May 21 protest against education cuts in Lansing, Michigan. Photo: Eclectablog
Last night, the Michigan state legislature voted to strip many collective bargaining rights for teachers
, sending the bill to Governor Rick Snyder:
The state House has sent to Gov. Rick Snyder for signing a four-bill package that dramatically changes teacher tenure laws in Michigan.
The action concurred with the Senate's approval a few hours earlier.
Not all lawmakers rejoiced.
Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing, called the tenure package a smokescreen for elimination of collective bargaining rights for teachers. One of the bills in fact prohibits a number of issues from bargaining related to evaluations teacher placements.
"This is about the elimination of collective bargaining for teachers, making it so meaningless that they no longer have the law behind them in negotiating with school boards for working conditions, the size of their classrooms, the number of teachers on site, the hours of operation," Meadows said.
They did it in the name of the children, of course:
Still, Rep Tim Melton, one of the few Democrats who voted for the change, said the bills are not about collective bargaining but about fixing a broken tenure system.
"This is about kids, not about adults," he said.(...)
“This is a very momentous day in the progress of education in the state of Michigan,” said Sen. Patrick J. Colbeck, R-Canton. “This is a victory for the kids of Michigan.”
Ah yes—for the children! The same children who saw their education funding cut by this same legislature only two months earlier:
House Republicans approved a $13.8 billion education budget that slices a minimum of $430 per student in K-12 districts, reduces state aid to universities and community colleges by 15 percent.
The House, 57-53, with all Democrats opposed, approved the education budget that has been roundly criticized by school groups since Gov. Rick Snyder proposed it back in February.
The budget is $908 million less than the current year despite estimates the school aid fund, established in the Proposal A school finance changes, has a surplus of about $650 million. The budget uses some $900 million to support state aid for universities and community colleges.
Slashing funding for children must have been done in the name of the children, too.
The fightback in Michigan is intensifying against these attacks on workers and children. Daily Kos and The Committee to Recall Rick Snyder have so far signed up 4,000 volunteers to circulate petitions to recall Rick Snyder. Additionally, one of the best field consultants in the country has been hired to assist with the campaign, entirely because of small donations from nearly 1,500 Kossacks. An efficient, scalable structure is being put in place to guarantee that even if the first statewide recall effort comes up short, we will be able to quickly re-file the recall petition language and continue pushing forward from a stronger position.
In addition to the recall efforts against Snyder, many individual members of the Michigan state legislature are also facing recall. Among these, the most prominent is Jase Bolger, the Republican Speaker of the House. He's so scared of the efforts against him that he is legally harassing the constituent who filed the recall paperwork. Eclectablog has documented this harassment in the diaries here, here and here. It's a must read about extreme actions taken by a Republican lawmaker who is very, very scared of his own constituents.