A chorus of 150,000 voices for public education

From the corridors of the state Capitol in Lansing to the halls of school buildings across Michigan, MEA staff members are hard at work advocating for students and employees at all levels of public education in Michigan.

MEA’s Public Affairs Department includes experts in public policy, politics, communications and advocacy, who work side-by-side with school employees to make sure their stories are told to policymakers, media and the general public.

“MEA’s role as the state’s strongest advocate for public education comes from the collective action of members, who serve on the front lines of public education and are the true experts in their field,” says MEA Public Affairs Director Doug Pratt.

For better or worse, politicians play a key role in deciding school employees’ salaries, health benefits and working conditions, as well as the amount of money allocated to public schools, colleges and universities. MEA’s team of lobbyists work with closely with state legislators, the executive branch and the State Board of Education to influence public policy on behalf of teachers and education support professionals.

Good policy comes from good political leaders, and that’s why MEA’s local and statewide screening committees make recommendations to help members identify pro-public education candidates at the local, state and national levels. Electing friends of public education — from the local school board to the governor’s office — is extremely important, since elected officials have such a huge impact on the careers of school employees and the quality of education our children receive.

MEA members are kept in the loop via member-only communications such as the MEA Voice, Capitol Comments and other electronic updates, which keep members informed on issues facing public education in Michigan. (Visit www.mea.org/signup to subscribe.) Meanwhile, MEA’s external outreach through traditional and social media outlets ensures that public education stays on the front-burner of the collective consciousness.

In addition, MEA’s UniServ directors and Public Affairs staff help with advocacy and communications projects in local communities, helping to tell the positive stories of school employees and promote the overall value of public education.

 “At a time when public education is under attack by some politicians, it’s absolutely critical that MEA members come together and make their voices heard loud and clear,” Pratt says.  “School employees are among the most trusted voices in our state – when teachers and education support professionals talk, Michigan voters listen.”

To get the latest news and updates on issues affecting public education in Michigan, visit www.mea.org, interact on Facebook at www.mea.org/facebook or follow MEA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MEAOnline.