Friday, October 7, 2011

A Report on Thursday's Action in Lansing!

1) The full Senate passed a version of SB 618 by a 20-18 vote Thursday afternoon that removed the cap on charter schools. But the bill was amended on the floor to remove the language that would have allowed for the privatization of teachers and to require charter schools to meet the same state assessments and reporting requirements as public schools.

While the removal of the privatization of teachers is welcomed, charter schools SHOULD HAVE TO MEET THE SAME STANDARDS AS PUBLIC SCHOOLS. The legislature, nor anyone else, should accept two different levels of expectations for schools (public vs. charter). Acceptance would clearly demonstrates that this is an ATTACK ON PUBLIC schools.

The MEA will now shift to lobbying the state House for a reasonable charter cap and increased transparency for charter operators. The removal of the privatization provision should be recognized as a hard-fought victory.

Senate Democrats offered several other amendments—one to ban for-profit management companies from opening new charter schools; another that would require all schools—including charters—to have an anti-bullying policy; and an amendment requiring charter schools to show 20 percent better test scores than the resident public school district. All amendments were rejected along party lines.

2) Bill 729 was introduced today by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R, West Olive) on Thursday
Senate Bill 729 states that Right to Teach would apply for public schools with an exclusive bargaining unit that represents 50,000 or more personnel. By that definition, only the MEA qualifies. This means that teachers who are represented by the AFT will not be affected if this bill were to become law. THIS IS CLEARLY AN ATTACK ON THE MEA and singles out MEA union members apart from any other union members in the state.

Union leaders across the state from all organizations are calling “foul”, stating that bill has nothing to do with improving education or increasing jobs in the state of Michigan. Political games and attacks are the motivation behind this legislation.

The Michigan Independent News Service has been told that Governor Snyder does not support this legislation.

Below you will find a link to a site that will refer you to your local senator!
Click AND tell your senator to oppose SB 618!

Better yet, CALL THE GOVERNOR’S Office!!!!
PHONE: (517) 373-3400