It is not uncommon to hear a teacher complaining about the Michigan Education Association (MEA) and their lack of support for Republican candidates for office. A good number of teachers have a hard time getting behind the MEA just for that reason. After all, many teachers have conservative leanings. However, when the MEA does endorses a Republican candidate, it seems to backfire. In 2008, the MEA endorsed Grand Blanc Republican Paul Scott. According to an article in the Flint Journal, the MEA said Scott “exemplifies what MEA views as a friend of education.”
Fast forward a few years. Paul Scott is now in his second term, and now he is the chair of the House Education Committee. Despite the 2008 MEA endorsement and his education chair position, he has become anything but a friend of education. Scott who has studied to be a politician and lawyer, has never worked in the education field so far as I can tell. So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that Scott is championing the attack on teachers rather than working to help public schools and public school children. What Scott does not understand can best be explained by something I heard from a speaker in Lansing at a rally of over 6,000 public school supporters. To paraphrase that speaker, “teachers’ working environment is their students’ learning environment. You cannot pass bills that affect teachers without also affecting students.” Paul Scott is not only willing to pass these laws, he is sponsoring them. He has co-sponsored a bill to fine the MEA $5,000 for every teacher that strikes and the bill also strips a striking teacher’s teaching license (HB4466). He also sponsored a bill that would remove the portion of law that requires “just cause” for firing a teacher (HB 4226). This bill would also allow for a teacher to be fired after 2 years of being rated “ineffective” regardless of any other factors.
Paul Scott calls seniority based lay-offs “asinine.” I might suggest allowing for a system of lay off under the disguise of performance, in a field where performance is impossible to accurately measure, as asinine. What will occur is that people who have a relationship with the administration, be it a social one or a physical one, will be the first to be retained. The next group to be retained will be the “yes men” group. The third group to be retained will be the lowest paid teachers. So basically we will have a “free market” system for lay-offs. Think about what will happen to people who have decades invested in a system and who have given everything of themselves for the children in the district in which they work. If they are not let go because of the reasons stated above, they will be let go because a new guy, with no ties to the community, who may not even want to stay for long, edges out the old guy on a performance evaluation. And suprise, the new guy only makes about half of what the old guy makes. Now the old guy, who needs a few years more to retire, will have to find someone who will want to hire an old guy and will probably have to do so at a starting teacher’s pay, which will lower his pension for life. That sounds asinine to me. But then again, “paying your dues” is probably not a phrase that Republicans would understand.
Paul Scott not only plans to destroy the profession of teaching, he is working to defund public education. Scott was a sponsor of the bill to repeal the single business tax which is now causing a huge hole in the general fund. In order to balance the general fund, the state will be taking money from the school aid fund. His latest bright idea (HB4138 & 4652), is to reduce the amount of sales tax on used automobiles which will also cause a decline in the school aid fund. Why is this guy chairing the education committee again?
Scott is no friend of education. He is an enemy combatant. Thank God teachers are starting to engage Scott in a ground war. They have begun knocking on doors to educate Scott’s constituents. He is one of many who must be replaced come November of 2012, if not sooner. Our student’s future depends on it.
Can you tell me why teachers are immune to the Same issues as all of us working in the private sector? We face being replaced all the time by someone younger and cheaper. We counter that by working harder/smarter so that our value to an organization matches our compensation. The average Michigan worker pays 20% into his insurance plan. The average for teachers is just 5% (according to mich.gov). Finally, According to the Michigan Transparency Project, there are currently 3967 fewer K-12 teachers in 2010 than in 2005. Yet the amount paid toward teacher salaried and benefits have risen over $18 million. My wife and I have both taken pay cuts in the last few years in order for the non-profit companies we work for can stay afloat. Why is it that our teachers, principals and superintendents can’t do the same?
Yes, and how is that working for you in the private sector? When you hit 55 you will be laid off for someone that is younger, cheaper and you will be told they are smarter.
It is called good old fashioned AGE discrimination. One of the things unions got rid of in this country. The people in government are cleverly telling only part of the story as to what teachers are paying for health and benefits. The real picture is that this is union busting pure and simple. Teachers are already working harder, smarter, using a lot of their personal time and money on the students they truely care about and want to learn. They are also paid for the 190+ days they work. And do not get paid for the summer which the politicians would also have you believe.
Geo, you ask why teachers are immune to the same issues as ALL the rest in the private sector? First off a teacher is NOT immune. They get pay cuts, benefit loses, work more hours, teach more students, work with obsolete materials, etc…. just like you do. However,a teacher MUST do what you do NOT have to do… that is that they must continue in their education. Just to stay in their position (that they had to become highly educated to get) they must agree to continue their education, pass performance evaluations, mentor other teachers, use their free time (their off hours) to do/ complete any number of official job duties, etc. Often people who are NOT qualified to be a teacher believe that they COULD be a teacher…. In actuality many teachers hold private sector jobs, but very few private sector individuals can be a teacher. To do so you would HAVE to go through an expensive, and difficult field of study, gain a bachelors degree, agree to work MANY of your off hours for free, sign a contract with an employer that can later dissolve that legal contract at the drop of a hat, agree to continue your education as long as you wish to teach, stand in front of 30 new students every hour who’s parents thing of you as little more than a babysitter, and INSPIRE them to learn! You say that teachers pay has gone up? I know of ZERO teachers who have not in some way LOST money over the last 5 years. You site stats…. why don’t you actually ask a teacher?
I worked for 2 years as a teacher and made $21,450 per year plus dental, optical and medical…. I couldn’t tell you how much that package was worth as at the time I was young, in shape, never used it and really… kinda dumb and didn’t even know it’s value? However, the best insurance package in the world still didn’t pay my student loan payments ($560/ month), my rent ($400/ month), my car payment ($128/ month… cheap car!), etc….. so, when my paycheck was GONE, I was a well insured hungry guy! Yet, by getting a TWO year associates degree in nursing, I can start off making $62,000/ year, have VERY similar benefits, and ALSO be in a Union!!! I have worked both and LAUGH at how easy nursing is compared to teaching and cry at how little teachers make compared to the LOWER educated Nurse!!! So, please let’s compare APPLES to APPLES….. Biology Teacher to Nurse…. when you put them side by side, there is NO COMPARISON!!! (BTW my caps are for emphasis not disrespect or yelling).
I would also like to say…. I believe that the ONLY way to be #1 in the world is to get the best, the most educated, the smartest, the most talented, the most inspiring, the GREATEST teachers to motivate our youth into becoming the very best, most advanced, strongest, most skilled and adaptive, leaders of tomorrow. If you put a private sector worker and a teacher side by side, I believe the worker (working at a non-profit) is LESS important and carries LESS responsibility than does the teacher. You may disagree, but, I think teachers have to do more and hold greater impact on our society should they fail than does the average private sector worker. I believe that the FUTURE of this country is our youth, and I think it’s sad that the mentality of so many in this country is to pay the LOWEST wages and benefits possible to those who mold that future! You wouldn’t try to cheapskate your way out of paying a brain surgeon if your future depended on him/her….. and so many don’t see that the education of America’s youth is being handled in just such a way. You get what you pay for! If you want kids that LEAD the world, then you must pay the price to get the best teachers so that they can mold them that way. If you want to ‘pay the lowest bidder’ then you get sub-standard youth. They in turn grow up to be sub-standard adults and they are the drain on society that so many private sector folks belly ache about….. I don’t know why society cries so….. YOU created them! Conservatives (republicans) tend to believe that to get the best CEO one must be willing to pay… after all, those CEO’s hold the future of that industry in their hands. Yet, they see no such similarity believe the future of this COUNTRY and teachers???
[…] where many of the recent anti-teaching bills originated, and the MEA sees him as a bit of a turncoat. The interesting thing about the recall is that there are now robocalls going out asking people not […]