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Teacher tenure reform signed into law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Contact: Sara Wurfel
P: 517-335-6397 E: wurfels@michigan.gov 

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today signed teacher tenure reform legislation that ends the "Last In, First Out" practice through which school districts make staffing decisions based solely on seniority, in favor of a new system that requires administrators to consider demonstrated effectiveness in the classroom.

The reform is part of the governor's comprehensive plan to reinvent Michigan's educational system that he unveiled in April.  The full plan may be read online at www.michigan.gov/snyder

"Making staffing decisions based on merit and performance encourages good teachers to keep doing what they are doing and helps ensure students receive the highest quality education," Snyder said.  "This long overdue reform will protect outstanding teachers who are enthusiastic about the material and able to connect with students in a way that makes them want to learn."

With this reform, it will now take five years for a teacher to qualify for tenure, up from four, although teachers who are rated "highly effective" three years in a row may earn tenure in less time.  During the initial probationary period a teacher may be dismissed at any time.

Even after a teacher earns tenure, he or she will have to continue earning effective ratings in order to keep it.  School districts will have to notify parents in writing if their child is taught by a teacher who is rated ineffective. 

The legislation also prohibits personnel issues related to layoffs and employee discipline from being subject to union negotiations.  Teachers will still be protected from dismissals that are arbitrary or capricious.

House Bills 4625, 4626, 4627 and 4628, sponsored by state Reps. Bill Rogers, Rep. Paul Scott, Margaret O'Brien and Ken Yonker respectively, are now Public Acts 101, 100, 102 and 103 of 2011.

The governor today also signed legislation that will make it easier for school districts to share resources and put more money in the classroom by allowing an Intermediate School District superintendent to serve dual roles by also serving as the superintendent of a local school district.  H.B.s 4232, 4233, 4234, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Huuki, are now P.A.s 104 through 106.

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