Letter | Education reform shouldn’t have to wait anymore
February 16, 2011 · 9:21 AM
Thank you for including the article on K-12 education reform efforts in the Reporter last week. There are so many important bills being considered right now in Olympia that it is a good time to be paying attention. I was, however, discouraged by the news that Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, the chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, is refusing to hold a hearing on the bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow and others that would require school districts to use evaluation ratings in determining which teachers to lay off when budget cuts force teacher layoffs (SB 5399, also known as the Riffing bill or the Great Schools bill).
MI PTA members rated this issue quite high in a recent legislative priority survey and this bill seems like a good start on the problem — a way to improve our students’ education without requiring increased funding. An identical companion bill in the House (HB 1609) is making its way through the system, but without even a hearing on the Senate bill, it is unlikely that this piece of legislation will become law. In a recent Seattle Times article, Sen. McAuliffe says that she does not oppose the content of the proposal, just the timing of it. But I think we can’t afford to wait any longer.