Dispatch from Michigan: Urgent. “All hell is breaking out here.”
“I hope that you can share with your readers the nastiness that is taking place in Michigan. People around the country need to be made aware of just what lengths these people will go to attack teachers.” – Dan Quinn
It is hard to believe that things in Michigan could get worse than they already were. I know that Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana have taken the brunt of the attack on workers rights, but Michigan might have jumped into the lead with our crazy, wacko, sicko legislature.
As you already know, Michigan has been under assault all year long. It began with the passage of the Emergency Financial Manager package, continued with the taxing of pensions for retirees, and culminated in the defunding of almost a billion dollars of education funding from K-12 schools; in exchange for $1.8 billion in corporate tax cuts. Tell me how any of these improves education or improves the unemployment situation in Michigan.
This summer we also saw the attacks intensify with a tenure “reform” package that eliminated due process and just cause for dismissals, eliminated seniority, added a list of prohibited subjects of bargaining, and imposed an evaluation system that will require 50% of a teacher’s evaluation be based on test scores. Tell me how any of those improves education or improves the unemployment situation in Michigan.
And last week, the Governor signed Senate Bill 7 which requires all education professionals and municipal employees to pay 20% of their health care, regardless of income or previous concessions to keep health care for members. Eventually, health care will cost some support professionals more than they take home in salary. Insane!
The attacks on public education intesified this week with yet another package of bills designed to erode democratically elected school boards, increase privatization, and destroy collective bargaining rights for workers.
The package of bills unleashed this week will do the following: allow for the privatization of all educators, removes the 150 charter school cap, allows community colleges to charter in Detroit, expands “cyber” schools and seat time requirements for students, creates and defines “conversion” charter schools (parents can petition for their school to be a charter school), expands the list of services that public schools can provide to parochial schools, and expands schools of choice.
In addititon there are bills that were introduced this week which prohibit districts from deduction of union dues, and that create a third tier of retirement where new hires will only be allowed to be part of a defined contribution plan (eliminating pensions from employees hired after July 2011).
Most of these bills have been discussed in some form over the past several years, but they’ve intensified the bills in recent weeks.
And on Thursday, it was reported that Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville plans to introduce something called “Right to Teach” which is a right to work law aimed just at teachers.
In short, Richardville has all but admitted that he’s going after MEA because of a series of recall efforts that have been gaining steam around the state.
MEA has been active in the recall effort behind House Education Chair Paul Scott. Scott’s recall petitions were successful and he faces a November recall election. In addition, educators have been active in the recall Rick Snyder campaign, and a petition drive to place the EFM on the ballot.
Scott would only be the third legislator in state history to be recalled. A recent poll from his home district found 60% in favor of removing the two-term house member. If Scott were to be recalled, it would send a strong signal to Republicans in moderate districts and weaken the strength that the GOP has had in passing legislation.
I believe that the most recent attacks are a direct consequence of the possible recall of Rep. Scott and the possibility that the pendulum may swing back in 2012.
They are afraid that their attacks may come back and haunt them, and to further weaken the base of the Democratic party, they are going to go after collective bargaining. Governor Rick Snyder and Richardville himself had been saying that Right to Work was off the table. Snyder declared in 2010 that he didn’t want to see his plans be derailed by a nasty fight with unions. In what looks like political payback for the recall efforts, Richardville singled out MEA and stated that they have “lost their way and public employees should no longer be forced to join them.”
Richardville singled out teachers beacuse he claimed that they haven’t recognized the states tough economic times like other unions have.
I’m at a complete loss for words, other than to say what is the matter with these people? I hope that you can share with your readers the nastiness that is taking place in Michigan. People around the country need to be made aware of just what lengths these people will go to attack teachers.
Tell me how any of these attacks improves education or improves the unemployment situation in Michigan?