MEA statement responding to Whitmer State of the State address

EAST LANSING — The following can be attributed to MEA President Paula Herbart in response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address on Wednesday evening:

“Gov. Whitmer showed again tonight what being a pro-education governor looks like – and now, with allies in the Legislature, Michigan students and educators can count on desperately needed support to come their way. From individual tutoring and interventions for struggling students, to a path toward universal pre-K, to increased access to post-secondary opportunities, Gov. Whitmer’s vision for public education will lead our state to a prosperous future.

“For starters, many students fell behind during the pandemic, and we must provide them with the school-based tutoring and extra support they need to get back on track and fulfill their potential. That’s why MEA strongly supports Gov. Whitmer’s ‘MI Kids Back on Track’ proposal, and we join her in urging lawmakers from both parties to provide funding for this critical program as soon as possible.

“We also know that education starts in early childhood and must continue past high school. The governor’s commitment to expanding access to pre-K programs to all 4-year-olds provides families with the best key to unlock future academic success for every student. On the other end of academic careers, proposals to expand the age criteria for the Michigan Reconnect program will get more students faster access to the skills they need to compete for available jobs.

“As we proceed with the new Legislature and the upcoming budget proposal, we look forward to discussing more about how we address the educator shortage through improved respect, compensation and workplace voice for the education profession; making good on the promise to school retirees and other seniors to repeal the unfair pension tax; keeping schools safe through common sense gun safety and mental health laws; and replacing misguided reading retention requirements with real interventions that will help our students rather than punish them.”

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