Michigan Teacher of the Year Gary Abud
It should have been a completely positive experience: Late last month, Grosse Pointe North High School science teacher Gary Abud Jr. was named the 2013-14 Michigan Teacher of the Year by the state Department of Education.
Abud, a young teacher with six years in the classroom, is working hard to develop innovative methods of educating his students, incorporating project-based learning, technology and social media into his lesson plans.
At a time when teachers and education support professionals are under constant attack — even being referred to as “hogs” by one top state legislator — Abud’s story provided some positive news about all of the great things happening in schools across Michigan.
Then the far-right Mackinac Center for Public Policy and its extremist allies got involved.
The Mackinac Center filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Abud’s school district to obtain details of his salary (which is lower than that of some of his colleagues), and then posted it for the world to see — all to make an ill-conceived point about so-called “merit” pay. Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst and other powerful right-wing mouthpieces continue to bat the story around, making Abud an unwilling poster child for merit pay.
What they probably didn’t expect is for Abud to fight back.
“They have not been given permission to use my name, photo, story, words, or any ideas,” Abud told Eclectablog.com’s Chris Savage.