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MEA Iffy On Gov. Snyder’s Education Plan

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LANSING (WWJ)- Saying the Governor covered a “huge spectrum of education issues,” the head of the Michigan Education Association says his budget to get the job done “doesn’t make sense”.

Michigan Education Association President Iris Salters said she was encouraged by some of the Governor Rick Snyder’s views, including the need for early childhood education and anti-bullying, but felt his expectations of school districts against the backdrop of more than $800 million in cuts is out of touch.

In outlining his education reform plan, Wednesday,  Gov. Snyder said up to 23 school districts are teetering on the brink and could be taken over by an emergency financial manager. 

Speaking to WWJ Newsradio 950, Salters said she doesn’t think taking over the districts will help.

“We’re able to see, just from Detroit, if you look at that. They’re in worse shape than they were when they got a financial manager.  So, I don’t see where that’s the answer, if you’re not going to be doing some other things that will help and districts and cities and municipalities improve what they’re doing,” Salters said.

New laws give such managers broad powers to do things like throw out union contracts.

Another part of his plan — Snyder wants to change the way teachers are tenured and that’s raising the ire of the Michigan Education Association. 

The Governor is calling for teacher tenure to be based on a five-year probationary period, which concerns Salters.

 “When you add to the probationary period, you’re gonna have more people going outside of Michigan to get their teaching career started,” Salters said.

“I don’t believe that you have to water down the probation. But I think you need to look at — what are the things that you need to be doing to make sure that we have strong, good teachers coming into the profession,” she said.

The governor wants teachers to be fired if they don’t meet basic proficiency requirements for two years.

Related: Snyder Outlines ‘Tough’ Education Reform Plan

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