GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Michigan Education Association does not oppose reform measures that would help Michigan qualify for federal education dollars, but some restrictions must apply, the union president said in a letter to lawmakers and the public Monday.

As reported by The Grand Rapids Press, MEA President Iris Salters said that the union does not oppose more charter schools as long as the state requires greater transparency and accountability from them.

The letter also said that using student performance as the sole measure of teacher effectiveness is unfair, and that teacher evaluations should include such things as student attendance, parental involvement and socioeconomic factors, The Press reported.

The union also said it agrees with legislation adopted by the House of Representatives that would appoint turnaround experts to "failing schools," according to The Press. However, it said there is no need to revise teacher tenure laws other than to speed up the tenure hearing process.

Finally, the union remains opposed to alternative teacher certification, but would not formally object to such a change as long as teacher quality is assured, the letter said, according to The Press.

The reform issues — all under consideration by the state Legislature — are believed to be critical to Michigan's chances of receiving federal education funding through the Race to the Top competitive grant program.

SOURCE:
The Grand Rapids Press, "Michigan Education Association leader says union isn't standing in the way of Race to the Top money," Dec. 7, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "How Michigan Could Save $3.5 Billion a Year," Dec. 7, 2009

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