Michigan Education Association

Investment in education is a bright spot in governor’s State of the State address

Strong public schools key to Michigan’s future

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 3, 2009 – Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s State of the State address focused on a critical issue—the need to bring new jobs to Michigan. But the governor also recognized the need to prepare our citizens for those jobs, and that preparation begins in our public schools.

“The Michigan Education Association agrees with Governor Granholm that the state needs to invest in educating our citizens and preparing them for good jobs,” said MEA President Iris K. Salters. “Our public schools are the best way to make sure students are ready for the jobs Michigan needs.”

In her address, Granholm praised Michigan teachers, pointing out that the state was recently named No. 2 in the nation for having the most “highly qualified teachers” in core subject areas. But she also recognized that the way to build great teachers is with continuing professional development, and she proposed an ambitious plan to provide middle school teachers with expanded training to prepare students for Michigan’s new math requirements.

“The MEA is pleased to see that Governor Granholm recognizes the importance of professional development for teachers, especially in light of new curriculum requirements,” said Salters.

But Granholm’s speech also began and ended with the serious financial problems facing Michigan. Keeping our schools strong costs money, and right now there is a projected shortfall in state school funding for next year.

The MEA and a bipartisan team of lawmakers have proposed a retirement stimulus plan that would save the state $410 million dollars next year. Those savings could be used to fund important investments in education, including early childhood programs and class size reductions to help graduate more students from high school. MEA members are waiting with anticipation to see how Granholm proposes to balance the budget and fund these programs when she holds her budget briefing on Feb. 12.

Salters and MEA Director of Government Affairs Ed Sarpolus are available to speak with reporters regarding Granholm’s speech.

Contact:  Ed Sarpolus, MEA Director of Government Affairs, 517-927-9776

“The mission of the MEA is to ensure that the education of our students and the working environments of our members are of the highest quality.”

Updated: February 19, 2009 6:22 PM