Gov. Rick Snyder plans Wednesday to propose tougher education requirements new Michigan teachers must meet before they can serve in the classroom.
The Republican governor will announce the proposal Wednesday morning in an address on improving education from preschool through college at the United Way for Southeastern Michigan office in Detroit.
Under Snyder's proposal, education majors would have to pass their basic skills and subject matter tests before they could do their student teaching. Now, they can take the tests after they student teach.
The governor also would like the Michigan universities that offer teaching degrees to require more instruction and student teaching time, as the University of Michigan and Michigan State University now do. Both schools put education majors through five years of classes and student teaching before they're awarded a degree.
Education majors also would have to get higher scores on their certification tests in order to be allowed to teach. Illinois and Indiana have raised the level students must achieve to pass, and Snyder wants Michigan to do the same.
Other changes he plans to propose will involve giving excellent teachers more pay and other rewards so they can remain in teaching rather than going into administration to make more money. Top teachers would be designated as master teachers with responsibilities for mentoring new teachers and improving student learning.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball, dean of the University of Michigan's School of Education, said five years ago her university began to focus more on teaching students how to succeed in the classroom rather than just know their subject matter and be able to pass college tests.
Some responsibilities for improving the quality of education will fall on universities, which also will be responsible for helping education majors who fail to meet the new standards. The Michigan Department of Education and State Board of Education will be responsible for raising the cutoff scores for certification and setting new requirements for education colleges to meet.
State Board of Education member John Austin, a Democrat, said the board is encouraged that the Republican governor wants to make sure the best possible teachers are in Michigan's classrooms.
Snyder's education address will be similar to one he gave last month on changes he wants to see local governments embrace, including getting workers to pay more for benefits and finding more operating efficiencies. State lawmakers will get copies of his plan as he gives it.
The governor told educators Monday that Michigan must do a much better job of preparing students for college and then making sure they get college degrees.
He's expected to call Wednesday for giving students more ways to learn such as online classes, and for having more flexibility in the school calendar. He also wants to change the way teacher tenure is awarded and make sure teachers are continually evaluated so ineffective teachers can be helped to improve or removed from the classroom.