LANSING, Mich. — Unable to thwart teacher tenure reform during the legislative process, the Michigan Education Association and the Detroit Federation of Teachers now will work to recall lawmakers who supported the changes, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

The DFT is offering cash and volunteers to aid recall efforts, while the MEA has not said precisely how it will become involved, according to The Press.

The changes in tenure law include such things as: extending the probationary period for new educators, but allowing those who are highly rated to secure tenure earlier; requiring teacher evaluations to be based in part on student academic growth and test scores; amending layoff procedures to allow school districts to retain the most effective educators rather than the most senior teachers, and making it easier to remove tenured teachers rated as “ineffective,” The Press reported.

The final package of four bills was approved by the Senate and House on July 1, according to a separate report in The Detroit News, which also reported that Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign the measures.

A number of school districts have said that it is too costly and cumbersome to fire a teacher under Michigan’s former tenure law; Dearborn Public Schools officials told Michigan Capitol Confidential recently that it was less expensive to pay a combined $197,000 to four teachers in a settlement deal than to follow the tenure dismissal process.

Michigan Capitol Confidential and Michigan Education Digest are published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

SOURCES:
The Grand Rapids Press, “Teachers union leaders say they’ll become active in recall campaigns against state House members,” July 5, 2011

The Detroit News, “Michigan tightens teacher tenure,” July 1, 2011

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Breaking Bad: Dearborn Gives Four Problem Teachers $197K to Go Away,” July 7, 2011

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