Will Secretary Duncan bring news of ‘skunk works’ controversy back to D.C.?

MEA President issues statement in response to U.S. Education Secretary’s visit to Detroit and Ypsilanti with Gov. Snyder

EAST LANSING, Mich., May 6, 2013 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steve Cook in response to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s visit Monday to schools in Detroit and Ypsilanti with Gov. Rick Snyder:

“It was certainly an honor for students and school employees in Detroit and Ypsilanti to get a visit from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan today, and we appreciate the attention he and Gov. Rick Snyder are paying to the critical issue of early childhood education, which research proves is key in helping students become lifelong learners. 

“But just because Gov. Snyder agrees with investing in early childhood education doesn't forgive the fact that he's thrown research out the window in countless other education decisions he’s made in the past two years —  especially the recent revelations about his administration’s secret ‘skunk works’ plan.

“While he’s talking now about putting money into early childhood programs, Gov. Snyder continues to stand by his $1 billion in cuts to local schools, which shortchanges the education of our children from kindergarten through college.  And now his corporate special interest allies, already benefitting from massive tax breaks, could make more profit off our schools, thanks to skunk works.

“We hope Secretary Duncan had an opportunity today to question Gov. Snyder on skunk works and what in particular the governor finds ‘pretty cool’ about it.

“Does Gov. Snyder think it’s ‘pretty cool’ to replace teachers with teleconferencing in order to maximize profits for IT companies who were part of the skunk works group?

“Or perhaps he thinks it’s ‘pretty cool’ to enact an unconstitutional school voucher program that makes parents and students purchase their learning via a debit card.

“Maybe the governor thinks it’s ‘pretty cool’ to make education funding work just like food stamps.

“Secretary Duncan may not have heard about the skunk works controversy before arriving – but we hope he learns what’s really going on in Michigan and takes the message back to D.C. that rather than a world class education for Michigan students, Gov. Snyder seems set on delivering everyone a dime-store diploma.”