On Wednesday, Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw) introduced SB 503, an alternative tenure reform proposal to HB 4625-4628, the four-bill package passed by the House. MEA supports this new Senate proposal.
Unlike the House package, MEA supports SB 503 because it is true tenure reform as outlined in our A+ Agenda. The bill addresses the real problem with tenure--the length and cost of the current process to dismiss ineffective tenured teachers. By contrast, the House package does nothing to address these issues, instead focusing on taking away collective bargaining rights from Michigan educators.
The state House Oversight, Reform, and Ethics Committee today passed legislation that would limit how much public employers can pay for employee health care.
Under House Bill 4572, public employers could pay up to $5,000 for single coverage, $10,000 for two-person coverage, and $15,000 for family coverage.
MEA opposes the bill because local units of government, including schools and universities, should decide through collective bargaining how to manage health care costs. The bill offers a one-size-fits-all approach to employee health care, without regard for regional differences in costs or availability of physicians or health care facilities.
Lawmakers continue work this week on anti-collective bargaining legislation that would also dismantle teacher tenure.
House Bills 4625-4628 are on the agenda of the Senate Education Committee, which meets Wednesday. The bills previously passed in the House of Representatives. MEA members and staff have been working non-stop with legislators on a possible compromise that addresses what some say is the real problem -- the length of time it currently takes to dismiss tenured teachers.
Contact your state senator immediately to talk about this four-bill package. Your senators especially need to hear from rank-and-file school employees -- their constituents -- about how these bills will affect students and the community.
Art Przybylowicz, MEA General Counsel, and Mary Aldecoa, Fowlerville teacher and EA president, testified before the Senate Education Committee on the four-bill tenure proposal passed by the House last week.
He pointed out that we can have tenure reform that is fair, less time consuming and expensive and still provide due process for the dismissal of ineffective teachers.
Przybylowicz spoke in opposition to House Bills 4625-4628 which amend tenure and dismantle collective bargaining calling them “poorly conceived, apparently hastily drafted, and based upon a faulty premise—the infallibility of building principals.”
Today, in a joint meeting of the Senate and House Education committees, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush claimed great success for his education reform plan in Florida—taking it from 50 out of 50 states in terms of student achievement to a 21 percent improvement in student test scores.
The House Appropriations Committee heard testimony today on HB 4701 and 4702 which would gut the state employees retirement health system and shift the $14.5 unfunded liability of the plan onto the backs of employees.