Michigan School Districts: We Have No Ineffective Teachers

The law requires annual ratings, but is murky on how to do it

Judging by the percentages, the state of Michigan didn’t have one ineffective teacher or administrator last year in the entire public school system, which covers 899 charter schools and conventional school districts.

That’s according to the cumulative reports filed by all the state’s public schools after the 2015-16 year. The percentage of teachers and administrators who were given the lowest evaluation was so small that the state rounded it down to zero percent.

Districts perform the evaluations and turn them into the state, with the Center for Educational Performance and Information compiling the reports. A 2009 law requires districts to do annual effectiveness ratings for each teacher. But lawmakers and state education officials have struggled to create a specific rating process.

The performance evaluations come at a time when Education Week Research Center ranked the state of Michigan as 42nd in the country in K-12 achievement, giving it a D grade for 2016.

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There were just 400 “ineffective” schoolteachers out of 94,164 in the state of Michigan in 2015-16, or fewer than one per school district. That comes out to zero percent.

The highest rating, “highly effective,” went to 39,327 teachers, or 42 percent of the teaching force. The largest group of teachers, 52,514 or 56 percent of all, were considered “effective.” Only 1,923 teachers, or 2 percent, were rated “minimally effective.”

For administrators, just 23 out of 6,598 were rated “ineffective,” a number that when rounded down becomes zero percent. There were 2,310 administrators, or 35 percent of all, who were rated “highly effective.” The largest group, 4,108 or 62 percent, were “effective,” and 157 or 2 percent were “minimally effective.”

“That is a massive disservice to teachers and administrators who strive to be above average,” said Leon Drolet, chair of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. “Ultimately that translates to less incentives for educators to strive for excellence because they are not going to be recognized as such.”

“It’s a terrible disincentive and an insult to those administrators and teachers who do put in the extra effort,” Drolet continued. “It’s an insult to the citizens of the state who are smart enough to know there is no field anywhere in which 98 percent of those employed are adequate or better.”

The Michigan Department of Education didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.