Taking a page from Louisiana’s Recovery School District, the state of Michigan plans to take over some of the most troubled schools in Detroit and put them into a new Education Achievement System, a move that’s won the support of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Reaction from the Detroit Federation of Teachers and other state unions has been lukewarm at best. Most of the details are still pretty sketchy, and as my colleague Christina Samuels reported for Education Week, DFT President Keith Johnson wants to know how this is different from a “Priority Schools” program already enshrined in the city’s most recent teacher contract.
One of the question marks has to do with exactly how this new plan would affect current teachers. A FAQ for the new initiative notes that since this would be a new entity, it would get to have a new bargaining contract.
The plan intimates at hiring teachers with a “track record of success,” which might mean that existing teachers would have to reapply for their jobs. It potentially hints at a “mutual consent” type of placement process, too, but those are just guesses, for now.
On her Twitter feed, the president of the DFT’s national union was less than excited about the proposal. “Just read the fine print of the new Detroit schools plan—disappointing. Looks like it’s written by folks who spend little time in schools,” American Federation of Teachers’ Randi Weingarten writes.
The short answer to the question at the title of this blog item: We don’t know. Yet.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.