Out of over 100,000 public school teachers in Michigan, only nine were fired last year

Absolutely amazing. If you want to know why teachers unions are pernicious and why America's education system is badly in need of a from-the-ground-up overhaul, just start looking at the issue of teacher tenure:

After Timothy Grider was arrested for picking up a prostitute in 2009, Byron Center Public Schools suspended the special-education teacher.

They also searched his classroom and found a half-empty bottle of vodka — a violation of school policy.

Grider didn’t get fired. Instead, the 19-year veteran teacher agreed to resign for a year’s salary and benefits, a settlement worth $106,307.

Public school teachers in Michigan and throughout the country are covered by tenure, a set of legal protections that makes their dismissal for incompetence or malfeasance a complicated and expensive process.

As a result, tenured teachers are rarely fired. Michigan has more than 100,000 public school teachers, and in recent years about 60 cases annually have been filed with the State Tenure Commission, including disputes involving economic layoffs and charges of dismissal for cause. Of the commission’s 15 decisions during the 2009-10 school year, nine resulted in the dismissal of a teacher.

Emphasis added. Note that this is not a problem unique to Michigan. The Los Angeles Unified School District — the largest district in the country with over 33,000 teacher — “spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of the district's 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance — and only four were fired” over the course of a decade.

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