A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Recent Michigan legislation hypothetically makes it easier for schools to remove ineffective teachers from classrooms. However, some districts are claiming they already have good evaluation systems in place. For a glimpse into how the current process works, here's a step-by-step look at how one school district handles ineffective teachers.

The list below comes from the Adrian City School District's collective bargaining agreement and walks through the process of discharging an ineffective teacher in the district. Steps 9-13 are outlined in the Teacher Tenure Act (which remains unchanged by the new legislation).

1. The tenured teacher must be notified at the beginning of the school year that he or she will be evaluated. Tenured teachers are to be evaluated once every three years. If the district fails to evaluate the teacher, a "satisfactory" evaluation is assumed.

2. A "pre-observation conference" must be arranged with the teacher no more than two days before the formal observation.

3. A formal evaluation then takes place and the teacher must receive an "unsatisfactory" rating. The teacher may appeal this evaluation to the district's Labor Management Committee.

4. The teacher will then be enrolled into a "Professional Improvement Plan" for 45-60 days.

5. A re-evaluation must occur and the teacher must again receive an "unsatisfactory" rating.

6. The teacher must then participate in an "Intensive Improvement Plan" for a minimum of 135 days. The Human Resources Manager and teachers union must approve the decision.

7. Another re-evaluation is needed and a third "unsatisfactory" rating must be given.

8. Written charges against the teacher must then be submitted to the school board.

9. With a majority vote and within 10 days, the school board must approve the charges. The teacher can then be suspended from active duty with pay.

10. If the teacher does not appeal the decision within 20 days, the discharge takes effect. If the teacher appeals the school board's decision, continue to step 11.

11. Within 200 days and after a hearing, an administrative law judge must issue a preliminary decision that supports the board's case for discharging the teacher. 

12. Within 90 days, the state tenure commission must concur with the preliminary decision after reviewing submitted exceptions.

13. If the teacher does not appeal the state tenure commission's decision to the court of appeals within 20 days, the teacher may be discharged and tenure revoked.

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