Education, GOPocrisy, Michigan Republicans, Teachers — May 9, 2013 at 8:50 am

After stripping billions in school funding, Michigan GOP seeks to tie teacher pay primarily to student educational growth


Oh, I see how this works

Over the past two years, Michigan Republicans have stripped over a billion dollars from schools and are working to defund them another $825.1 million this year, as well. They’ve also reduced teachers’ benefits and made their ability to collectively bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions more difficult.

Now that they’ve done so much to make a teacher’s job so much more difficult, one Republican is ready to make their pay primarily based on student progress. Current law says that teacher pay should be using job performance and job accomplishments as a significant factor. House Bill 4625, introduced by Republican Pete Lund, would make teacher pay based primarily on these factors.

Talking to Michigan Radio, Democratic Representative David Knezek suggested that such a move should wait until a report on a statewide merit-pay system comes back. He said to journalist Rina Miller, “I don’t know why we’re jumping the gun on this. We should be waiting for what the commission comes back and says to us is the proper course of action.”

That sounds smart to me: get the facts first, then make policy and law.

Apparently having all of the facts in hand before plowing ahead with passing a new law isn’t a prerequisite for Pete Lund:

Bill sponsor Pete Lund (R-Shelby Township) says the commission’s recommendation could be more useful if they already have a system in place. Lund says tying educators’ pay to their performance in the classroom would promote student growth and weed out bad teachers.

“We no longer say you are a better teacher just because you’ve been teaching for a long time,” Lund says. “If teaching a long time has helped you, your students will grow, they will be better students, they will learn more, and you’ll be properly compensated properly for it.”

That’s all well and fine if Lund and his ideologically extreme and anti-teacher, anti-public schools Republican colleagues hadn’t spent the last two years knee-capping teachers and making their job so much harder. They have essentially made it harder for teachers to help their students succeed and now want to punish them by making progress, something that is much, much harder to achieve, the basis for their pay.

Every teacher I talk to tells me how they are constantly being asked to “do more with less”. It’s gotten worse under the current crop of Republicans. This bill of Rep. Lund’s is just a backdoor way of driving down teachers’ wages in preparation of converting most if not all of Michigan schools to for-profit charter schools. Lower teacher wages and benefits = higher corporate profits. But, before that can happen, they have to eliminate competition from public schools where teachers are paid more.

Let’s just be very clear about that.