The MEA helps teachers

I’m a public school teacher and a member of the Michigan Education Association.

I’m also an independent with many conservative views.

Like many of my colleagues in public schools — Republicans, Democrats, independents — we’re appalled by attacks singling out our profession. We are outraged because these attacks ultimately hurt the children we have committed our lives to educating so they can learn and compete for jobs.

I’m also a voice for public education. I want to help others speak up for our profession and for policies that can help all kids get a quality public education.

Teachers and our union are not looking out for ourselves. No one goes into education to get rich. We do what we do to make a difference. Attacking the MEA is simply a ploy to eliminate the voice of unified teachers.

That’s the new business model: Get into education, break union contracts, and outsource jobs at half-price— or worse, get computer programs to educate our students.

Without our union, teachers won’t have a voice to bargain about class sizes that affect our kids. Worse, when the teaching profession keeps getting hammered, fewer people will choose to teach because they won’t be able to support a family in a field that is no longer valued nor respected.

Our union is the only way we teachers can have a voice, a platform where people who otherwise may be introverted, shy or quiet can be strong together and stand up for our kids.

Collectively, we can fight for a seat at the table when policies are being made — for high standards in teacher preparation programs, for lower class sizes so children can get more individualized attention, for support programs that educate the whole child.

Michigan schools are not failing. Despite lagging support from Lansing, I believe our children are learning because of the hard work and dedication that comes from each and every teacher and public school employee.

An organized group of dues-paying teachers and school employees is the best defense against these continued attacks. That’s why the Michigan Education is more critical today than ever.