In a few weeks, my six years as MEA’s president comes to an end. Reflecting on everything that’s occurred during this turbulent time — including unprecedented political attacks on the education profession — I’m struck by two things.
First, the resilience of MEA’s members, this union, and the labor movement in the face of these threats has been remarkable. Many believed we wouldn’t still be around to stand up for workers, families, and public education — and they were wrong.
Second is the commonality of these attacks and the prevailing political belief behind them — that the almighty dollar is more important than people. We must stay focused on fighting that world view, especially in the way it’s been pushed by forces such as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Gov. Rick Snyder, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, and Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Look at the attacks on collective bargaining rights, school budget cuts paying for unaccountable big business tax giveaways, or the continued legal fight against returning money that’s owed to school employees. The common thread always comes back to money — specifically wealthy CEOs and campaign contributors.