Teachers head to Lansing

May 17, 2011

The American Federation of Teachers says its Michigan “Lobby Day” will “educate” legislators about the effect of state education cuts.

Teachers and school employees from all over the state descended on Lansing Tuesday for the Lobby Day, including a group from Detroit.

Ivy Bailey is with the Detroit Federation of Teachers’ Peer Assistance and Review Program. She was on board a bus headed to Lansing from Detroit.

“There’s too many things happening that shouldn’t be happening, but all the voices are being heard except for the voices of the teachers, the paraprofessionals, social workers, psychologists…all the people that work with the students. Nobody’s talking to us.”

The teacher-lobbyists spent most of their time talking about restoring education funding to the state budget. The state announced better-than-expected revenue estimates this week.

Bailey and other AFT members say the state should put at least some of that money back in the education budget.

Detroit AFT members also want to talk about how teachers and other school employees fare under emergency financial managers.

Donna Jackson is President of the Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals.

“We are talking about the emergency financial manager situation, which a lot of the locals are getting ready to face but we are already in the midst of it.”

Detroit schools have been run by an Emergency Financial Manager since 2009.

But state lawmakers recently changed the law to give such managers greater powers, including the power to dissolve union contracts.