MEA Adopts Reactionary Stance on Education Reform

In the historic 1993 Michigan education reform debate, the MEA recognized that parents and taxpayers were increasingly seeking new approaches to public education. The MEA also recognized that many of the desired reforms—including privatization, charter schools, compulsory union dues withholding, the MESSA controversy, and expanded educational choice—threatened the union’s interests. In response to this threat, the MEA summarized its reform positions in an internal document titled "Parameters." (see MEA Hypocritical on Privatization)

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This MEA strategy document illustrates that the MEA is staunchly opposed to nearly every reform except for increased taxing and spending for education. Among the positions advocated in this document are:

  • "That the MEA oppose any effort to weaken, directly of indirectly, PERA [Michigan’s mandatory collective bargaining statute]. . . .There shall be no limit on the rights of public school employees to be involved in politics."

  • "That the MEA oppose any privatization of public school functions."

  • "That the MEA is opposed to charter schools."

  • "That tenure not be altered."

  • "That the MEA consider all available taxes to adequately fund education in the public schools of Michigan."

  • "The following taxes may be considered for raising the revenue necessary to fund education:

    • Sales tax
    • Income tax
    • Statewide property tax
    • Gross receipts tax
    • Single business tax
    • Statewide commercial business and industrial tax
    • Local property tax
    • Cancel abatements
    • Sin tax
    • Increase the value added tax +
    • Use and service tax
    • Real property tax
    • Tourist Taxes
    • Personal exemption on income tax"

  • "Regional taxing authorities would be acceptable, if necessary, to enhance the funding mechanism."

  • "Vouchers, under any guise, for private schools are categorically unacceptable."