LANSING, Mich. — Education reform measures working their way through the Michigan Legislature have prompted increased spending by teachers unions and other groups on lobbying, according to the Lansing State Journal.

The Michigan Education Association reported lobbying expenses of $324,000 for the first seven months of 2011, while the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan reported nearly $120,000, a combined increase of 11 percent over the same period in 2010, the Journal reported.

The unions opposed new changes that will make teacher performance a major factor in awarding tenure and making layoffs, the Journal reported, as well as a new law giving emergency managers more authority in dealing with financially stressed cities and school districts.  Still pending are bills that would allow the expansion of charter schools and expanded schools of choice.

The lobbying disclosure reports cite the amount of money spent interacting directly with lawmakers and other government officials, as well as lobbyist salaries and other costs, according to the Journal.

“More of our members have been coming to town to make their voices heard,” Doug Pratt, MEA spokesman, told the Journal. “There's been a laundry list of issues that certainly contributed.”

SOURCE:

Lansing State Journal, “Education issues spur lobbyist spending,” Nov. 20, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “A Good Start, Policymakers. Now for the Heavy Lifting,” July 4, 2011

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