By Victor Skinner

LANSING, Mich. – Almost all public school teachers in Michigan’s largest school districts were rated “effective” or “highly effective” in their most recent evaluations, according to a statewide survey.

Only .65 percent of teachers – and none in Lansing schools – are sub-par.

“… (A)n Education Trust-Midwest survey of large Michigan districts revealed that 87.75 percent of teachers were deemed ‘effective,’ and 11.60 percent were ranked as ‘highly effective.’ Together, 99.36 percent of educators were in the top categories,” reports.

The Education Trust, an advocacy group based in Royal Oak, culled the information from the performance evaluations of more than 8,600 teachers charged with instructing more than 140,000 Michigan students in the state’s largest districts.

We believe the results of last year’s evaluations are a clear indication that the union-negotiated evaluation systems currently in place are virtually worthless, keeping teachers employed who shouldn’t be and failing miserably at helping those on the fringe improve instruction for students.

Here’s just a little bit of proof:

According to the Education Trust, Michigan fourth graders slid “from 27th in the country in math in 2003 to 41st in 2011, and posted the second-largest achievement gap between black and white students in the country in fourth-grade reading at 34 points,” reports.

Education Trust Executive Director Amber Arellano put it in perspective for

“Michigan teachers continue to be treated as if they are identical, assembly line workers and do not get the rich, individualized feedback and development they deserve,” she said.

“Failing to be honest about teacher performance prevents districts from identifying weaknesses in their classrooms and giving teachers the professional support that would make average teachers great, and help novice teachers and those who are struggling raise their game.”

Lansing schools serve as the perfect example. Because of a deal with the teachers union, all educators in the district were rated “effective” last year, while only “6 percent of eighth-graders were producing grade-level work on state exams, and just 2 percent of black eighth-graders were deemed proficient,” according to the news site.

Michigan lawmakers last year adopted a new evaluation process for public schools that rates teachers in one of four categories, and 14 school systems throughout the state are piloting the new system “that includes multiple observations from principals … as well as a variety of exams to measure student growth,” according to

We don’t know when the new evaluation system will be in place statewide, but it can’t be a moment too soon.

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