The Bitter Taste of Rejection

Editor’s Note: For anyone worried about the state of public education—especially if worry is accompanied by a feeling of powerlessness—today’s guest post accomplishes two different goals remarkably well: It entertains and inspires.

Ken Ferguson is a husband, dad, West Bloomfield School Board trustee, and a teacher/consultant for visually impaired students in Grosse Pointe Public School System. He also is a committed MEA member who signed on to be a Political Action Leader in his region. 

The Cheap Shot I Never Forgot

By Brenda Ortega
MEA Editor

I remember in June 2013 when Republican lawmaker – now candidate for lieutenant governor – Lisa Posthumus Lyons stood on the floor of the state House of Representatives and derided school employees with an offensive animal metaphor to portray them as greedy and lazy.

A bill was under consideration to dissolve two financially struggling school districts in cities hard hit by job and population losses – Inkster and Buena Vista near Saginaw – and disperse those students to neighboring districts.

Parents and children were about to lose their community schools, and school employees were poised to lose their jobs. None of them got much compassion or understanding from Rep. Lyons, then chair of the House Education Committee.

Lyons was opposed to a Democratic-sponsored amendment, supported by MEA, to require the neighboring districts receiving the students to interview displaced school employees for job openings and pay them according to their years of experience if hired..

‘Falsehood flies’ to Push For-Profit Schools

By Brenda Ortega
MEA Editor

I’m appalled, angry and saddened by recent news stories and editorials about teacher absences – bashing educators again – based on one nakedly faulty and politicized “study.” 

Where do I begin? By pointing out the falsehoods and misrepresentations? Explaining why teachers need sick days? Shouting from the rooftops how the public must demand an end to political attacks that continue to drive dedicated educators out of the classroom?

In my last job as an English teacher, I asked my senior honors students to grapple with Jonathan Swift, the 18th-century political satirist who combined sharp wit and intellectual courage to challenge political corruption and dishonesty among the wealthy ruling class. Think Jon Stewart in 1700s Europe.

Worth Her Weight in Gold

By Brenda Ortega
MEA Editor

Never underestimate the importance of a great secretary.

I already knew that was true, but a recent interview with Joan Crampton – an office secretary at Greenfield Elementary in Birmingham Schools – confirmed it a thousand times over.

Few people know the full scope of Crampton’s job as the school’s gatekeeper, enrolling students, ordering supplies, handling the budget, operating as school nurse, coordinating substitutes, and working for the principal.

Truth or Satire: A Look at Michigan’s M-STEP

By Brenda Ortega
MEA Editor

OK, class. It’s time now for a very important… Question, Jimmy?… No, it’s not time for lunch yet… Yes, I know it’s chicken nugget day! You won’t be late if we start now, alright?

Today we’re going to practice for the big, long test that will be used to label you and your school and even our community and the whole of public education in Michigan and across the U.S. – above every truly wonderful thing we do and accomplish in our work together.