Contents of this issue:

  • Survey finds 99.6 percent of teachers ranked 'effective'
  • MEA takes action against Romeo and Fraser school districts
  • Detroiters testify in favor of parent trigger law
  • Governor takes stance on proposal to expand teacher union power
  • Benton Harbor district receives $2 million emergency loan

Survey Finds 99.36 Percent of Teachers Ranked 'Effective' 

LANSING, Mich. – A survey of new teacher rankings found that more than 99 percent of teachers in Michigan were ranked “effective” or “highly effective,” according to MLive.

The Education Trust-Midwest surveyed teacher evaluations that Michigan school districts are now required to conduct, MLive reports.
The group criticized the evaluation systems used, noting that districts often negotiated evaluation methods with unions, according to MLive.
Education Trust-Midwest Executive Director Amber Arellano told MLive that honest evaluations are necessary to identify weaknesses and provide teachers with support.
Teachers union officials told MLive that the vast majority of Michigan teachers are effective, and that the report was not surprising.
SOURCE: MLive, “Education Trust-Midwest survey: Districts rank 99.6 percent of teachers ‘effective’ or ‘highly effective,’” Sept. 20, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “News from Lake Wobegon,” Sept. 21, 2012

MEA Takes Action Against Romeo and Fraser School Districts 

ROMEO, Mich. – The Michigan Education Association Local 1 alleges that the Romeo and Fraser school districts are in violation of labor laws and are taking the districts to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, according to the Romeo Observer.

The Observer reports that the MEA is upset that school districts scheduled teacher start days this fall after their contracts expired — thereby avoiding paying for salary step increases.
Romeo Community Schools Superintendent Nancy Campbell told the Observer that summer negotiations failed to result in a school calendar. “It’s regrettable that all the time we had to negotiate, that it didn’t happen,” she told the Observer.
SOURCE: The Romeo Observer, "Union takes action against RCS for alleged ‘lockout,’" Sept. 19, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Contract Negotiations Continue In Romeo and Fraser Districts," Sept. 4, 2012

Detroiters Testify in Favor of Parent Trigger Law 

LANSING. Mich. – Detroit parents testified at the Capitol in favor of a parent trigger law that would allow them to force schools to be offered to charter school authorizers, require new teaching strategies be adopted, remove the principal and at least half of a school's teachers, or shut down the school entirely, MLive reports.

Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, is the bill’s sponsor, according to MLive.
“This parent trigger gives families leverage where they do not otherwise have it by increasing pressure on districts and others in charge of failing schools,” he told MLive.
SOURCE: MLive, "Detroit parents say ‘parent trigger’ would give them leverage for improvements to failing schools," Sept. 19, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Research Shows Parental Choice Works," Sept. 23, 2011

Governor Takes Stance on Proposal to Expand Teacher Union Power 

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder has released video statements on each of the six ballot proposals Michigan voters will consider in November, ABC 10 News reports

Snyder took a stance against Proposal 2, which, if passed, would be a sweeping expansion of public-sector union power, according to ABC 10 News
"While benefitting only three percent of Michiganders if approved, [Proposal 2] would roll back important reforms that help get control of deficits and out-of-control spending," Snyder told ABC 10 News.

SOURCE: ABC 10 News, “Gov. Snyder speaks out on ballot initiatives," Sept. 19, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, "$1.6 Billion in Savings Lost Under Prop 2," Sept. 17, 2012

Benton Harbor District Receives $2 million Emergency Loan

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – The Michigan Emergency Loan Board approved a $2 million loan to Benton Harbor Area Schools, the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium reported.

The Herald-Palladium reports that the school district had initially requested $6 million. With the approval of the loan, the Benton Harbor district will be required to report monthly cash flow projections and quarterly revenue and expenditure reports, according to the Herald-Palladium.
SOURCE: Herald-Palladium, “State loan helps BH schools avoid bind,” Sept. 18, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Benefit Costs Sunk Benton Harbor's Finances," Feb. 8, 2010

MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report, an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Michael Van Beek at

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