About 3,500 people attended the Michigan Education Association's rally in Lansing yesterday. This amounts to about one-third of what the MEA projected for an event it had been planning and promoting for months.
In one sense the lack of attendance could be viewed as an organizational and communications failure on the part of the MEA. Yesterday's attendees represented less than 1 percent of the total number of public school employees in the state and just 2 percent of MEA's total membership.
Or perhaps it was just a waste of time and money (taxpayer's money, to be exact). The MEA has been saying for at least the last three years that school employees are getting beat up by politicians even though they've supposedly agreed to $1 billion worth of contractual concessions. But the reality is that school employees (and especially teachers) have weathered Michigan's decade-long economic storm quite well when compared to the rest of the state. Perhaps school employees stayed home yesterday because they're not as interested in griping about their pay and benefits as their union leaders think they should be.