Ask a five year old what they want to be when they grow up and chances are you’ll hear things like a doctor, a teacher, and maybe Batman. Obviously, not many kids grow up to be Batman, but increasingly there are also fewer and fewer growing up to be teachers. Across the country and here in Michigan, the number of students choosing to go into teaching preparation programs is declining.
What makes the difference between a successful and a struggling student? Research suggests one of the most important factors is the quality of that student’s teachers. And a big part of having effective teachers in the classroom is making sure they’re prepared before they get there. In 2013, as part of an effort to do just that, Michigan toughened teacher certification tests, but a recent Bridge Magazine article found that a majority of aspiring teachers failed the new exam.
In two weeks, Michigan legislators will begin hearings on how to improve teacher evaluations in the state. They’ll consider a new plan submitted recently by the Michigan Council on Educator Effectiveness. That's an independent body created by Governor Rick Snyder and the legislature two years ago after the passage of teacher tenure reform in Michigan.
Majority Republicans in the Michigan Legislature agree the weight of a $45 billion pension liability for public school employees will crush the system if left untended, but they differ on how to fix it.
The Senate is expected to consider a measure Wednesday that could be a compromise, pledging further action after the November election.
Teachers turned out by the hundreds Wednesday to pack a hearing room in Lansing. They showed up to oppose a measure that would force them to pay more for their retirement health care and pension benefits.