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UPDATED: Mackinac Center is outraged – OUTRAGED! – that we spend more on teachers than on prisons

Most of the time, when I read stuff slithering out of the Mackinac Center’s propaganda arm Michigan Capitol Confidential, I just shrug it off with a Reaganesque, “there they go again”. But every once in a while their effluvium is so nonsensical that it makes me read and reread it again to make sure that it isn’t something coming from The Onion. One of their posts yesterday, titled “Michigan Now Spending More on Teacher Retiree Liabilities Than Prisons”, is in that category.

The thrust of the post, and I’m not kidding here, is that it is simply outrageous that, in Michigan, we’re spending more on teachers than on prisons.…

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More on the allegations of bullying of the NYC Parents Union by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown

Campbell Brown

Late last month I wrote about how former CNN anchor Campbell Brown had reportedly bullied the allies of the New York City Parents Union, thereby isolating them, and has attempted to take over their lawsuit regarding the laying off and firing of teachers in New York City.

The piece has gotten national attention and has people asking if Brown is doing this to raise her own personal profile rather than for any sincere concern for the students of NYC.

Yesterday, Gloria Romero, a former California legislator, penned an op-ed expanding on the story. She, too, questions Brown’s motives:

While writing this column, I received an email from Brown, denying there was any pressuring others to drop support of the Davids suit.…
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Administrative law judge rules that MEA must allow teachers to leave union at any time

After losing in court countless times, the corporatist front group Mackinac Center has finally won a round. This week, an administrative law judge ruled that the Michigan Education Association (MEA) teachers union must end its decades-old policy of having an “opt-out month” and allow its members to leave at any time. The judge’s ruling is essentially a recommendation to the the Michigan Employment Relations Council (MERC) which has the final say on the matter.

Members of the Michigan Education Association should be able to resign from the union at any time, and not just during the month of August, an administrative law judge ruled this week.…
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New DGA ad slams Rick Snyder for cuts to education

For the past few weeks, I’ve been going out twice a week to knock doors for Pam Byrnes, the Democrat running to unseat Tim Walberg, the current Congressman for Michigan’s 7th District. Last week, while speaking to one woman, I asked her, “Can we count on your support for our Democratic candidates this year?” Her response was, “Of course. I’m a teacher.”

Last night, the scene repeated itself. I was speaking to a man on his doorstep and asked him if we could count on his support for our Democratic candidates. His response was nearly the same: “My wife is a teacher.

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Judge overseeing New York education reform lawsuit recuses himself, hearing to combine cases cancelled

NOTE: This story has been updated HERE.

On Saturday, I wrote about an apparent effort by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown to take over a lawsuit filed by the New York City Parents Union challenging some aspects of how teachers are either fired or laid off. Parents of the NYCPU told me that Brown appeared to be more interested in promoting her new career as the voice of “education reform” than she did supporting the parents who were trying to improve things.

After NYCPU parent Mona Davids filed a lawsuit against the State of New York in Staten Island, Brown filed a similar suit of her own in Albany.…

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Law firm supporting New York Parents Union quits, parents blame bullying by Campbell Brown’s education reform group

NOTE: This story has been updated HERE and HERE.

Campbell Brown

In early June, a decision in the California court case Vergara v. California deemed the state’s teacher tenure laws to be unconstitutional because they deny children access to a quality education. The decision has sparked similar cases around the country. In New York, the parents group New York City Parents Union (NYCPU), headed by Mona Davids, filed the first of these lawsuits in early July. In Davids v. State of New York, et al., eleven students, all children of members of the New York City Parents Union, are plaintiffs.…

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Facing massive public outcry Detroit Schools Emergency Manager backs down from draconian cuts & slashing teacher wages

This post has been edited to clarify that the fine arts program at Detroit’s Renaissance High School is being saved.

Just a week after Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin, announced draconian cuts to schools, higher class sizes, a second round of pay cuts for teachers, and the closing of 24 schools, he has changed his mind:

After a public outcry, the Detroit Public Schools is walking back plans to cut teacher pay and boost class sizes.

The district is battling a $127 million deficit, and the Michigan Department of Education approved its revised deficit elimination plan last week.

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Anti-union groups in highly-funded effort to get teachers to freeload and “opt-out” of unions that protect them

For the past several decades, teachers have been able to “opt-out” of their membership in the Michigan Education Association (MEA), the teachers union that bargains collectively on their behalf for good wages, benefits, and working conditions and that is there for them when they are being treated unfairly. During the month of August, teachers that don’t see the benefit of their membership in the MEA were free to leave.

For the past couple of years, the corporate-funded, anti-union group the Mackinac Center has made it their mission in life to get as many teachers to leave the MEA as possible in order to leave them without the funds they need to operate.…

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Detroit school teachers vow to fight yet another pay cut, increased class sizes, and 24 school closings

[NOTE: Edited to clarify that the DPS budget was created by the DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin, not the School Board.]

When Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin put together the Detroit Public Schools budget for the coming year, it included revenue from a $14.8 million county-wide school millage that did not pass in the August primary election. Because of this blunder, now the district finds itself having make huge changes. In an updated budget and deficit-elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education last week, we found out just how huge:

  • DPS teachers, who took a a 10% wage cut in 2011, will see their wages cut by 10% again
  • The district will lay off people to eliminate 1,381 positions from this year through 2019
  • 24 additional schools will close starting next year
  • Teachers will pay as much as $13.1 million more for their health insurance coverage
  • Golf and tennis will be ended for both boys and girls

Unsurprisingly, teachers are not taking this sitting down, not especially surprising since they are facing a loss of a fifth of their salary while working in one of the most difficult and challenging teaching environments in the entire country.…

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Proof that Eastern Michigan University’s EAA affiliation is hurting College of Education student teachers

The faculty and students of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education have been actively seeking to end the institution’s affiliation with the Education Achievement Authority, Gov. Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit students. Among the many horror stories coming out of the EAA, we learned this past week that they are literally experimenting with 100-student kindergarten classes.

I’m not kidding.

There has been a protest rally, a petition, and open letters which I have posted HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Each time, the students and faculty have been rebuffed by their Board of Regents.

Things have gotten so bad that nearly a dozen school districts refuse to accept EMU College of Education students as student teachers.…

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