Press Release

Detroit Federation of Teachers, AFT Michigan and American Federation of Teachers on Michigan House Education Bills

For Release: 

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Richard A. Fowler
202/393-6355; Cell: 202/412-7745

Detroit—Detroit Federation of Teachers Interim President Ivy Bailey, AFT Michigan President David Hecker and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the passage in the Michigan House of Representatives of HB 5383, HB 5384 and HB 5387:

“The partisan bills forced through in the dead of night by Speaker Kevin Cotter are some of the most despicable anti-student, anti-public school, anti-teacher provisions we’ve seen in America. Make no mistake: These bills discriminate against Detroit’s children—who are overwhelmingly economically disadvantaged children and children of color—and are designed explicitly to punish teachers who speak up on behalf of their students and themselves. Many of the so-called teacher-related provisions have failed and been rejected when used in other jurisdictions.

“It is increasingly clear that the Michigan House has turned its back on the students of Detroit and would rather punish teachers than give kids a chance to succeed. We call on Gov. Snyder to declare that he will veto the House bill, should it reach his desk. 

“Under state-controlled emergency management, indifferent politicians abandoned Detroit’s students to learn in under-resourced schools with deplorable conditions. Through it all, our teachers and school employees have been the glue that has held the schools together. They have taught without textbooks, they have inspired in overcrowded classrooms, and they have provided hope in computer labs without the internet. 

“By eliminating teacher voice, House Republicans strip away our ability to advocate for children, who have been failed by our leaders in Lansing.

 “It’s past time for the House to get serious and stop the political games. We urge Gov. Snyder to veto this bill, and ask the House to take up the bipartisan Senate bill that, while not perfect, gives Detroit’s schools a fair chance and offers hope to our students, families, educators and staff.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.