Another Nail in the Coffin: Michigan State Senator Wants to Privatize Teachers
Michigan has already passed laws limiting collective bargaining for teachers and dropping the standard for teacher demotion from "reasonable and just cause" to anything short of "arbitrary and capricious" reasons. But Phil Pavlov, the head of the state Senate Education committee, wants to go well past that. Pavlov wants to privatize teachers:
"I look at it as offering options," Pavlov said. "If there is something out there that can offer school officials the same options at a lower cost, schools need to take a look at that. It needs to part of the conversation on reform."
The privatization piece would require teachers from a private firm to have all of the same qualifications as current instructors. The difference would be that school districts could take bids for instructional services once an existing contract expires.
First off, this is a naked attempt to worsen wages and working conditions for teachers. That's a feature, not a bug.
Second, it would be terrible for students. High teacher turnover hurts student achievement, as a recent National Bureau of Economic Research report shows. The effects of teacher turnover go beyond the question of whether a bad teacher is replaced with a good one—high turnover has much broader effects, including effects on the students of teachers who stay at a school. Now imagine that teaching is contracted out to a private company that's always trying to maximize profit by replacing existing teachers with cheaper ones. It's not clear from descriptions of the bill (in fact, the details of the bill are not finalized), but conceivably, a private company could get the exclusive contract on a school and then a couple years later, when its contract ran out, be replaced by a cheaper company, producing massive teacher turnover all at once.
This is insane, and it's coming from one of Michigan's top lawmakers on education.