During Bolger’s term as Speaker he achieved bipartisan support for education reform, including:
Tenure Reform – During Bolger’s first year as Speaker, the House passed tenure reform. Tenure reform in Michigan guaranteed students would not be left with an underperforming teacher or lose a teacher who is exceeding. Tenure reform made it easier for a school district to fire ineffective teachers, and banned the last in first out approach previously utilized.
School Choice Expansion – Bolger and the House passed legislation that expanded school choice options, guaranteeing more students access to cyber and charter schools; the legislation passed with bipartisan support. The school choice legislation gradually lifts the cap on charter schools authorized by universities and allows for more cyber school options.
Teacher Benefit Reforms – During the Speaker’s term, legislation was passed which is described as the biggest change in the state’s teacher retirement system in a generation. This reform allows school districts to allocate less towards retirement pensions and more towards students. School district leaders have noted the change to retirement pension requirements have been a blessing, saying the separation allows school districts to spend more on school operations. The reform also created the option for teachers to control more of their own retirement planning.
Early Childhood Education – With Bolger’s vocal support, the legislature increased funding for early childhood development by $65 million in 2013 and again to a total increase of $130 million in 2014. The changes to funding for early childhood development have resulted in at least 16,000 more students being able to attend pre-k schooling.