The corporatist front group Mackinac Center is waging a no-holds barred, blatant attack to destroy teachers unions and they seem to have a particular hatred of the Michigan Education Association (MEA). The group, heavily funded by millionaires and billionaires like the Koch brothers and the DeVos family, is shameful in their approach. They have used the Teacher of the Year to promote their anti-union agenda. Earlier this month, the sent out emails to every teacher in over 50 districts encouraging them to leave their union. They followed that up with a mailer to teachers’ homes.
The MEA is fully aware of this campaign to destroy them and has been working behind the scenes to build a portal to educate their members about the Mackinac Center and, equally important, why an MEA membership is so important to them.
Today, they made that portal public: MEAMatters.com.
The site is a matter-of-fact clearinghouse describing why, despite their hypocritical claims to the contrary, Mackinac Center is decidedly NOT on the side of teachers. It also makes a powerful case for MEA membership.
Here are a couple of example stories to illustrate what the type of information you’ll find at MEAMatters.org:
Student is injured during a science experiment, school tells teacher she is covered by their SET SEG policy, but later settles its case and teacher is sued personally
A teacher was conducting a science project for her physics class (a class for advanced students, where problems occur less often). The project involved moving the class to the gymnasium, pairing off and handing them kettle balls to toss to each other. One of the students’ tosses was short and her partner lunged for the ball. The kettle ball ended up crushing the student’s finger between the ball and the floor and the hospital had to amputate at the first joint. The teacher was told by the school district that she was covered under their SET SEG insurance policy and that she wouldn’t be harmed personally. The teacher’s UniServ Director insisted that the member complete a Criminal Investigation Packet and EEL. The parents later settled with the school district and filed a suit for emotional damages against the teacher for $250,000. The teacher is protected by the MEA million dollar liability insurance policy.
Teacher accused of making lurid gestures and “I love you” hand signs to his female students, MEA Legal proves them to be Taylor Swift fan customs
A new teacher was accused of asking his students to play a game where they “slipped their tongue in and out” and for made “I love you” hand signs at the girls in his class. The sheriff was called. The school’s attorney brought in a lawyer, and the teacher was immediately suspended. The MEA retained an attorney who revealed that the students were interviewed by the school’s lawyer without the permission of their parents and were asked leading questions. Their full answers were truncated. The investigation revealed that the teacher was also the middle school volley ball coach where the players had a tradition of playing the Hokey Pokey after a win. The teacher decided that rather than “Put your hips in, Put your hips out,” players should instead do the same with their tongues. The “I love you” hand signs were Taylor Swift fan symbols (forefingers and thumbs together in the symbol of a heart). The school district later brought the teacher back and returned most of his lost pay.
Any MEA member that somehow thinks the Mackinac Center has their best interests in mind needs to do some serious research. If you’re okay enjoying the benefits of union representation without having to pay for it — in other words, if you’re okay being a freeloader — the Mackinac Center’s message may resonate with you.
On the other hand, if you feel it’s important to support the group that is truly looking out for you best interests and actually cares about quality teaching, quality teachers, and making sure our students are taught by the highest level professionals in our state, take a second look at the Mackinac Center before you consider leaving your union.
There is nothing that benefits the for-profit corporations that want to siphon education tax dollars into their corporate coffers more than a frightened, demoralized pool of teachers. Don’t be that teacher. Don’t fall for the lies the corporatists want you to believe. Make your decision based on the facts, not the propaganda put out by groups that want you scared and intimidated.
Teachers have a group looking out for them. That group is NOT the Mackinac Center.