news. Making a part (but not all) of a teachers' evaluation dependent on how much his or her students learn during each school year (student growth) is an idea whose time has certainly come. Let's hope the schools develop ways to do this without sacrificing an additional entire week of teaching time to standardized testing, as is currently done for MEAPs and MME in many districts. Because the one thing we should NOT be doing is to further disrupt teaching in order to elevate the importance of standardized tests, waste more precious hours in school and further stress students with test anxieties. We also need to work on developing ways to evaluate student learning growth for the teachers of music, art, gym and &quot;non-core&quot; academic classes, special education teachers, students who enter and leave the school or school district partway through the year, etc. One thing that isn't in either the new law on evaluating teachers, or in the proposed / volunteer-piloted evaluation program developed at AAPS is input from parents or from secondary school students. Some parents and some students might be scathing about their teachers, and a few teachers deserve those comments. Most parents and students would take their responsibility to give honest and constructive feedback seriously. So how about it, AAPS? Can you put your education administrators and your partners in the AAEA to work on developing an &quot;evidence-based&quot;, reasonable and well-balanced evaluation system that includes feedback from parents and older students, and includes student learning growth, as well as the judgement of administrators and certain senior teachers? I'll give you a hint; Google &quot;360 degree evaluation&quot; for a look at how businesses have been doing this for the past 15+ year


Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

kermdd7 - The proposal I saw this spring did indeed claim to involve &quot;360 degree&quot; evaluations, but the proposal included input from school district employees only. In some cases, there was to be input into principal evaluations from officers or a se4lected rep of the school's PTA/PTSA, but not for teachers. The parent reps in my group did ask about that issue in particular, and it was re-iterated that there would be NO input from the parents of elementary students nor from the students of secondary teachers in the plan. The school district staff members in that meeting were absolutely sure that this could not be &quot;sold&quot; to the AAEA.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

As a teacher, I agree that this legislation will increase the focus on testing. I have spent much less time than other teachers on MEAP preparation in the past, because I feel that if students are getting a quality education they will perform on the MEAP. Knowing that my job depends on the students' performance on that test (if that is how they measure performance) means I will spend more time on it. AAPS is already looking at 360 degree evaluation methods. I was part of a committee that looked at the district's goals in the spring and there were plans in place to include input from the wider community in evaluations and the 360 degree evaluation was specifically mentioned.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:43 a.m.

Interesting, but: parents aren't the &quot;customers&quot; and they generally do not see what happens in the classroom. The immediate customers are students, but as children they are not always in a good position to judge effective teaching or differentiate between that and someone they like. The real &quot;customers&quot; are all of us, and what we are buying are productive members of our community and thoughtful citizens. The ultimate payoff, and the ultimate evidence, is very long term. That, by the way, is why education is part of the public sector - private sector firms simply won't deliver what we need because they don't have that kind of time horizon or the ability to include indirect benefits to society. And, as I say in a comment below, this legislation will require much more testing, not less.


Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.

If Brit Satchwell thinks the AAPS evaluation process is good, and that the state lacks definition in this area, why is he not out there pushing the AAPS evaluation process as the state model? Things only get better if you dig in and help.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 4:48 a.m.

I suspect he, and others, will. But they will have to move fast, because the new &quot;Governor's Council&quot; will report out only one evaluation system, and the legislature says in the law that they intend to mandate it for the entire state. Only districts with currently functioning systems, who claim by this fall that they meet the law's requirements, will be allowed to keep their local systems. BTW, the Governor's Council on Educational Effectiveness is made up of three nominees of the Governor, one of the Speaker of the House, and one of the Senate Majority Leader. The State Superintendent of Education is a non-voting member, and the State Board of Ed seems to be left out of the process altogether. The legislature clearly wants to hold all the cards.

DB Holden

Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

These are solid needed reforms to the public education system. The goal is to keep the best teachers teaching and reward them. If you aren't measuring you are just practicing. It is unfortunate that MEA leaders cling to the past and engage in rhetoric. Once we stop treating teachers like assembly line workers and starting treating them like professionals public education will be on the path to success. Unfortunately, the MEA only reinforces and imposes this relationship on it's membership.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:22 p.m.

@KJMclark-because lwayers and doctors are for the most part are NOT Public employee's payed for with Tax payer dollars . BUt for the ones that are public employee's (prosecutors, public defenders, Dr's that work for the .gov etc) then yes they should be evaluated and cut if they are found lacking. This is a good step and a long time coming.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 11:21 a.m.

&quot;The goal is to keep the best teachers teaching and reward them.&quot; If that's the goal, why aren't we doing the same for doctors and lawyers? Why is this such a priority for conservatives? Really, it looks like politics as usual.

Linda Peck

Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 10:21 p.m.

It seems there is something wrong at the root. If there is so much pressure put on teachers to have smart educated students, is this whole atmosphere going to trickle down to the students? Perhaps it has already. I am thrilled my grandchildren are enrolled in Honey Creek Community School - a very successful and compassionate charter school. We need a whole community of these schools in all of our neighborhoods. I do think the public school teachers are well paid. I do think they need to be accountable. However, the atmosphere created is not a good one in the public schools and I wonder if tenure has something to do with it. Why have tenure at all?

Norman Alred

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

Tenure was developed to take the politics out of teacher hiring and firing. It was not that long ago that Schools routinely fired teachers to make room for friends/relatives. As a former MFT local leader, we fought cases like that as recently as 2005. My great aunt was a teacher in Kentucky way back when. Each year the Board fired the whole staff. Each fall my grandfather took the Board President and got him drunk on his ass to secure her job. People here are used to the rules under tenure and think it was always like this. It was not and, if I read those rules correctly, will not be in the future. Let me ask a rhetorical question: Joe has taught science for 25 years and has so-so reviews. A board members nephew is just out of school and needs a job. Joe makes $70K. The new kid makes 38K. Who will be jobless?


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

Linda, I am also a part of the Honey Creek Community, and I can assure you that what makes our community so amazing is the supportive parents. It's true, we have some gifted teachers, but parents and community members taking a deliberate stance to make sure their children (and others for that matter) are well cared for and supported makes all of the difference. I would not say that us not having tenure has made us more successful. It is the devotion of the community that makes the difference. I worry for my peers that teach in AAPS and other districts that the protection they have from the unions will dissipate, and they won't feel secure to make difficult choices. Not everyone is fortunate to have supportive administration as we do. That is what worries me about this new law.


Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

Borders is toast and 10500 are out of work. Does snyder take credit? He at least has steared them away from educaton. Could mcdonalds hire some more to help the nerds dashboard? Michigan could be mcdonalds capital of the world! Motor city to mcnugget city. A nerdsvision for the future. Im sure our children can raise a family on snyders new jobs. But can we afford to raiseour own kids while he guts us like a fish?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

@wood: Republicans controlled both houses of the state legislature in Granholm's first term and they controlled the State Senate in her second? In both cases the refused to work with her in any meaningful way to get the state's economy moving. No--much like Republicans in Congress since Obama took office--they calculated political gain to be made by not cooperating. And it worked in both cases: the lemmings voted Republican in 2010. So, two questions for you: 1) Lacking Republican cooperation, was Governor Granholm supposed to wave a magic wand? 2) What level of blame do you apportion to Republicans in the legislature? Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.

@League, look at the components that make up that #17 ranking....for corporate taxes and unemployment insurance taxes, Michigan is at the bottom. Like it or not, businesses create jobs, not the government. The less a compnay pays in taxes, the more they have to grow their business and add employees(who then pay taxes to support schools, etc) It's a vicious cycle...... From 2001-2010, Michigan's per capita GDP was 49 out of 50, and employment growth was 50th out of 50.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

@wood, Granholm kept Michigans business climate at number 17 in the nation, higher than all the states around us but Illinois. Another thing she never did was gut education financially while giving $2B in tax breaks to his buddies in business, half of which still fail in 5 years.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

So, based on this logic, it was Granholm's fault that GM and Chrysler both filed bankrupcty. Let's not forget that she didn't see the Pfizer departure coming either...... It'll take the Gov longer than 7 months to fix that which was created over 8 years..... Public sector employees need to be evaluated and held accountable just like those in the private sector. If I don't meet performance expectations, I deserve to lose my job.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 6:45 a.m.

Your bringing up Borders may seem out of place, but there is a comparison here although probably not the one you want. Borders became a dysfunctional business quite some time ago. You seem to be asking Gov. Snyder to help save it as it rolls in its final death throes. Borders became incompetent and &quot;ineffective&quot; in a changed market by not keeping up with those changes. We can also have teachers who--for whatever reason--are or become ineffective. Teacher tenure acted to &quot;save&quot; those teachers from their proper fate the way you want Snyder to save Borders from its inevitable fate. Borders faces stern judgment from market forces and its performance is readily measured by its lost market share and drop in share values. The market is a stern disciplinarian. Should Snyder throw more good money after bad to help Borders? Would it help and wouldn't it hurt others? Likewise, should government laws protect teachers who can't cut it? Does it really help them or the schools and who does it hurt--students, of course. If you can't make it, if you are ineffective, you need to make changes or find a new profession. That said, teachers are not businesses. They are humans and it is important to have a fair means of evaluating effectiveness. There will necessarily be a subjective component to this and that's alright. In all businesses, a supervisor's subjective opinion of performance is an inseparable factor in personnel evaluations. The thing is to have objective benchmarks as well AND to make sure those in supervisory roles (principals, superintendents) are also evaluated thoroughly and any incompetency in those ranks are also weeded out. I believe that the majority of teachers are effective. Likewise with principals, but I also believe that those who aren't sully those who are and need to be weeded out. We need accountability from top to bottom in the schools. This will be a difficult transition but it is one which time has come.


Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

Snyder claims to be for creating keeping jobs here. Did he help? It is his watch if you didnt notice! The king of michigan wants a dashboard for schools and givt to show progress. Will he include borders loss? As for gutting a fish, Rip its guts out and see how long it lives. Snyder is doing much the same here. Enjoy the mcnuggets dude.

Mike K

Wed, Jul 20, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

Please explain, &quot;guts us like a fish.&quot; Who is being &quot;gutted&quot;, and how will that impact me, my wife and my children? I am raising my own two kids who attend AAPS. I don't understand your point - should you be making one??? Why should Snyder &quot;take credit&quot; for Borders failure? Borders had been in business for what, 30 + years, and GOVERNOR Snyder have been our governor for what, 6 months?? Please clarify.