Mar 10, 2011

Michelle Rhee Travels To Michigan


Yesterday in Lansing, Michigan, Michelle Rhee testified before a standing-room only joint session of the state House and Senate committees on education, where she discussed the importance of teacher quality.
Like most states, Michigan is faced with steep budget cuts and subsequent teacher layoffs. During the hearing, Michelle discussed merit pay, teacher evaluations, increased parental involvement, and "last in, first out," which requires the most recently hired teachers be the first ones laid off—regardless of their effectiveness in the classroom.
Below, a few of her remarks:
I don’t have to tell you that Michigan leaders are taking encouraging and courageous steps in education reform. Last year, Michigan changed its laws to allow alternative routes to certification for educators, allow state-level accountability and intervention in failing schools, and most importantly, to include student achievement in teacher evaluations. Of course and as is true for many states, there is still so much work to do, and I appreciate your continued efforts to look ahead to the next steps in reform.
With the current fiscal crisis the nation faces, we are at risk of losing some of the best teachers in the nation. By eliminating LIFO, Michigan would help to hold districts, boards of education, and state legislators accountable. By disallowing it across the state, Michigan will be able to save many great teachers during the economic recovery.
Thank you for inviting me to contribute to this important discussion for Michigan’s efforts to reform public education. There is no doubt that it will take incredibly hard work to create the kind of school system Michigan’s students and families deserve. But you are not alone in making these reforms. You are part of a nationwide effort as state leaders in Florida, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, and others take aggressive steps to reduce the bureaucracy in public education and put students first in the policies that ultimately will shape their lives.
After Florida and now Michigan, which state should Michelle testify in next? 

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