Letter to Members: We are champions

If you’ve been keeping up with developments at the state Capitol since January, you know some good things are happening and more is in the works.

Democratic leaders in both chambers passed a rollback of the state’s unfair retirement tax, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed along with an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families in a ceremony attended by MEA leaders and members.

Also prioritized for hearings and action has been gun safety legislation in the wake of yet another horrifying school shooting — this time at MSU — and a long‑sought elimination of the retention mandate in the third‑grade reading law.

As we write, lawmakers have also begun work to restore school employees’ collective bargaining rights — stripped away in 2011 — which stagnated salaries, drove up health care costs, and removed numerous subjects of bargaining. In addition, we look forward to action on changes needed in the teacher evaluation system.

There is much to celebrate and anticipate. But this issue of the magazine also underscores the reality that our work as educators and union members is never done.

We’ve all seen or heard about extreme forces pushing book bans and anti‑LGBTQ+ policies on school boards across the state and country. This coordinated effort to drive a wedge between educators and parents will not succeed, especially when we unite and work collectively to stop it (like is being done in Southwest Michigan’s Brandywine district).

Our public schools are overwhelmingly valued and supported in communities large and small, conservative and liberal, and we are powerful when we join forces with all of our education stakeholders in defense of quality public education.

Yet we know the work is exhausting and can be demoralizing. Find inspiration in these pages. Know we are here for you — and together with you, we will continue to make a difference for students and educators alike.

From MEA’s Officers:

President Paula Herbart
Vice President Chandra Madafferi
Secretary-Treasurer Brett Smith


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