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School Districts in Violation

EDUCATIONAs many as 60 percent of public school districts in Michigan could be in violation of a state law passed in 2011 that made decisions about teacher placement and evaluation prohibited subjects of bargaining. That’s according to a new Mackinac Center for Public Policy study. The Center surveyed 130 school district collective bargaining agreements that were signed after the 2011 law took effect. Approximately 60 percent of those contracts contained prohibited language. Audrey Spalding, director of education policy for the Mackinac Center and author of the study, says in many cases they found that districts did not wholly remove the prohibited language from their contracts or they agreed to immediately reinstate the language if the state laws were overturned. At issue is part of the reform law which prohibits districts from negotiating over teacher placement, evaluation, recall and other policies. The 2011 law allowed districts to remove ineffective teachers more easily; forbid districts from using seniority to determine layoffs and recalls; and required districts to establish teacher evaluation practices that incorporate student growth.

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