More schools failing to meet AYP, a huge jump in child poverty, and an increase in the jobless rate—what’s the impact on education and “education reform” in Michigan with a new legislative session and a new school year getting ready to start?
Vacationing legislators will be back at work soon. Up until their summer break, they were busy focusing on attacking school employees and the middle class. And the picture doesn’t look much brighter when they return.
Expected on their agenda is:
SB 7 which requires public employees to pay a portion of their health insurance. The legislation was moved to a joint House/Senate conference committee where debate over an 80/20 contribution versus a hard cap has been taking place. The bill is on a fast track with a goal of getting it through the Legislature Aug. 24.
Right-to-Work would allow workers who don’t want to pay union dues the right to freeload—they would get the same benefits as union members without paying any union dues. Back in February, Republicans introduced HB 4054, SB 116 and SB 120 establishing “Right to Work” zones. A new group, Michigan Freedom to Work, has emerged in support of a statewide law. Gov. Snyder claims the issue is not on his agenda but he would sign it. With anti-union sentiment running so strong, he may get that chance.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a four-bill package that limits collective bargaining and changes how teachers are evaluated and dismissed in Michigan. Read the full press release sentfrom the State of Michigan Executive Office on July 19, 2011.
Under the new laws, formerly known as House Bills 4625-4628, teachers will have to wait five years instead of four to earn tenure. Educators will no longer be allowed to collectively bargain teacher placement and teachers at all levels can now be fired for almost any reason. Read more.
“Businesses in Michigan…How Do They Want to See Us Educate Our Children” was the agenda description for Wednesday’s meeting of the House Education Reform Workgroup. The committee heard presentations by a number of business owners, human resource personnel and the Grand Rapids Regional Chamber of Commerce.
In a surprising move, the Senate took up the House version of Senate Bill 7 on Wednesday (their only session day this week), unanimously rejecting the House’s changes to the bill that would cap employer contributions to health insurance.
School funding was on today’s agenda of a state House education reform work group, a special, bipartisan panel that plans to meet weekly through the summer to consider substantial changes for public education.
As if we need another reminder that elections have consequences, the Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday reversed its earlier decision on payroll deduction of PAC contributions by public employees, deciding that doing so breaks state campaign finance law.