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ERIC Number: ED502196
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 161
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 1-8906-2476-4
A Teacher Quality Primer. For Michigan School Officials, State Policymakers, Media and Residents
Holley, Marc J.
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
While Michigan students learn a variety of skills in their time at school, perhaps the most important charge of public schools, beyond providing a safe and healthy environment, is to ensure that students are learning their three fundamental skills: reading, writing and arithmetic. Unfortunately, the achievement levels of Michigan public school students raise doubts about the quality of public education in the state. This volume has been written to assist policymakers at the state and local levels who want to initiate and support teacher quality reforms to improve K-12 public education in the state. The author describes shortcomings in public education in the state and discusses the research consensus that good teachers matter, investigating whether certification, experience, graduate degrees, academic ability and high licensure exam scores make teachers more effective in the classroom, or whether class size reductions and across-the-board pay raises may be efficient ways to improve student achievement. The author concludes that the term "highly qualified" should no longer refer to a teacher with extensive pedagogical training or years of experience; but to a teacher whose work improves student learning. This redefinition informs the following recommendations: (1) Change the teacher compensation structure by instituting performance pay for teachers and rewarding them for gains in student achievement as measured on standardized tests; (2) Adopt differential pay, which provides financial rewards to teachers in high-demand fields, such as math and science; (3) Lower barriers to entry for career-changers through more reasonable alternative certification programs; and (4) Evaluate teachers annually based on principal observations and student achievement gains; loosen restrictions on terminating ineffective teachers; and de-emphasize professional development as it is currently conceived. The author notes that the recommended reforms may require renegotiating union contracts or changing state certification laws, but do not require constitutional amendments or statewide initiatives, and are therefore immediately available to local school boards, encouraging quality instruction by teachers currently within the state school system. The Constitutionality of Teacher Merit Pay in Michigan (Patrick J. Wright) is appended. (Contains 223 endnotes and 12 figures.)
Mackinac Center for Public Policy. 140 West Main Street, P.O. Box 568, Midland, MI 48640. Tel: 800-224-3327; Tel: 989-631-0900; Fax: 989-631-0964; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Midland, MI.
Identifiers - Location: Michigan