On Nov. 8, Michigan went to the polls and elected lawmakers willing to do the litany of work needed to deliver the quality public education every student needs and deserves.
The wins on Election Day were resounding.
Re-electing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Installing pro-public education majorities in the state House and Senate. Defeating hundreds of school board candidates bent on dividing – not uniting – parents and educators.
These wins would not have happened without the hard work of our members, leaders and staff.
Every voter we talked with about the value of public education and the stakes of this election – at a door, on the phone, through a text, over a fence, around a kitchen table or at a worksite – helped to deliver friends of public education to office.
Thank you for everything you did in Election 2022. Now, the work begins to turn those election victories into better education policy for our students and the members who meet their educational needs every day.
Adequate and equitable school funding. Meeting student and educator mental health needs. Recruiting and retaining excellent educators to deliver an excellent education. Restoring members’ voices to their working conditions – which are our students’ learning conditions.
As we enter 2023, many priorities need to be addressed in Lansing, and MEA will be engaged in that work, mobilizing the same resources we used to win at the ballot box to win at the Capitol with lawmakers from both parties.
As this is written, MEA members, leaders and staff are developing policy proposals to make good on the promise of public education and the plan to champion those proposals with a new majority of state policymakers who will finally listen and act on what educators know our students need.
We will push to advance policy changes needed to keep our schools and communities safe, a promise we made following the horrific events of Nov. 30, 2021 in Oxford, where gun violence in the halls of the high school killed four, injured eight, and changed lives in the community forever.
Read more in this issue about healing and activism in the tragedy’s wake, including a powerful first-person account of ongoing effects by MEA member Molly Darnell, who was injured by gunfire that day.
We owe our commitment and work to Oxford’s students, educators, parents and families.
Commonsense gun safety laws such as safe storage requirements, background checks and red flag laws. Mental health services to help those who need it before they do harm. Appropriate school safety measures that keep our students and educators safe without turning our schools into prisons.
From Oxford to Uvalde to Parkland to Sandy Hook, we must see these critical steps through.
Now we are better positioned to press for these priorities and more – thanks to the relentless effort we’ve put forth together to elect policymakers who support the vital work of building the future that happens in our public schools every day.