Posted in: Michigan
Michigan governor to continue his attack on workers’ rights, public education
by Colleen Flaherty
Hundreds of workers gathered in protest at the Capitol building in Lansing last week as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder gave his State of the State speech. Most of the protest was in response to Snyder reversing positions and enacting a so-called “right-to-work” law last month.
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“Governor Snyder claims he wants to build bridges, but he’s already burned them to the ground,” said Steven Cook, an education paraprofessional and president of the Michigan Education Association. “Snyder went against his word and led the largest attack on collective bargaining Michigan has ever seen, by forcing through a so-called ‘right-to-work’ law without so much as a public hearing.”
Despite his very recent attack on workers’ rights, there was no mention of the contentious law in his State of the State, most likely because a majority of Michigan voters opposed the “right-to-work” bill.
Snyder did, however, mention education. He has a history of favoring private, unaccountable charter schools, all while making cuts to already struggling schools. The governor and the Republican-led legislature have slashed education funding by more than $1 billion last year, yet they lifted the cap on charter schools and plan to expand the Education Achievement Authority to allow the state to assume control of many of the responsibilities currently entrusted to local school board members, parents, educators and neighborhood schools.
Snyder wants to ram through a massive state takeover of public education through the so-called Education Achievement Authority. This unproven plan continues to dismantle our local public schools, put more power with Lansing bureaucrats and force taxpayers to foot the bill for more corporate-run, for-profit charter and cyber schools, said Cook.
Not everything Snyder addressed was anti-education. He spoke about expanding programs like early education and investing in higher education.
“We’re willing to work together with anyone on what research shows will help public education, and we were glad to hear the governor emphasize early childhood and vocational/technical education in his speech tonight.”
However, Cook cautioned, after Snyder’s broken promises, Michigan educators and voters alike are hesitant to believe what he says.
“It’s mind-boggling that after all of these attacks, the governor expects middle-class families to somehow fall in line and support his radical agenda. Michigan’s working families will not forget what Snyder and his cronies have done — nor will they forgive him,” said Cook.
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