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Bill introduced by the state senate could allow teachers to be paid based on experience rather that student test scores

Brian Charles Watson
Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan State Senate has introduced a new bill that would stop paying Detroit educators based only on student performance.

Bill No. 359 would allow teachers to be paid by a non-student performance system.

In 2016, the then republican led state senate voted on six different bills that would eliminate the Detroit Public Schools’ (DPS) debt.

Passed by a narrow vote, the bills gave $72 million to DPS to erase their debt but made teacher’s pay based solely on student performance.

The bill punished teachers further making them reapply for their current jobs, allowed for the hiring of non certified teachers, and punished teachers and any other employees for unions or strikes.

Since then, test scores have been tied to educator salaries.

Currently, Detroit is the only city in the state of Michigan that pays their teachers based on student performance.

Detroit Federation of Teachers President, Lakia Wilson said, “It is highly racist and discriminatory because it only affects Detroit Public School Community District new hires. It incentivizes new hires, college graduates, or anyone wanting to be employed by the school district.”

She also said that the Detroit public school system is being targeted for being predominantly black and brown both in educators and students and that student performance isn’t based solely on educators. “Kids are hungry; if parents are homeless that means kids are homeless; kids are struggling with all kinds of kid pressure.”

She also said, “You can’t truly be for children, you can’t truly want to improve the lives of children, you can’t truly be for educators if you want to penalize them for working in a particular city.”

Bill sponsor and State Senator Stephanie Chang said, “We owe it to Detroit's kids to make sure we have teachers that are staying in the district.”

She also said she felt like it was the right time because the Michigan legislature is in a new majority and it’s an opportunity for adjustments.

Both Lakia Wilson and State Senator Chang voiced their optimism about the bill, hoping it would be passed soon.

Toussaint joined Michigan Radio in June 2022 as a newsroom intern and is currently working in his second summer. He is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C., majoring in journalism and minoring in Afro-American Studies.
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