Tag Archives | Michigan Education Association

Mackinac Center continues its efforts to encourage freeloading & destroy teachers union with mass mailing

Last week I wrote about how the corporatist front group Mackinac Center had sent a mass email to teachers in over 50 school districts in Michigan encouraging them to leave the Michigan Education Association, one of the two largest teachers unions in the state.

Their effort didn’t stop there. This week, teachers across the state received postcards in the mail urging them to freeload off the work their union does on their behalf to secure reasonable wages and benefits by leaving the union. This shameless effort to destroy the MEA is transparent in its intent: starve the MEA of the funds it needs to operate to help teachers work with the dignity they deserve and to be adequately compensated for the essential service they provide to society.…

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BREAKING: Michigan Education Association gives early endorsement to Mark Schauer for Michigan governor

Standing proud for kids, teachers, and public education

The Michigan Education Association (MEA), Michigan’s largest teachers union, threw their support behind Mark Schauer for governor today, giving him their official endorsement.

Schauer is the son of a high school teacher and a product of Michigan’s public school system. As governor, he’ll be a fierce advocate for public education, our educators, and, most importantly, our state’s students. From his website:

Mark understands that education is the single most important investment we can make as a state. To give our kids a better future, rebuild the middle class, and compete for 21st Century jobs, we need to keep our constitutional promise of a quality public education for every child.…
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INTERVIEW: Teacher of the Year used by StudentsFirst & Mackinac Center to promote teacher pay bill he doesn’t support

Michigan's 'Teacher of the Year' deserves better than this

In May of this year, Gary Abud, a science teacher at Grosse Pointe North High School, was chosen as Michigan's 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year by State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. It's an amazing accomplishment for a teacher who has only been at it for six years. Well-respected by both his students and his coworkers, Mr. Abud was a worthy choice. To reward him for his outstanding achievement, the anti-union corporatist Mackinac Center -- an ALEC and State Policy Network affiliate that is funded, in part, by the Koch brothers -- did a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to find out how much money Mr. Abud makes. Once they found out, they proceeded to use him to promote passage of House Bill 4625, a bill I call the "'Teach to the Test' Teacher Pay Act". Click through for my interview with this amazing educator.
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UPDATED: Education supporters plan huge grassroots rally at Mich Capitol June 19th, teacher unions & media confused

Grassroots power in action!

NOTE: This post has been updated. See below.

A little under two weeks ago, my pals that run the Facebook page Save Michigan’s Public Schools announced a rally to support education and teachers in Michigan. Their page is the premier online resource for all things education in our state. It was started by Ann Arbor educator Rochelle Noel and former state House candidate from Traverse City Betsy Coffia. Being grassroots organizers in the most basic definition of the word “grassroots”, Rochelle and Betsy and their passionate team of volunteers chose to pull off their June 19th rally on their own without reaching out to the two biggest unions in Michigan, the Michigan Education Association (MEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).…

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Will a cyber school website ever be a champion for our students or make a difference in their lives?

That's not a relationship built for education

Last year, Michigan's Republican-dominated legislature passed a bill that was then signed into law by Governor Snyder that expands cyber schools in our state. Michigan already has nearly a quarter of the county's charter schools and upwards of 80% of them are for-profit, run by corporations who make decisions based on their impact on the corporate profit statement. I've been concerned about this ever since the law was passed because cyber schools rob our children of the human contact and relationships that are essential for helping them become happy, productive adults with the social skills needed to be successful. The bill was, ironically, part of a package of bills the Republicans, without a trace of irony, called Parent Empowerment Education Reform (PEER.) Except that kids who "attend" cyber schools won't actually have any peers, at least not the kind of peer you can interact directly with. Rita Pierson is an educator who feels deeply about this topic. A teacher for 40-years, she has come to see the essential value of the relationships teachers develop with their students. She gave a TED Talk recently where she speaks in direct terms about this topic and her message is one legislators in Michigan would benefit from hearing. Watch it after the jump.
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AG Schuette is denied, lawsuit challenging Michigan’s Right to Work law goes forward

Michigan citizens: 1, Attorney General Bill Schuette: 0

Back in January, I wrote about a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, the MEA, the AFL-CIO and others that challenged Michigan's Right to Work law since it was passed in violation of the Michigan Open Meetings Act. Because Republicans locked citizens (and Democratic lawmakers) out of the building during the vote, the plaintiffs say the law should be invalidated. This could be a HUGE deal because Republicans passed the legislation by a margin that was larger than than the margin they hold in the House after last November's election. They would be forced to bring more of their GOP caucus over to vote yes on this legislation which may be difficult do, politically speaking. Yesterday, Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette overruled a request by Attorney General Bill Schuette to throw the case out of court. Details after the jump.
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Michigan GOP to teachers: We’re not done with you yet

Improving education by attacking teachers?

Michigan Republicans are not done with teachers yet, not by a long shot. Now they are going after their pensions and healthcare.

Lawmakers and Michigan’s largest teachers’ union are locking horns over how to bring the state’s school employee retirement system — underfunded by some $44 billion — back into the black.

The Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System, commonly known as MPSERS, is the state-run school employee retirement system comprised of both pension and retiree health-care benefits.

Last week, the state Senate made an initial attempt to address the promised, but underfunded, benefits primarily through increased contributions by employees.

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Snyder to reward successful schools, punish those who don’t “progress”

Penalizing struggling schools solves what exactly?

The Detroit Free Press has an article in today’s edition titled “Rick Snyder’s push to tie school funding to performance still needs a scale”. They quote Governor Rick Snyder from last April:

“In my 2013 budget message, I will be proposing that school districts receive a bonus beyond the per-pupil state foundation allowance for demonstrating student growth in reading, math and other … selected subjects,” Snyder said.

“By rewarding growth, and not only proficiency, students who have fallen behind their grade level are not forgotten. Instead, they are viewed as having the most to gain.”

While the article doesn’t have a new information in it, it raises a question many have been asking for some time.…

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Michigan Gov Rick Snyder to make another fake concession, this time on school funding

Rick Snyder is the master of the “fake concession”. He takes money away from something, gives a little back and then paints it as a “concession”. It’s not.

He did it on the Earned Income Tax credit in late April:

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed budget eliminates the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) which helps the working poor, especially those with kids.

In a dramatic concession, he’s agreed to give qualifying families $25 per child . This represents 5.8% of the EITC the average family would have received.

He will now tell everyone he made a concession. But, if his budget passes in May as it most likely will, he will have actually slashed an important bit of assistance for many poor Michiganders with families by 94.2%.

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Will new Mich House Education chair Tom McMillin work with Mackinac Center to destroy the MEA? – UPDATED

With the ouster of Republican Paul Scott in a recall election earlier this month, Michigan Republicans chose a man considered “one of the most conservative members of the House Republican Caucus” to take his place on the House Education Committee, Tom McMillin. This retaliatory choice was predictable (and predicted). Rick Pluta of Michigan Public Radio described it as “a horse head in the MEA’s bed” a la The Godfather.

“If you didn’t like Representative Paul Scott, and what he stood for, and what he was trying to do, [then] State Representative Tom McMillin might give you something to cry about,” explains Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network.…
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