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Posted on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 : 5 p.m.

Snyder appoints dean of U-M's School of Education to council on educator effectiveness

By Ryan J. Stanton

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder today appointed Deborah Ball, dean of the University of Michigan School of Education, to the Governor’s Council on Educator Effectiveness.

The council is expected to report to the state Legislature, State Board of Education and governor on recommendations for student growth and assessment programs for evaluations of teachers and administrators, as well as requirements for professional teacher certificates.

The council was created by Public Act 102 of 2011 to provide tools that improve teacher effectiveness. The council consists of three appointees by the governor, one from the speaker of the House, one from the Senate majority leader and one from the state superintendent of public instruction. The council must issue its report by April 30.

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Rick Snyder

“The future of Michigan depends on the positive growth of our students in the classroom,” Snyder said in a statement. “With the help of these talented individuals, I am confident we will create a method that gives teachers and administrators the tools to help guide students to success.”

Ball, a former elementary classroom teacher, has served as dean of U-M's School of Education since 2005 where she also is a professor. According to her bio on the university's website, she is considered an expert on the professional training of teachers.

In addition to Ball, of Dexter, Snyder appointed Mark Reckase and Nicholas Sheltrown. Reckase, of Okemos, is a professor at Michigan State University. Sheltrown, of Alto, is director of measurement, research and accountability at National Heritage Academics in Grand Rapids.

The Senate majority leader appointee to the council is David Vensel, principal of Jefferson High School in Monroe. The House speaker appointee is Jennifer Hammond, principal of Grand Blanc High School. The superintendent of public instruction's designee is Joseph Martineau, executive director of the Bureau of Assessment & Accountability in the Michigan Department of Education.

The new law also calls for creation of an advisory committee to provide input on the council’s recommendations. Snyder plans to name advisory committee members at a later date.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.


Steve Norton, MIPFS

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

I'm not too concerned with Dean Ball's appointment; she is likely to be the most influential counterweight to those who advocate for simplistic, bubble-test driven evaluation. My real concern is with the whole intent of the legislation that created this council. It has only five voting members: three appointed by the Governor, one by the Speaker of the House, and one by the majority leader of the Senate. (Two of these folks are simply elected by the majorities of the House and Senate, not by the broader public.) The State Superintendent of Education (or his nominee) is a *non-voting* member of the council. Meanwhile, the State Board of Ed, which under the state constitution is responsible for educational matters, has no role under the bills passed last summer. The state board of ed is directly elected, in contrast with the legislative leadership. (An answer might be found in the fact that the state board currently has a Democratic majority, while the three officials appointing council members are all Republicans.) The legislature stated explicitly in the law that they intend to receive the report of the Governor's Council and then create a mandatory state-wide teacher evaluation system. Local alternatives would not be allowed unless they had been up and running on June 19th (the effective date of the legislation) - and, of course, met the requirements that at least half of the evaluation had to be based on test scores, using a value added model. They are enshrining the central importance of narrow standardized tests, ensuring that administrators will have little time to do any other supplemental evaluations, and requiring the use of a complex statistical method (value added modeling) that is still viewed by the academics who work on it as an experimental technique. But it does give much-needed aid to the testing companies, and avoids having to spend real money giving local school districts the resources they would need to conduct meaningful, broad evaluations.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

Interested readers can find our close analysis of the evaluation law here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Several years ago there was an article in the Ann Arbor Observer written by a Huron High School grad who was then enrolled in the U of M's School of Ed and who was doing his student teaching at HHS. The thrust of his article was that what was being taught in the SoE had almost no applicability in the real world, yet when he raised issues he had seen at HHS, his instructors insisted that what they were teaching was correct and that he must employ those methods. He came to the conclusion that he better toe the party line in class at the SoE or he would not graduate, but he also concluded that what he was &quot;learning&quot; at the SoE would be of no use whatsoever in the real world of education. And this is who the guv has tapped for his committee? Yeah. I'm excited by that prospect. And, yes, I have no link. If you doubt my story, I suggest you contact the AAO. I'm certain they would be happy to provide a copy. Good Night and Good Luck

Lac Court Orilles

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 11:48 a.m.

U N B E L I E V A B L E ! ! ! that slick Rick the mean nerd would appoint an educator to such a committee when all the nerd does was harm the futures of little children by giving their money to his friends who start lower performing charter schools. Making additional money off little children who's parents force them to go to a charter school is a major sin. Shame on you Rick Snyder.


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 11:35 a.m.

Great choice. I do believe this is the first thing Snyder has done right.


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 3:01 a.m.

I've had teachers as personal friends since high school (the Sixties) and if there's one thing I know which cannot possibly be &quot;improved&quot; it's the dedication and ability to shoulder unbelievable work loads required of teachers. Every single teacher I've known said at various points: if the parents would only teach their kids that learning is a positive, worthy thing, our job would at least be &quot;possible.&quot; No one, including these arrogant, manipulative Republicans, ever mentions that. The reason is: those under-committed, under achieving parents are also voters who won't tolerate such criticism. Let's remember that G.W. Bush (alleged to have been a U.S. President for a time) came up with a very similar &quot;improvement plan&quot; - which is now widely regarded by educators as a complete failure. He and his Republican pals thought &quot;improving teachers&quot; was the answer too: that just shows how simple-minded this new-but-fast-getting- old governor is. Gov. $nyder hasn't got the guts to address the real problems in our &quot;system&quot; - which begin with problems AT HOME.


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Because if he does you will call him a racist.

David Briegel

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

Excellent post! And the nerd thinks that privatizing will help? Delusional!


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.

National Heritage Academies is a for-profit group running charter schools... and for this reason I've always been skeptical of them. I wonder how much profit there is, and to whom it goes. Anybody know or have any leads?


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

YES! Transparency is the right thing to do.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

As a privately held company, they are not required to report their financials. How we can justify allowing totally un-transparent private firms to operate public charter schools in this state (they are being paid with public money, after all) is a mystery to me.

David Briegel

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

How effective can an educator become without any financial backing? Maybe the Slick Nerd's new appointee can answer that question.

David Briegel

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

cinnabar, you want improvements in education for less money. nobody is helpless. If only we could get away with such &quot;genius&quot; with our Perpetual WAR Dept!


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 2:29 p.m.

Are you saying people are completely helpless, thats what it sounds like to me


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

If I was Ms Ball, I'd be insulted. The only part of education that slick cares about is how much money he can take from its budget to hand out to his friends.


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 3:58 a.m.

Billionares need welfare too, Ray.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Sep 22, 2011 : 10:51 p.m.

No. The hen was voted out.

David Briegel

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

Yes Charlie, you meant you don't know about the fact that she was term limited out!

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

You know what I meant.


Fri, Sep 23, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

Who was voted out? Governor Granholm, now that was a governor, reached her term limits.


Thu, Sep 22, 2011 : 10:49 p.m.

The watching the hen house.......