In Michigan, out go the bottom three

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The superintendent of Jackson Public Schools in Michigan is looking to manage his teachers more like a baseball team. Superintendent Dan Evans wants to "unprotect" low-performing teachers by getting the union to agree to uncontested dismissals for up to three district teachers each year.

The idea behind this plan is mainly to "cleanse" the school system of teachers who have floundered at their jobs for years but who have held onto their jobs courtesy of complex tenure rules and principals' lethargy. Some high-performing veteran teachers would be exempt from Evans' powers of dismissal, though the fact that this needed to be stated explicitly begs the worrisome question of how the teachers would be deemed ripe for dismissal in the first place--if the criteria used to find these lame teachers were good, no exemption would be necessary. In any case, the plan would expose most of the district's 450 teachers to the market.

Though Evans' plan will go to the bargaining table in May, it faces some tough hurdles in getting around the state's tenure laws.