Jul 18, 2005
On June 21, an estimated 11,000 people rallied at the Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan to demand that the state spend more money on education. Teachers, parents and students came from all across Michigan – many on buses. This was said to be the biggest protest in Lansing in 20 years. They want a new law that would increase school funding yearly by five% or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.
That's not much. It would barely allow a deficient school's budget to tread water from year to year.
But it was apparently too much for the Michigan legislature. Democrats offered no help, and Republicans in the legislature said they'd consider raising the school budget only if teachers pay for it. To make the point, they introduced bills to change the statewide teacher retirement plan from a guaranteed pension to a 401(k) and also cut teacher retiree health benefits.
Are the legislators proposing to cut tax breaks to their corporate buddies to pay more for schools? No way. Are they proposing to cut their own salaries and pensions to help pay? Not on your life – they just voted themselves big pay raises, just like they do every year!
How dare these smug self-satisfied creeps tell teachers they have to pay for better schools! As if teachers don't pay already to cover holes in school budgets every day – when they take from their own money to pay for classroom supplies and even toilet paper!
Right now, teachers who retire with a salary of $60,000 get only about $27,000 per year in pensions. But they'd get even less with a 401(k), where nothing is guaranteed.
This is nothing more than a petty, mean-spirited attack on teachers who dared to raise their voices and make public support for schools an issue.