LANSING, Mich. — Teacher privatization is one part of an education reform package expected to be taken up by state lawmakers this fall, and while the Michigan Education Association has already criticized the idea, the Michigan Association of School Boards said it could be a good option for districts, according to the Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.

School districts already are allowed to hire private firms to provide bus drivers and other support staff, but could expand that to include teachers under legislation being prepared for review, MIRS reported.

Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, told MIRS that the reform package also includes lifting the cap on state university-chartered public charter schools and a mandatory, statewide schools-of-choice program.

"I look at it as offering options," Pavlov told MIRS. He said that teachers hired privately would have to have the same qualifications as current instructors, MIRS reported.

Doug Pratt, spokesman for the Michigan Education Association, called the idea “terrible” and said it would turn over schools to “Wall Street,” MIRS reported. Peter Spadafore, assistant director of government relations for the Michigan Association of School Boards, said it could be a good option for districts as long as it isn’t mandatory, MIRS reported.

SOURCES:

Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., “Privatizing teaching jobs in Senate package,” Aug. 29, 2011 (Subscription required)

Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., “School boards open to optional teacher privatization,” Sept. 2, 2011 (Subscription required)

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan school districts embrace privatization,” Aug. 16, 2011

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