Governor Snyder Proposes Education Shakeup

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Gov. Rick Snyder is calling for allowing unlimited charter schools in failing districts, along with changes aimed at getting ineffective teachers out of Michigan classrooms and allowing more students to attend schools of choice.

During an address Wednesday at the United Way for Southeastern Michigan office in Detroit, the Republican governor says he plans to set up a new office to coordinate early childhood education funding.

He also wants to have lawmakers pass bills that would allow administrators who must lay off teachers to not base layoffs on seniority and require universities with education majors to make sure students are competent.

David Hecker, president of the Michigan chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, says he supports many of the changes but has reservations about how teachers are evaluated.

Highlights of changes Gov. Rick Snyder called for Wednesday in his education address:
--Create the new Michigan Office of Great Start -- Early Childhood through an executive order to consolidate existing early childhood programs and resources now spread across different state agencies.
--Tie statewide school funding to students' academic growth, not just whether they take up a seat at school.
--In the 2012-13 school year, give districts a bonus beyond their per-student funding for demonstrating student growth in reading, math and other subjects selected by the Michigan Department of Education. Also give districts a bonus if teachers and other school personnel pay at least 20 percent of their health care premiums.
--Require each school to have a "dashboard" showing how the school is doing on student testing, annual progress and stopping bullying.
--Pass a state law requiring every school district have an anti-bullying policy.
--Maintain the statewide cap limiting the number of charter schools, but allow an unlimited number of charter schools in districts with at least one failing school.
--Pass legislation allowing top-performing charter school boards to oversee more than one school.
--Allow intermediate school districts to bid on any service a local district provides outside the classroom, or allow a local district to bid on any serviced an ISD provides for the entire intermediate school district.
--Pass legislation adopting new student assessment standards that show more accurately how well students are learning.
--Allow students to start taking college classes as early as 9th and 10th grades.
--If a district accepts school of choice students to fill openings, forbid the district from closing admission to students from certain districts.
--Require that every student who wants or needs up to two hours of daily online instruction to receive it.
--Have the Department of Education lay out guidelines for college readiness assessments for students in 9th and 10th grades.
--Require community colleges and universities to more easily accept each other's credits.
--Require lengthier training for education majors in college and require them to pass a basic skills and subject matter tests before they do their student teaching.
--Designate excellent teachers as master teachers, giving them more pay and the ability to mentor other teachers.
--Stop paying teachers more simply because they have a master's degree.
--Award tenure to new teachers only after they demonstrate they were effective for three consecutive years in a five-year period. Experienced teachers who were determined to be ineffective through annual appraisals would be put on probation and could lose their tenure if they received a second consecutive ineffective rating. They then could be dismissed or kept on for a third year at the district's discretion.
--Require that all annual teacher appraisals be based 40 percent on student achievement growth.
--Pass legislation that allows school districts to look at teacher effectiveness and not just seniority in teacher layoffs, and require the consent of a school principal before a teacher could "bump" into his or her school.
--Encourage all public schools to participate in the Gallup Student Poll to see what students say about education.


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