MEA President Cook on "Off the Record"

MEA President Steven Cook

MEA President Steven Cook

MEA President Steve Cook appeared on Michigan Public Television’s “Off the Record” last week and called out Republicans for their harmful decisions regarding public education in Michigan and set the record straight on MEA’s involvement in recall elections. 

“It’s actions by Republicans that are driving the recalls; it’s not the MEA. The MEA is not their only problem. Their problem is constituents upset about a business tax cut that gutted public education by $1 billion,” said President Cook.

Last week Sen. Randy Richardville, Senate Majority Leader (R-Monroe), announced his push for “Right to Work FOR LESS” legislation for teachers. He singled out the MEA for failing to represent its membership and failing to make financial sacrifices in these tough economic times. 

Political insiders say this is all retribution for the recall of Scott who voted to cut education funding, played a key role in changing tenure policies and supported slashing collective bargaining rights.

And in the area of sacrifice, thanks to Scott and other legislators, school employees are paying 3 percent toward their pensions and a 20 percent copay on insurance premiums.  These sacrifices are estimated to cost $533 million annually.

A prohibition against school districts deducting union dues from member paychecks is also in the works with the House passing HB 4929 last week.

Expressing frustration over how these so-called education reforms actually improve education, President Cook said, “People are angry. The recall should force Republicans to take a step back and say, ‘Did we do the right thing?’”