MEA's Facebook page has multiple inaccuracies
The Michigan Education Association has continuously misrepresented the financial situation of schools, and did so again with a graphic it posted Sept. 12 on its Facebook page.
On a graphic titled, “Public School Cuts: A Vicious Cycle” (see image nearby), the MEA cited an open letter from a Michigan State University professor that leaves out billions of dollars in school funding from its analysis. The picture also cites a school district issuing 223 layoff notices but doesn’t mention that the district only ended up actually laying off two teachers.
In the past several months, MEA President Steve Cook has misrepresented facts on school funding in Michigan’s two largest newspapers.
Now, the Facebook page claims that when adjusted for inflation, school funding in Michigan has dropped from $11,000 per pupil in 2002 to $8,000 per pupil in 2011.
The MEA is citing data lifted from an open letter sent by Michigan State University Professor David Arsen to Gov. Rick Snyder.
However, Arsen's analysis left out billions of dollars given to schools because it didn’t include federal dollars or money given to Intermediate School Districts, Michael Van Beek exposed when he was education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Arsen eventually changed some of the information in the letter.
When all revenue is calculated, funding for schools actually went up 1.2 percent from 2002 to 2012, adjusted for inflation.
The MEA’s chart also cites an AnnArbor.com article with a headline that read: “Budget Crisis: Ann Arbor schools issues layoff notices for 233 teachers.”
But what the MEA doesn’t report on the chart is that the Ann Arbor school district ended up laying off just one full-time and one part-time teacher, not the 223 initially reported in the spring, according to Ann Arbor Public Schools Spokeswoman Liz Margolis.
Public schools in Michigan often issue numerous layoffs for teachers and end up calling many of the teachers back.
“The MEA is using outdated and flawed information to support its incorrect claims,” said Audrey Spalding, education policy director at the Mackinac Center.
Two members of the MEA’s communications team did not respond to requests for commment.