Labor Voices: Michigan teachers feel they are devalued

Reblogged from The Detroit News by Steven Cook

Last week, Republican leaders in Lansing rammed through legislation that will weaken retirement security for newly hired school employees and increase future costs to taxpayers. These reckless changes come at a time when teachers and education-support professionals are already facing declining salaries and benefits.

For instance, would it shock you to learn that in virtually every school district in the state you can find a teacher who qualifies for a Bridge card, the modern version of the food stamp program?

Or that a teacher in southeast Michigan qualified for a Habitat for Humanity home — the second public school employee in the past three years to be selected for this low-income program?

Those facts reflect recently released data from the Michigan Department of Education showing teacher salaries have declined across the state for the fifth straight year. They fly in the face of claims by Lansing politicians that school employees — specifically teachers — enjoy overly generous salaries and benefits.

The public isn’t buying those obviously false claims from politicians.

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