Section 1249a(1) of the Revised School Code states “a school district, intermediate school district, or public school academy shall not assign a pupil to be taught in the same subject area for 2 consecutive years by a teacher who has been rated as ineffective on his or her 2 most recent annual year-end evaluations.” Thrun Law Firm interprets this language to prohibit a school from assigning a student for two consecutive years in the same subject area to any teacher rated ineffective on his or her two most recent annual year-end evaluations, regardless of whether it is a different teacher from the previous year.
Section 1249a(2) qualifies that if a school is unable to comply with this requirement, the board must provide the student’s parent or legal guardian with written notice of the assignment by July 15 before the next academic year. The written notice must specifically advise the parent or legal guardian that the school cannot comply with Section 1249a(1) and that the student has been assigned to be taught in the same subject area for a second consecutive year by a teacher who has been rated as ineffective on his or her two most recent annual year-end evaluations. The notice need not identify the teacher(s) by name, but it must provide an explanation as to why the school cannot comply with Section 1249a(1).
The Revised School Code does not define the phrase “two most recent annual year-end evaluations.” It could include evaluations from nonconsecutive school years if, for example, a teacher was on a leave of absence and did not receive an annual year-end evaluation under Section 1249 for a particular school year.
The “two most recent annual year-end evaluations” also could include evaluations from a teacher’s prior school employer. According to MDE, there is no statewide database for teacher evaluations that enables a school to consider an evaluation rating assigned by a former school employer. Thus, evaluation ratings assigned by a previous school are not readily available to other schools. Until this issue is resolved by the Michigan Legislature or the courts, school officials should require prospective hires to provide copies of their two most recent annual year-end evaluations before offering employment.
Remember that decisions about the development, format, content, and notification procedures under Section 1249a are prohibited bargaining subjects that are in the school’s sole discretion.