MEA President response to State of the State

EAST LANSING — The following statements can be attributed to MEA President Paula Herbart in response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address and related developments in Lansing today.

Regarding investment in education to meet the diverse needs of students:

“The pandemic has laid bare many of the inequities in our education system. An important first step in addressing them is to embrace a new way of allocating state funding for schools that recognizes every student does not cost the same to educate. Weighted funding for student populations like at-risk, special education, and English language learners is essential to ensuring we have both equity and adequacy in education funding.”

Regarding making post-secondary education attainable for more Michiganders:

“Our long-term economic future depends on education, which is why investments in programs like Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners are critical to our success down the road. MEA supports efforts to ensure Michigan workers who want to pursue their education have the access and support to do so, allowing them to expand their job prospects and make a difference for their families and their futures.”

Regarding MI Classroom Heroes Grants for frontline educators:

“MEA thanks Gov. Whitmer and the Legislature for recognizing the important work of educators amidst this pandemic, especially expansions in the program to include support staff and preK/adult educators in these ‘hazard pay’ grants. Our members look forward to receiving these checks in February.”

Regarding partisan threats to appropriation of federal school funding and rejection of gubernatorial appointments as part of public health disagreements:

“We need bipartisan action, not political gamesmanship. Educators and students need the Legislature to distribute desperately needed federal funds to our schools right away, along with additional resources proposed by Gov. Whitmer. Withholding those funds and rejecting the appointment of qualified individuals like Jim Pearson, a retired educator with four decades of experience who was nominated to serve on the Michigan School Employees Retirement System board, because of disagreements on how to best protect public health runs counter to the best interests of our students and the public at large.”

 

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