In what is probably one of the most blatant examples of anti-union, anti- school employee legislation yet, Sen. Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) says he supports right-to-work legislation that only affects public school employees and will have legislation ready soon.
In support of what looks like political payback for MEA’s recall efforts, Richardville said on PBS’s Off the Record, “The teachers union—specifically the Michigan Education Association—have lost their way and public school employees should no longer be forced to join them.”
Richardville singled out teachers unions because he claimed they haven’t recognized the state’s tough economic times like other unions have.
MEA President Steve Cook responded in a press statement this morning, “Republican leaders have slashed school funding, increased taxes, stripped collective bargaining rights from school employees, forced them to pay more out-of-pocket for retirement and health insurance. They’ve completely undermined and demoralized the educators of this state.”
With the Legislature back in session, they are wasting no time pushing their so-called “education reform” agenda.
Today, Senate Republicans introduced a package of seven bills focusing on the expansion of charter schools, school choice, dual enrollment, and cyber schools; privatization of instructional staff; and siphoning of school aid funds to nonpublic school students.
The Legislature is back in session Wed., Sept. 7 and expect them to quickly take up more of Gov. Snyder’s “education reform” plan. Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), chair of the Senate Education Committee, is pushing a package of bills that would require all public schools districts to participate in the schools of choice program and would allow Michigan public schools to hire teachers from private firms.
Pavlov said, “We have to expand choice to empower parents to make sure they get the very best education for their kids.”
The State Employee Retirement Association, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and AARP have joined together on a brief before the Supreme Court arguing that the income tax on pensions that Snyder pushed is unconstitutional. In their amicus brief, the groups cite a constitutional guarantee exempting state worker pensions from taxes.
The Supreme Court has scheduled arguments on Sept. 7.
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.