MEA President’s statement on crisis in Flint Community Schools

A photo of a group of Flint teachers
Students deserve a stable environment where they can count on having a fully qualified teacher in their class from the start of the year to the last day.

EAST LANSING — Michigan Education Association President Chandra Madafferi released the following statement Wednesday in response to the Flint Board of Education’s monthslong refusal to ratify a settlement agreement reached between Flint Community Schools administrators and United Teachers of Flint:

“Our incredible leaders and members of United Teachers of Flint have spent months working with the school district for a fair contract and have a tentative agreement. Despite all the work in partnership with the administration, the Flint Board of Education unanimously voted it down and continues to ignore the calls for support from families, the community and teachers.

“Even more puzzling is that three members of the school board sat on the bargaining committee that approved the settlement. Now, these three have turned their backs on their own agreement and voted no.

“The facts are simple: Flint students are suffering from an extreme teacher shortage because of poor pay and working conditions. Flint teachers are among the lowest paid in the state. The Flint school board refuses to explain its rationale for this unprecedented move, keeping families, the community, and teachers in the dark.

“The tentative agreement reached between our members and Flint Community Schools’ administration would modestly raise salaries, helping staunch the flow of highly qualified teachers fleeing the school district for better pay and working conditions in neighboring districts — districts where they are valued and respected as professionals.

“Flint students deserve to have the very best in their classrooms. Students deserve to have professional educators who have the support of their school board, which reflects its value in how they compensate educators for their efforts. Students deserve to have teachers who can focus on the classroom and not on what second or third job they need to have to make ends meet. Students deserve a stable environment where they can count on having a fully qualified teacher in their class from the start of the year to the last day.

“Flint students deserve better from their school board, which has lost the confidence of teachers, families and community leaders. Every day that goes by without a settlement agreement causes further harm to Flint children, who’ve already been through enough.

“I stand with the United Teachers of Flint and every student of Flint.

“Enough is enough: It’s time for the Flint school board to ratify the settlement agreement and restore trust in Flint Community Schools.”

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