Local school districts and local businesses are typically die hard supporters of each other. However, the organization that represents many of these local businesses at the state level, the Chamber of Commerce, is not a supporter of public schools. Rich Studley, the President of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, uses his twitter account @rstudley to regularly attack public schools and everyone associated with them.
One tweet said that students who need remedial college classes should be able to sue their high school for malpractice! He does not say if employees should be able to sue previous employers if their previous failings, their fault or not, are hampering their present endeavors.
Studley asks countless times why we have 83 counties and over 500 school districts. He does not seem to care that we have about 545 McDonalds and 650 pay day lenders. Also not an issue is that we have 141 elected representatives (110 Representatives plus 31 Senators). He fails to identify which of your school districts we should close.
Studley wonders why there is dissatisfaction with this year’s 2% increase to schools plus “hundreds of millions in pension savings.” Actually, the 2% includes those pensions savings. The biggest savings though comes because employees now have to pay a lot more for the pensions they were already promised. The problem is that current school funding is less than it was during the 2006-07 school year. How many businesses would be happy with making less than they did in 2006-07?
Studley is strongly anti-union and is not a supporter of collective bargaining. He calls privatizing school services a “good idea.” While he has been President of The Chamber of Commerce, they have made donations to the pro-school privatization group the Great Lakes Education Project. Studly uses the inflammatory term”union bosses” at least 79 times in his tweets. He calls the benefits of collective bargaining in schools “wishful thinking.” He doesn’t just attack unions, he attacks anyone who agrees with unions on even a single issue. He calls the Michigan Association of School Boards “anti-taxpayer” and “pro-union” seemingly suggesting those two terms are synonymous.
Studley’s wrath extends to anyone associated with schools besides students and parents. He calls the Michigan Department of Education the “Michigan Department of Euphemisms.” He calls school business officers “cowardly bureaucrats” and says they “gave the farm away on health care and retirement benefits.” He is highly critical of the Michigan Education Association and suggest that they are perhaps more likely an “angry partisan mob.” He calls the Michigan Association of School Administrators “apologists.” He tells school boards to “stop whining” and that local control only delivers “excessive overhead and poor results.”
In 2010 Studley tweeted “good schools are building blocks for better communities & a better state.” So why does Studley continue to attack schools and those who have dedicated their lives to helping improve them? Why would local Chamber of Commerce chapters turn a blind eye to Studley attacking the schools they support? The answer is that people like Studley have managed to convince small businesses that to be successful they need the same things as big businesses like Wal-Mart. Specifically, they need low taxes, low wages, and very little regulation. In reality, those things push people to shop more at Wal-Mart rather than at local businesses. They also starve public schools of adequate funding. When small businesses and public schools are pitted against each other, the only winner is big business.
Note: Click HERE to see more of Studley’s anti-public school tweets.