“Unsubscribe to Michigan Education Report” is the command emblazoned in block letters headlined across a full page of the April issue of MEA Voice, a monthly publication of the Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest school employee union. It is sent to 159,000 of the union’s members.
Michigan Education Report is the Mackinac Center’s quarterly journal of education news and analysis for parents, educators and policy-makers, published since 1998.
More than 100,000 public school teachers have received Michigan Education Report free of charge, thanks to Mackinac Center supporters who believe teachers should be provided information they won’t find in union publications. More than 40,000 school administrators, policy-makers, parents and others have also received the journal.
A half-page article under the MEA’s commanding headline tells teachers how to “unsubscribe” to Michigan Education Report, and it directs readers to the newsletter of a group the union formed in 2001 to counter Mackinac Center research.
The article’s anonymous author calls Mackinac Center literature “junk mail” and describes Michigan Education Report as “unwanted.” Also included is a handy, clip-out form that teachers can fill out, cut out, and mail to the Mackinac Center to “unsubscribe.”
“We received a few of the forms,” said Mackinac Center Executive Vice President Joseph Lehman. “But for every unsubscribe form, we’ve received in total more than 100 requests to start a new subscription.” Robert Hunter, director of labor policy for the Mackinac Center, reports that the number of teachers contacting him about resigning from the MEA has been “in the dozens.”
“MEA officials apparently don’t want teachers to read education-related news that isn’t filtered through the union,” Lehman said.
Anyone can disassociate from Michigan Education Report’s free mailing list by merely asking to have his or her name removed, and it will be done “cheerfully and promptly,” Lehman said. On the other hand, any MEA-unionized teacher who wishes to disassociate from that union and its mandatory dues typically must quit his or her job.
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This article appeared in the Spring 2003 issue of the Mackinac Center's newsletter, IMPACT.