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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Teacher Tenure Wars

The Michigan Education Association did the calculus the other day and
this time, the math did add up. This time.
In the 11th hour rush to head home for the holidays, some in the
legislature launched a last minute attack on the Holy Grail of the
teacher profession namely teacher tenure.
For educators any assault on that is reason to go to war and the MEA
did, but it had to think about it first.
One school of thought suggested that the teacher's union should cut
a deal with this current batch of lawmakers. They were a known
quantity as compared to the new batch of "legislators" coming in next
year. Who knows what they might try to do? And with Republicans
controlling everything, it could get dicey.
The theory was, deal with the devil you know and live to talk about
it. But the union decided to forget about any deals and just go all
out to kill the two bills.
"Stop the assault on tenure and teacher evaluation," was the message
an an email that was sent to all MEA retirees urging them to get in the
game.
Union lobbyist David Stafford wrote this was an attempt to
"micro-manage the evaluation process for teachers and administrators."
Hardly, the other side contends.
"The current tenure system protects bad teachers," laments Sen.
Wayne Kuipers, a conservative Republican from Holland. And he had
company in the form of Democratic Rep. Tim Melton from Pontiac who
agreed and was more than willing to take on the MEA one more time.
Supporters of the "reforms" argue, go into any school and ask
around. Everyone knows the good and bad instructors, but just try to
get rid of the later.
But the advocates for the legislation could not line-up enough
lame ducks in a row so they reluctantly handed the MEA a victory.
"We did it," declared another post-debate email to those MEA
old-timers.
This time.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Bill said...

Actually, you left out something very important: the fact the MEA has repeatedly said they are willing to talk with the new administration about this issue. I agree: why let the new politicians off the hook by letting a going-out-the-door-no-skin-off-my-nose Kuiper's do the dirty work? That's beyond cowardly.

You want to have this discussion? Good. YOU, the ones that are now accountable to the voters including the 110,000-member MEA, should be THE ones directly held accountable for this discussion and what transpires because of it.

Let's dance.

December 9, 2010 at 8:36 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares what the MEA wants? They bought enough political influence to put off these reforms this time, but they're coming.

Let's dance indeed.

December 10, 2010 at 6:04 AM 
Anonymous Bill said...

Yep, I'll raise your bet. Let's go.

Notice I said that the MEA will be part of the discussion. There will be talks involving all vested parties. Sorry to disappoint you. But your torch-and-feathers crowd is going to be once again sorely disappointed when the smoke clears.

And post your name. Coward.

December 11, 2010 at 5:30 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All vested parties will talk, but fewer of them will have been bought off by the MEA, when next we get to talking.

It's the internet, chief. Everybody's anonymous. Especially you, flinging insults around as you are.

Let's dance.

December 14, 2010 at 3:56 PM 

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