State Rep. Ann Bollin stood up for local students and their parents recently by voting against a partisan plan that gives union bosses extensive control over the education of Michigan children.
Bollin, R-Brighton Township, said House Bills 4354-57 make changes that will erode accountability in schools, spurn highly effective and well-qualified teachers in favor of those with seniority, and make it harder to evaluate the effectiveness of the education Michigan students receive.
“Decisions in our schools should be made in the best interests of students – not Big Labor,” Bollin said. “To deliver the best possible education for our students, administrators must be empowered to evaluate teachers and take corrective action when necessary, weigh the qualifications and effectiveness of teachers and place them in classrooms where they are most needed, and make financial decisions that prioritize the educational needs of kids.”
House Bills 4354-57 would:
- Allow unions to dictate when and how teachers are evaluated. Evaluations are an important accountability measure that ensures local school districts are able to evaluate ineffective teachers and correct course. If parents and students are regularly lodging complaints against a teacher, administrators will have limited ability to conduct observations in that classroom under this plan.
- Allow unions to bargain over teacher placement. This is a bad policy that produced horrible results in the past. Senior teachers scoop up the best assignments and stick new teachers with the most difficult jobs. Michigan schools already have a problem retaining teachers and attracting new people to the profession; this is going to make the problem even worse.
- Allow unions to demand an end to third-party contracts for non-instructional services. Schools often contract with other local businesses to make sure non-instructional needs – like janitorial, bus, or cafeteria services – are met in the most cost-effective manner. Efficiency in these areas ultimately frees up more money to teach students and shrink class sizes. Preventing schools from contracting these types of services could increase costs, forcing layoffs and larger class sizes.
Despite Bollin’s opposition, the House approved each of the bills along party lines. The legislation now advances to the Senate for further consideration.
Bollin is working hard to make sure superintendents and school boards who are accountable to parents are empowered to make decisions that affect local schools.
Last month, she introduced House Bill 4501 which would prohibit the last day of the school year from becoming the subject of collective bargaining. Bollin said state law prevents the first day of the school year from being a point of negotiation, and it only seems logical that the end of the school year would also be removed from the bargaining table.
“The school board and superintendent of a local school district should decide what the end of the school year is without having to negotiate with union executives,” Bollin said.
Bollin also introduced House Joint Resolution D to eliminate the partisan State Board of Education and make the head of the Department of Education a direct appointment by the governor that is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.
“The state superintendent is currently the only department head who is not appointed by the governor and our partisan-elected state board of education is a model that only a handful of states still follow,” Bollin said. “The Department of Education should focus on providing a good, quality education that sets the kids up for future success. The partisan nature of the current system brings radical, politically motivated ideas into the equation. That’s not right.”
If HJR D were approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, the proposal would head to Michigan voters for final consideration during the next statewide general election.
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