Michigan Education Association


Teachers and school employees launch ‘punching bags’ TV ad at Capitol rally

Thousands of postcards to lawmakers delivered by 600+ MEA members in Lansing; 10,000 expected at upcoming Capitol rally on June 24

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LANSING, Mich., April 23, 2010
— More than 600 teachers and other school employees rallied outside the state Capitol on Friday to protest cuts to their public schools. At the rally, the Michigan Education Association also announced the launch of a new television advertisement that demands politicians “stop treating teachers and school employees like punching bags.”

“Parents, educators and taxpayers from across the state are fed up with Lansing politicians and their continued attacks on public education and public school employees,” said MEA President Iris K. Salters. “Like all Michigan citizens, school employees have shared in the state's economic pain, giving up nearly $1 billion in wages and benefits over the past few years. Enough is enough — the last thing our state’s struggling economy needs is further cuts to education.”

See slideshow of rally at the Capitol
“Instead of attacking public school employees, politicians should be working on real, balanced solutions, such as finally ending ineffective corporate tax incentives and using the savings to plug the massive holes in our state’s education budget,” Salters said. “Politicians have been cutting public education for a decade – and we still have a budget crisis every year. Voters are sick and tired of the budget games and gimmicks coming from Lansing – and they’re not putting up with it anymore.”

Aside from Salters, state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer and state Rep. Rebekah Warren both spoke at the rally. Also on the Capitol steps was a boxer with a punching bag, as featured in the new TV spot. The punching bag was emblazoned with the words “Teachers” and "Support Staff" – the same as featured in the new TV spot.
Following the rally, the gathered MEA members hand delivered more than 100,000 postcards that their colleagues back home sent with them for lawmakers in Lansing. Salters and other MEA leaders also carted thousands of MEA members’ postcards to Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Friday’s events also kicked off a countdown to a series of local education rallies on the evening of May 24 and an even larger rally scheduled for June 24 at the Capitol. MEA expects more than 10,000 people to attend the June event, which will call for an end to attacks on public education and a commitment from lawmakers to provide the adequate, equitable and stable school funding that Michigan’s students deserve.

AD TITLE: “Punching Bags”

LENGTH: 30 seconds

LAUNCH DATE: Thursday, April 22, 2010 in Lansing; Monday, April 26 elsewhere

AIRING: Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing markets

ON THE WEB: http://www.mea.org/press (streaming and broadcast quality versions)

SCRIPT: “Politicians love to treat school employees like punching bags these days. But they’re ignoring that teachers and school support staff are sharing in our state’s sacrifices, spending money out of pocket for basic classroom supplies while their salaries and benefits continue to be cut. 

“Enough is enough. Tell politicians it’s time to stop treating teachers and school employees like punching bags.”

Download broadcast quality video here.

CONTACT: Doug Pratt, Director of Communications, Michigan Education Association, 517-337-5508

Updated: April 23, 2010