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Michigan Republican Plan to Privatize Education

September 10, 2011

This is a blueprint for all my readers to commit to memory.  This article, in the Michigan Messenger, outlines the Republican Party plan to privatize education.  The Republican Party in Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin have been operating under a “smash-and-grab” philosophy since gaining office.  They know their plans are unpopular which is exactly why they are trying to ram through maneuvers like the one quoted below:

Senate Republicans say that the education reform package introduced this week will give parents more power over their children’s education but teachers say it’s actually a union-busting move that will destroy a public education system weakened by recent funding cuts.

The seven bill package would remove limits on the number of charter and cyber schools, allow parents and teachers to force schools to convert into charters, and let districts hire teachers through private companies.

It also imposes new requirements on schools, specifying that students be allowed to simultaneously enroll in high school and college courses beginning in the 9th grade, that schools accept students from out of district, and that services be provided for homeschoolers and private school students.

“This is just a continuation of the Republican attack on public education and the middle class,” said Doug Pratt, spokesman for the Michigan Education Association.

Michigan tried charter schools and school choice back in the 90‘s, he said, and it hasn’t improved education.

“You cant do this stuff without adequate resources,” he said. “They just got done slashing a billion dollars from public education.”

Removing the limit on the number of charter schools without creating a new mechanism for accountability in those schools is irresponsible, Pratt said.

Sen. Education Committee chair Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair) sponsored the bill to allow privatization of teaching.

Pavlov did not respond to a request for an interview but he told the Michigan Association of Secondary Principals that he sees the measure as “offering options.”

“If there is something out there that can offer school officials the same options at a lower cost, schools need to take a look at that,” he said. “It needs to part of the conversation on reform.”

Pratt called Pavlov’s proposal “selling off our education system to the lowest bidder” and predicted that the plan will become politically unpopular when schools lay off all their teachers.

I keep stressing this on this blog but I have to:  Teachers NEED to know who they are voting for and the NEED to get politically active, VERY POLITICALLY ACTIVE!  We have seen the Republican Party steadily destroy the middle class in this country and this is how they do it, they chip, chip, chip away – with the ultimate aim of just wearing down a system that is under-funded to begin with.

Many schools have already privatized busing, food service, custodial and other services and some have found that the change has resulted in higher turnover and less accountability.

Well, no shit Sherlock!

The Waverly school system near Lansing outsourced its child care program this year, but when school started this week there was no day care available because the company — Rainbow Child Care Center — was unable to get licensed by the state.

Patty Seidl, Lansing Schools Education Association President, said that the privatization of substitute teachers has resulted in less qualified subs in the schools.

“We used to have building subs — three people who reported every day. They knew the system and the curriculum. They would be there for emergencies and the kids knew them,” she said. “Now you take whomever the company sends.”

Seidl said that privatizing teaching will lower teacher pay and drive more people out of the profession.

“No one is going to want to go through the system and get a five year education to make $20,000-$25,000,” she said. “You can’t live on this.”

Exactly!  This lesson will be learned the hard way in Red States I am sure.  Florida is a state where I am predicting a huge teacher outflow over the next few years because of Rick Scott’s repugnant policies aimed at harming teachers and teacher’s unions.

Under the current system most teachers live in and are engaged with the communities where they teach, she said, and people outside the schools will also be harmed if teachers’ jobs are degraded.

“I think the whole idea of education and students has been totally lost in all of the reforms,” she said. “It is really painful to watch all of this happen. These legislators are attacking us and it us unfortunate what is going to happen to our kids as a result of this.”

In an interview with Mother Jones magazine last week education history and former Bush administration Education Dept. official Diane Ravitch said that the Senate education package in Michigan is the first time she’s heard lawmakers anywhere propose privatizing teaching.

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4 Comments
  1. zel permalink

    Republicans have an agenda and so do the Democrats. Both are in bed with Corporate Amerika, because its corporations that pull the strings in this country. Public schools suck! Unions are as crooked as the politicians they support. Unions make believe there for middle class, thats bull shit!! I worked for the Detroit News back in the 90’s and the Unions threw us under the bus!! I lost everything!! The fact is neither gives a rat ass about the middle class, to believe the democrats love us, is as stupid as saying the republicans love us. You can bet one thing, both parties will continue to destroy middle class Amerika.

  2. Well, Zel…I have to disagree with you. I have worked and am still working for our public schools and I think we do an incredible job with our kids. I have always worked in Title I schools (poor schools) and our kids come in tired, hungry, with poor reading skills, and some have anger issues because they see domestic violence at home, and we teach them. These kids don’t suck, and our public schools don’t suck – we try very hard to help kids succeed.

    I am sorry for your experience with the Detroit News and you are probably right about both parties destroying the middle class, but I think that one party is far more responsible for that happening than the other party. There is too much money in politics, money buys influence, influence gets you power, and that is what is happening. The people with the deep pockets are getting their voices heard and the rest of us are not. We need to elect people who will listen to the middle class and actually do something on our behalf.

  3. Jeff permalink

    Ok, if you think the”deep pockets” are to blame you need to look no further than to the MEA. If you look into the $ these folks bring in and pay themselves you should be shocked and then look a little closer sill… Who do they give the money to that teachers pay through their mandatory union dues, well it’s mostly to one party. This whole teacher thing is about taking money from teachers to give to the union who gives it to the Dems. Who do whatever the unions tell them to do so they can keep getting the money. Good teachers should make more $ but they can’t because of the MEA, the MEA takes their money through force and keeps their salaries low. Education is not better since the MEA and the tax dollars sent to the state for education has continued to go up. How about we send less of the $ dollars to the state and let communities pay their teachers what they feel is appropriate.

    • Deep pockets are working to destroy public education. It is alright if you don’t see it, or if you are a person who likes the idea of a corporation, or a group of individuals with deep pockets running our schools. I on the other hand do not agree with this idea. I think that education is a public good, and it should be protected as a public good. Try to see through your ideology and recognize that there is a movement afoot to make little widgets out of our students, but the fact is that kids aren’t widgets, they are individuals and sometimes the square peg doesn’t quite fit into the round whole. When that happens, students need teachers who care, and who aren’t pressured to make students score higher each and every year on a nebulous test that doesn’t fully measure their abilities. I support teachers, I support students, I support teacher’s unions, and I support equal educational opportunities for all of our kids.

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