The Waterford School District had a problem with one teacher’s “anger management” issues and had concerns about the instructor possibly losing control to the point where there would be a concern about the safety of students, a school official said.
What was the solution?
The teacher accepted a $100,000 settlement to resign in 2009, according to school documents.
Tom Wiseman, assistant superintendent of business and human resources, says this is the only time in the last 20 years that the school has had to reach a settlement with a “non-performing” teacher.
Wiseman said the district undergoes methodical reviews in the four-year probationary period leading up to tenure with cooperation from teachers, administrators and the teachers’ union that allows it to avoid problematic teachers.
“If there is any question in regards to their performance, they are not granted tenure,” Wiseman said.
Wiseman said administrators meet on a monthly basis to discuss teacher performance “concerns.”
“We’ve released a number of teachers during probation before tenure,” Wiseman said. “The key to it is being extraordinarily proactive and working through the process and treating teachers as professionals. The key is during the four years of non-tenure to really do your homework.”
Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the tenure reform bill that is now law will make it easier for districts to rid themselves of problematic teachers.
Van Beek said the new law gives districts five years to review teachers before they can make tenure.
“And now, it’s easier to dismiss probationary teachers,” Van Beek said. “They are basically at-will employees before tenure.”