If you read the House Republican’s Guiding Principles publication, you will see the words “job” or “jobs” fifty-one times. Republicans claim they are “looking out for the job seeker and the job creator.” If you move to the education section, the tone changes. The publication states that “the education system should not be about the adults and their careers.” So I guess “careers” are bad and “jobs” are good. Is that because “careers” typically pay a living wage and offer benefits, whereas “jobs” typically can offer underemployment and a near minimum wage? I guess I should just be happy that educators are referred to as adults, and not the “yelling and screaming” “kids” that Republican Representative Phil Potvin has called them. However, I’m still not satisfied. Why shouldn’t education be in part about the professionals who work in the field? Many studies, like this one, show that inside the classroom the teacher is the main factor in student learning. So it seems counterintuitive that Republicans would target educators like they did in 2012.
The Republican’s “Guiding Principles” also states that “teachers, administrators, parents, and students all agree that the (education) system needs significant reforms.” Really? Where is the study that allowed Republicans to jump to that assumption? Are the “reforms” everyone is asking for the partisan reforms that were pushed through in 2011? I have the pleasure of working with teachers, administrators, parents, and students everyday. I don’t hear them asking for cuts to school funding, cuts to teacher compensation, and implementation of teacher evaluation tools that no one has tested and no one understands. I hear them asking for more teachers, more counselors, more computers, and newer text books. It seems like they are asking for more resources. However, I’ll admit I haven’t been able to find the Republican’s study in order to better understand the evidence that supports their agenda. Truthfully, I suspect that no such study exists. What I suspect even more is that the Republicans have been listening to the right wing special interest groups The Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the DeVos school privatization front group The Great Lakes Education Project. In other words, it is business as usual in Lansing. I did wholeheartedly agree with one principle listed in the publication. I believe Republicans should “lead responsibly in all our endeavors, making state government answerable to the public and respectful of its wishes.” I cannot wait until the Republicans implement this principle.