Unions weigh in on teacher tenure

DETROIT — As state legislators debate whether to change Michigan’s teacher tenure laws, the state’s two largest teacher unions say that streamlining the hearing process and improving teacher evaluation formats would be enough, according to The Associated Press.

The American Federation of Teachers-Michigan and the Michigan Education Association have proposed reducing the amount of time that teachers, attorneys and administrative law judges are allowed to spend on cases as a way to improve the system, according to an AP report posted at Mlive.com. They also suggest improving the evaluation process that pinpoints ineffective teachers.

Last month, the State Board of Education sent recommendations to Gov. Rick Snyder that would change the system by placing more emphasis on teacher proficiency than on years of service when granting or challenging tenure, AP reported.

Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Brighton, introduced a bill to repeal Michigan’s tenure law, and Rep. Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills, has proposed legislation that would link tenure to student achievement, AP reported. Both bills are in the House Education Committee.

If Michigan's teacher tenure laws are repealed, Rogers said, teachers would still have job protection under other labor law.

Mlive.com, “Ideas offered for improving teacher tenure, evals,” March 1, 2011

Michigan Education Digest, “Bills would repeal tenure, limit step pay,” Feb. 11, 2011