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Posted on Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Michigan Education Association releases 5-point reform plan on eve of State of the State address

By Kyle Feldscher

The Michigan Education Association released a new five-point plan for education reform on the eve of Gov. Rick Snyder’s first State of the State address.

The plan, called the MEA’s A+ Agenda, addresses five areas the MEA believes are in need of attention by policymakers in Lansing.

  • Realign Michigan’s pre K-12 system to support students in achieving the goal our state values most: graduating high school ready to succeed in college or other post-secondary opportunities.
  • Increase accountability for everyone in public education — teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, et al — for the overall educational success of Michigan’s students.
  • Increase efficiency for all school districts to get the greatest return on investment for students, communities and the economy.
  • Ensure good stewardship of taxpayer dollars by increasing school district financial stability and accountability.
  • Fix Michigan’s antiquated tax structure that has led to Michigan’s decade-long budget crisis.

Education reform is expected to be a major part of Snyder’s agenda, and the MEA is ready to work with him and the new Legislature, MEA President Iris Salters said.

“Michigan’s school employees are ready and willing to work with Gov. Snyder and the new Legislature to tackle real problems and ensure that public education fulfills its mission to prepare students for the jobs Michigan needs,” she said.

Specific reforms highlighted in the plan include reducing the amount of remedial coursework required by students at the college level; streamlining the process to discharge ineffective tenured teachers; providing clearer, more consistent structure to the process of consolidating school districts; adopting a two-year budget by July 1 to give declining-enrollment districts the time to make informed decisions about their budgets and staffing and closing tax loopholes and giveaways.

To view the full plan, click here.

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at



Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

Stunhsif, you make many very valid points. I don't know of any private sector employer that automatically gives a step increase for simply showing up for another year of work. Also, many many private employers require contributions to the health plans, and higher deductibles. On the issue of retirement age, I also agree entirely. The retirement factor is 1.5 x the number of years worked. So a teacher who works 30 years receives 45% of their salary, with increases to that figure each year, for life. So in other words, a teacher who began teaching at the age of 22 could qualify for 30 years of service at the age of 52! Perhaps retirement at 62 with 30 years for full benefits would be a start on the road to reducing the huge liability for the retirement system: thus allowing more funds to benefit children.


Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

"•Fix Michigan's antiquated tax structure that has led to Michigan's decade-long budget crisis." This is MEA code for "raise taxes". How about this for a start MEA. Raise minimum retirement age to 62, pay a minimum 12% of your healthcare costs, raise or implement copays for doctor visits and prescriptions to the level the private sector enjoys, get rid of automatic step raises and make raises part of an evaluation process. That would be a reasonable start and show that you really care about the kids and their parents. The other steps above need explaining on how they would be implemented.


Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

The article in the Detroit Free Press was a lot more specific with details. There are a lot of very good points in their proposal. I hope they will be considered.


Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

I saw nothing in the "Plan" that calls for an across the board reduction in salaries and attention to teachers and administrators paying more toward their benefits. MESSA health insurance is a monopoly designed to take exorbitant funds from school districts, because it is controlled by the MEA. The benefit levels are greater than almost any plan in the private sector. A more equitable insurance plan for educators state wide could save millions of dollars that could be put back into the classroom.


Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 5:02 a.m.

@Do Not Taunt -- I'm not sure if your 4th point is referring to teachers' work hours or someone else's, but I think one point to make (although it's probably well understood by now) is that if teachers only put in 40 hours per week, there's a 99% chance we'd see student performance drop drastically. The same goes for any profession, too -- the professional who only puts in "the minimum" soon realizes that they're doing a sub-par job. I am curious, though, about the meaning behind what you said. Would you be willing to explain a little further please? I'm a teacher in Washington state, but regularly think of moving closer to the mitten to be closer to family, so I try to follow the current events within Michigan's education situation.


Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 1:13 a.m.

The MEA does not include any suggestions for decreasing costs related to pensions or healthcare. The only small concession is potentially revising tenure rules so that ineffective teachers might be fired more easily. Come on MEA - is that the best you can do?

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 11:59 p.m.

1) Perhaps MEA teachers should agree to a $1,000 deductible for family health care. 2) Statewide privatization of food, maintenance, and transportation. 3) All students reading below current grade level - go to summer school for reading classes. 4) 40 hours worked for 40 hours paid.