MEA President statement on passage of bills that allow outsourcing of virtual learning

EAST LANSING — The following can be attributed to MEA President Paula Herbart regarding the House passage of HBs 5910-5193 this evening:

“This legislation uses the cover of a pandemic to push extreme ideas that are straight from the playbook of Betsy DeVos to make a profit off the education of our students.

“The most reprehensible of the provisions passed today allows contracting out for teachers for any virtual classes.  Not only does this run counter to collective bargaining law regarding outsourcing of instructional staff, it could allow unqualified individuals and for-profit companies to supplant the dedicated expertise of Michigan’s front-line educators.

“Of further concern are requirements for benchmark student assessments and financial penalties for districts that underperform – rather than investing in students who need additional support.  It would also create chaos in schools with a cafeteria-style voucher program where students could take different classes from different providers throughout the day.  Further chaos would come from allowing up to seven snow days to automatically switch to virtual class days – ignoring that Michigan weather can change overnight without the ability to adequately plan for quality learning opportunities for students.

“MEA strongly opposes these bills and calls on lawmakers to focus their energy on providing adequate funding for schools this fall, including lobbying Congress to pass the HEROES Act to help prevent pandemic-driven cuts for our students.”

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