Education News

MI gubernatorial candidate fought against returning educators’ $550 million taken illegally

by Félix Pérez

Contrary to what Michigan gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette now claims, the public record shows he fought every effort to return more than half a billion dollars taken illegally from the state’s teachers and school staff. As the state’s attorney general, Schuette thwarted educators in court for six years.

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Schuette changed his tune right before the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the state illegally deducted three percent from the paychecks of Michigan public school employees. The Michigan Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the appellate court ruling in December 2017 in the long-running “3 percent case,” brought by the Michigan Education Association and other labor groups.

Immediately following the court’s ruling, Schuette’s communications director tweeted that Schuette “strongly agrees” with the decision. MEA had a different take on Schuette’s involvement: “Today’s ruling ends a long string of unsuccessful appeals by Governor Rick Snyder and – until this final appeal – Attorney General Bill Schuette.”

The year before the Supreme Court ruling, MEA and the American Federation of Teachers Michigan delivered more than 33,000 petition signatures to Snyder and Schuette, demanding they stop wasting taxpayer money appealing court rulings that say school employees are owed $550 million.

Then-MEA President Steven Cook wrote:

We’ve been fighting this court battle for five years, and Gov. Snyder and Attorney General Schuette should stand up for hardworking school employees, not work against them. Michigan school employees — including retirees who are still owed money they have earned — have families to feed, mortgages to pay and college debts to pay off. School employees deserve the return of their hard-earned money now, and we urge the governor and attorney general to stop the appeals and stop the delays.

Schuette’s election season flip flop will come with a price in November. His likely opponent, Gretchen Whitmer, voted against the law to allow the state to deduct three percent of school employees’ pay. Whitmer, the daughter and granddaughter of educators, described Snyder and Schuette’s multiple appeals of lower court rulings as part of a political philosophy: “Wear the little guy down, and then you can do anything you want.”

The law taking educators’ pay is not the only significant issue on which Whitmer disagrees with Schuette.

Schuette is a longtime ally of Betsy DeVos; between 2009 and 2014, the DeVos family and DeVos organizations contributed at least $136,000 to Schuette’s campaigns. Schuette, like DeVos, supports charter schools and school vouchers. “I share her philosophy of more choices more options, scholarships, what have you. . . ,” wrote Schuette in an editorial.

Whitmer, on the other hand, wants to rein in unaccountable charter schools, part of DeVos’s legacy of failure in her home state of Michigan. “For-profit companies have broken our education system. We cannot continue to let Michigan’s charter schools fail our kids. It’s time we put much-needed oversight in place to hold charter schools accountable…” She continued, “Right now, we’re not doing enough for the kids of this state, and let me be clear, it is not the fault of the heroes on the front line every single day,” she said. “It’s because our leaders in Lansing have undermined local control, they’ve undervalued education through budget cuts and they’ve underappreciated the educators and support staff in our schools.”

17 responses to “MI gubernatorial candidate fought against returning educators’ $550 million taken illegally

  1. Yes, Rita, but the state employees got their money back years ago. Snyder and Schuette did go through the courts and give them their money back. Not so with teachers. I finally got my 3% back this February (2018), and I’ve been retired seven years!

  2. Bill Schuette, a lifelong politician, has spent his entire career at Michigan’s public-tax trough.

    A Baptist, per a personal website, he has also done his level best to demonize marijuana . . . ‘cannabis’ in Latin . . . ‘kana bosm’ in the old Hebrew scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, used by early Christians to treat everything from skin diseases to deep pain and despair.

    Activists have since learned that marijuana has anti-cancer properties, and functions not as a ‘gateway drug’, but in fact as a gate away from alcohol and opioid addictions. Here prohibition of cannabis has been built on a tissue of lies: Concern For Public Safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year, on our highways alone.

    In 2012 a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote revealed that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as “the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving”, which “is arguably a positive thing”.
    In November of 2011, a study at the University of Colorado found that in the thirteen states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities dropped by nearly nine percent—now nearly ten percent in Michigan—more than the national average, while sales of beer went flat by five percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too. Fewer bodies on the road, folks. Hundreds of them, every year.

    Is Schuette an old-fashioned Christian? A good Christian, by his own lights? Let’s hear him say, “I was wrong about marijuana.”

  3. The education community will not forget Mr. Schuette’s stance and those members with any common sense at all will vote accordingly. The MEA is supporting Gretchen Whitmer, and for very sound reasons.

  4. B has been drinking some bad KoolAid. As a public school teacher I can assure you that my former students are now successful doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, military professionals, teachers, social workers, pastors, and more. The list is long & distinguished. And so are they. The future looks bright because of them. They are succeeding at the best colleges, universities and trade schools across our country. They are meeting & exceeding the educational outcomes that were put in front of them.

    1. Yes, Rita, but the state employees got their money back years ago. Snyder and Schuette did go through the courts and give them their money back. Not so with teachers. I finally got my 3% back this February (2018), and I’ve been retired seven years!

  5. Why aren’t Democrats, indeed ALL Americans DEMANDING that the election of 2016 be declared NULL AND VOID? If that election had been monitored by international agencies, as has happened in other nations, it most certainly would have been nullified. The Russian collusion has been verified, Trump’s violation of the emoluments clause is fact and if you add in Republican gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, ugly “swiftboating” and the fact that Trump lost the popular vote by MILLIONS, justice did not prevail. Every person appointed, from Neil Gorsuch, Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions and all the Federal judges, they MUST be removed and America restored to normality. This was the most corrupt and egregiously unfair election EVER in our nation’s history.
    Our nation HAS to have a system to impeach a corrupt president… EVEN IF HIS (OR HER) PARTY CONTROLS THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Ronald “Iran/Contra” Reagan avoided a necessary impeachment for just that reason. The hypocritical GOP has brought us “Tricky Dicky”, Ronald Reagan, “Dubya” and now DICTATOR Trump. When will Americans wake up to the destruction the Republicans have created in our nation and realize the importance and impact of the damage to our international reputation?
    Trump is the MOST VILE man ever to set foot in our White House. “You can grab women by the pussy…”
    HE MUST BE IMPEACHED BEFORE HE DOES FURTHER DAMAGE TO AMERICA AND OUR IMAGE ABROAD.
    This is what Der Spiegel said about Trump:
    “Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn’t read. He doesn’t bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees.
    He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat. I feel ashamed to use these words, as sharp and loud as they are. But if they apply to anyone, they apply to Trump. And one of the media’s tasks is to continue telling things as they are: Trump has to be removed from the White House. Quickly. He is a danger to the world.”
    WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COMMENTSTOTRUMP.ORG WEBSITE? It was mysteriously taken down… by Trump or his minions?
    NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN IF YOU VALUE AMERICA OR OUR FUTURE!

    1. If he’s not your president you can’t impeach him. Please come up for air. Oxygen is important for mental health and acuity.

  6. Anyone who is an ally of Betsy DeVos is not interested in public education or in the education of over 90% of the students who live in the United States. And to be honest about it, Schuette, anyone who takes a clown-like photo with ass-clown Trump is an ass-clown himself. And if you don’t like what I have to say about this, get back to me and we’ll see how serious you are about what a coward you are.

    1. Public schools have been failing those who need it most since the 60’s. Despite enormous leaps in medicine, engineering, etc, educational outcomes have not seen the same level of success. Why? Today, public schools teach victim culture and identity politics yet most 18 year olds have no clue who John Locke or Adam Smith are, what The Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers are, and have zero clue how America became the most prosperous society in the history of the world. Hence why Millenials, generally, lack understanding for why they all have two bathrooms, two cars and five televisions at home and why they walk around with computers in their pockets that are more powerful than what NASA used to put men on the moon.

      The hatred of Betsy DeVos for trying to decentralized education federally while also attempting to levy some sort of accountability on educators and, more importantly administrators, is pretty gross. If she eliminates the US Department of Education, she’ll be the greatest director in the history of that unconstitutional department.

      1. You must be a product of a charter school. The idea that the for profit business model is a solution to the delivery of any human service is beyond laughable. Capitalism is great for making things. As we see in healthcare in the US, applying capitalism to human service delivery, just creates more more fascist, sycophant managers who suck out money without delivering a cheaper, or better, health care service.

      2. In addition to Keith Rasey’s comments, I would remind all that Betsy DeVos’ plan for education includes a Christian-based educational system. This is in direct violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Ours is a secular nation, not a theocracy. The Constitution is not a cafeteria. If you extol the virtues of the Second Amendment you must rigorously follow the First, also.

      3. How can you tout the enormous accomplishments of people that thrived under our public education system and then go as far as to call it unconstitutional?

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