Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wanted: Teachers for Hire & Charter Schools on Every Street Corner

Senate Bill 618 and 624 headed out of committe today for a full vote by the Senate.  These bills would allow districts to bid out your services to private companies i.e. teaching by lowest bidder, lift the cap on charter schools, mandate schools of choice, and divert public monies to dual enrollment and virtual education programs (cyber schools) for private and home school students.

Gary Miron, Western Michigan University education professor and national charter school expert, and Barbara Bonsignore, the Public Policy Director of Michigan AAUW,  gave testimony against lifting the cap on charter schools and if districts were allowed to outsource teachers they would become nothing but " corporate or franchise schools (think of "McDonald's School of Higher Learning").

 Sen. Pavlov (R-St Clair) and Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) were not impressed.  Pavlov felt charter schools were accountable to the communities they were in and Colbeck did not believe "profits" were evil. 
Riiiight, and Bill Gates is the Wizard of Oz!!

Call Sen. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City) NOW!!  Tell him to vote NO on SB 618 and 624

But wait, there's more!
The House today introduced a four-bill package (HB 5023-5026) that deals with strikes, picketing, dues deduction and the hiring of scabs.
For crying out loud!!  We already have laws on the books dealing with this stuff.  Here's a novel idea, how about they deal with the 11.2% unemployment rate in our state; how about the Republicans deal with the rising poverty rate among children in Michigan.

I forgot, those are too tough to tackle.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Let's get the facts straight about the right to work for less.

"Proponents of a right-to-work law in Michigan suggest that it would increase job growth and incomes in the state... These assertions appear to be based, in large part, on information supplied by advocates in the National Right to Work Committee, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and other anti-union organizations"   

No surprise there.

Lets look at what the Education Policy Institute (EPI), an independent research group, says about Right to Work.

EPI released ‘RIGHT TO WORK’: The wrong answer for Michigan’s economy this week by Dr. Gordon Lafer.

As Michigan seeks to recover from the Great Recession while addressing the additional problems generated by contraction in the auto industry, some advocates are promoting the idea that the state’s economy can be turned around through adoption of a “right-to-work” law.

Large sums of money have been devoted to backing so-called “right-to-work” bills in numerous state legislatures. Lobbyists for these misleadingly named laws claim that they significantly improve both job growth and the wages people earn. The evidence shows that these claims are completely without scientific foundation.

 "The most rigorous scientific analysis shows the exact opposite is true."

Rep. Mike Shirkey,  Sen. Randy Richardville, ultra-conservative Republicans , and highly organized elements of the corporate world want to experiment on teachers before they unleash it on the rest of the middle class. They want to fire you and allow private companies to take over public schools! Contact your legislator NOW!!  You know this is an insane idea when the Michgan Association of School Boards (MASB) and Michigan Association of Secondary Administrators (MASA) opposes this and other anti-education bills out there.

Contact Richardville, MacMaster, Walker, and Foster and demand they stop this idiocy NOW ! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Michigan Millionaire Politicians

I found this on No wonder we can't get anywhere or get anything done.  It would not be in their best interest.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rep. Al Pscholka To Strip You of Constitutional Rights

HB 4052 introduced by rep. Al Pscholka would take away your constitutional right to assembly, free speech to start.  As school employees you would be banned from
  • using school e-mail to discuss political subjects
  • prohibit you from meeting for union activities on school property
  • voting or holding elections for union offices on school property
This is just a small list of what is being proposed.  Tell your legislator this insanity must stop!  Call or write and let them know you are fed up with being the excuse for Michigan's economic problems.  Ask them "where are the jobs?"  Ask them "how does this improve education in Michigan?" 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Have You Contacted Your Legislators Yet?

MEA President Steve Cook is putting out a weekly video message on youtube.  Click on the link:   I also have included a new favorite blog.  Eclectablog is 100% behind educators and is doing his best to get the message out to anyone who will listen that what is going on in Lansing is insane.  His blog has been featured on The Rachel Maddow Show.  Check it out. 
And to give a little perspective as to how the rich got richer and the poor (and middle class) got poor, there is a grahic published in the New York Times.  See it at:
Makes your blood boil, doesn't it?
Finally, if you haven't contacted your state legislator yet, what is holding you up?  If you have, kudos and thanks to you.  Keep at it and keep the pressure on. E-mails are great, phone calls (done on your own time, of course) are even better.  Don't wait, do it NOW!  See you in E.J. Monday @ 5:30pm.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Republicans Declare War on Educators!!

Here we go folks.  Get ready to do battle.  A slew of anti-teacher legislation is on a fast track in Lansing.
  • Sen. Randy Richardville introducing Right to Teach legislation
  • House Bill 4929 passes and would prohibit school districts from deducting union dues from your paycheck
  • SB 1618 (Pavlov) if passed would privatize teachers and eliminate cap on charter schools
  • SB 593 if passed would force new teacher hires into a define benefit retirement plan
  • SB 619 expand cyber charter schools removing all restrictions and caps on the number and operation of them
  • SB 620 if passed would allow parents or teachers by a 51% vote turn their local public school into a charter school
  • Rumor is (no bill yet) there is movement afoot to eliminate health care for teacher retirees!!
And the list goes on and on.  In passing HB 4929, Rep. Haveman (R-Holland), sponsor of the bill, said the legislation isn’t an attack on teachers. “It allows them to have more money in their pockets and that’s a good thing.”
Are you kidding??  What does he think we are going to do with the money, go out and buy a car?  Following this Republican logic—does that mean the 3 percent tax on pensions and the 20 percent contribution to health care are bad things?

Then there is Sen. Randy Richardville.  He doesn't even try to hide behind the argument that a Right to Work (for less) law for teachers only would somehow be good for kids and good for reforming education.  He was on Tim Skubic's Off the Record show and stated afterwards to reporters, "I've come to a point where I've seen that I do not believe that the teachers union represents teachers well at all, nor does it represent the students. What they've been doing is working hard, twisting arms and putting us in places that we can't afford to be."
According to Gongwer News Service, he went on to call teachers "more than greedy" and said the MEA was now about "big-paid, high-honcho people. 
He has blatantly stated the MEA needs to stop the recall efforts against Republican legislators in Michigan.  The "Right to Teach" bill is political payback, pure and simple!  This is also a brutal example of an elected official abusing his position and power to advance a personal and party philosophy against a specific organization that differs in their approach to improving education in Michigan. 

SB 1618, Sen. Pavlov thinks allowing private companies to come into a school, fire all the teachers, then rehire them (at a significantly reduced salary), or simply hire all new teachers is somehow going improve the education of your students!
All of this flies in the face of what our democratically elected officials are in government to do, represent the people, period!  If you value your way of life, if you value your position to educate children, then you must let these people in Lansing know you will not stand for this any long.  Folks, they are out to destroy public education any way they can.  And if we let them win, the biggest losers will be our students!   Read more about all of this at and call, e-mail, or write Richardville, Pavlov, Sen. Walker, Rep. McMaster, and Rep. Foster.   Please "cc" or copy any correspondance you do to MEA President Steve Cook at  Seems that several Republican leaders have publically stated MEA members have not contacted them in opposition to this junk or members have stated they are in favor of what they are doing.  Lets set the record straight, send a copy of your correspondance to President Cook.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

East Jordan Needs Our Help

East Jordan teachers are in a crisis.  The teachers have offered to make concessions similar to our contract regarding salary freezes, co-pays on insurance, among others.  The board has rejected their offers and said there proposals did not "offer enough" in cuts and/or savings.  If it wasn't enough, then what is?  So far the district won't say.  However, they did hire an attorney at $30,000 dollars a throw to negotiate for the district.
We need to attend the board meeting Monday, September 19 in East Jordan at 5:30pm in the high school.  I suspect many of you know people who work at East Jordan schools, have friends there, or know employees at Boyne City schools who have spouses working there.  It's time to support our friends and neighbors in need!  If you can't make it Monday night, call the board office at 536-3131 and ask for the time, meeting place, and directions on how to get there.  Even if you plan to go, call anyway.  The idea is make them aware that people in the surrounding districts care about what happens in E.J., are watching, and getting involved.  If we were in the same situation (remember two years ago?) I would like to think East Jordan staff would come and support us.  Remember, attend and call 536-3131 for info on the meeting.