Michigan's teachers could see major changes to the terms of their tenure, if the Legislature acts before the end of the year.
Republican state Senator Wayne Kuipers has wanted to reform teacher tenure for awhile now, and was disappointed it didn't get done last year in the "Race To The Top" school reforms. He says most of Michigan's teachers are good, effective educators. But he says there are always a few who need to go.
"Chances are you'll be able to identify a teacher or two in every building that just shouldn't be there," he says. "And so this creates a mechanism for the district to get rid of that teacher."
Kuipers has been at odds with teachers' unions over tenure. The unions say the Legislature unfairly beats up on teachers, and doesn't deal with the real problems in schools, such as funding.
It's unclear whether lawmakers will vote on tenure reform before they end their legislative session for the year. Kuipers is term limited, and he wants to approve the reforms before he leaves.
He says the next body of lawmakers won't get to it soon enough.
"Most of the agenda early on is going to be on, 'What do we do to improve jobs, and create a better tax climate.'
"That means this gets stalled for at least another year. I don't think we can wait that long," he says. "Each teacher that's in a classroom, that shouldn't be in a classroom, is failing up to 30 kids. And it's a year they'll never get back."