Lawmakers Consider Withdrawing Certificates From Striking Teachers

LANSING (WWJ)– The House Education Committee met in Lansing on Wednesday to discuss a new proposal that would impose penalties for teachers who strike.

Among other things, the new legislation would suspend the teaching certificate of any teacher who goes on strike.

Teacher strikes are already illegal in Michigan, but State Representative Bill Rogers of Brighton said the current law is not enforced and does not go far enough.

“We propose to decertify any member that has decided to go forth with an illegal activity,” Rogers said.

State Representative Paul Scott of Grand Blanc, who is chairing one of the committees holding a hearing on the bills, explained the penalties for striking teachers.

“With the two bill package, one would decertify a striking teacher for a minimum of two years, and the other would decertify the local collective bargaining unit that is organizing and carrying out the strike,” Scott said.

That means a teacher who was on strike would potentially lose their teaching certificate for two years.

It is something that does not sit right with Doug Pratt, Director of Communications at Michigan Education Association, who said the measure goes too far and unnecessarily punishes teachers.

“It really is a step too far. I mean, suspending the teaching certificate of teachers who participate in the strike is a huge infringement of their ability to work and earn a living,” Pratt said. “These aren’t decisions that are made idly. You know, public school employees are dedicated to their students.”

Pratt thinks given the position teachers are in, they owe it to their communities to stick up for what is right.

“School employees are going to stand up for what is right for their students and for their schools and for their community. And if that means them taking a stand, then that’s what it means,” Pratt said. “But, it is illegal and it is something that already, there are severe penalties for, and we don;t believe they need to be made any worse.”

According to Pratt, the new law is not needed because there have been very few teacher strikes in Michigan in the last 15 years.

State Representative Lisa Brown is a West Bloomfield Democrat who doesn’t like the law under debate.

“Why is there not that flexibility? Why are we dictating that it’s either a two-year suspension, or just a complete revocation of somebody’s license? I think those are kind of harsh,” she said.

Representative Paul Scott, a Grand Blanc Republican, disagrees.

“To have them going out on strike, and the spectacle that goes along with that, and all the lessons that the child would derive from seeing that, and the questions that they would have for their parents at home… I find that an unacceptable situation,” Scott said.

The House Education Committee adjourned Wednesday morning without taking a vote.

Comments

One Comment

  1. TaterSalad says:

    Finally, a legislature who is going to do the right thing to get our school system “back on track” and putting teaching at the forefront. The legislature has our support 100% on this one.

  2. A Michigan Engineer says:

    On the flip side we have a state legislature that is very pro-active reprimanding educators but evades road repair budget decisions. Apparently its easier to pass laws that fire striking treachers than finding concensus on transportation needs. One issue is HR related and the other is construction related. This is one example where Michigan’s infrastructure needs good engineers making budget decisions about road repair. Michigan needs to address its problems with the right people, asking the right questions and getting work done. Engineers are trained to do this. Lawyers are trained to argue a point and rely on decisions made by judges and juries.

  3. LAURA says:

    FIRE ALL THE TEACHERS WHO STRIKE. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE KIDS TO THEM ITS THE GREED THEY HAVE. IF THEY CARE ABOUT THE KIDS THEY WOULD NOT ILLEGALLY STRIKE. TEACHERS THAT CARE ABOUT TEACHING WILL STAY AND THE ONES WHO ARE IN IT FOR THEMSELVES CAN HIT THE ROAD. WE NEED TEACHERS WHO REALY CARE ABOUT KIDS. ALL THESE BS TEACHERS UNIONS WANT IS MORE AND MORE TAX PAYERS MONEY FOR THEM DOING LESS AND LESS TO TEACH OUR KIDS.

    1. Karen says:

      How interesting that such an uninformed opinion is written in ALL CAPS without punctuation. You have to be clueless about the reality of being a teacher to say “its the greed”. There are already harsh penalties for striking and it RARELY happens. What happened to the scales of justice, to common sense about what appropriate and what goes too far. I listened to Rep. Rogers and he was pompous, officious, and out of touch.

  4. John says:

    Tater Salad – speak for yourself doofus – it is getting to the point where we are not going to be able to attract and retain ANY good teachers. And LAURA, I don’t know if you are a parent, but I am, married to a 20 year Michigan Speech Teacher – who just took a 20% cut – on top of a cut last year. Not all teachers are greedy – but in the last 10 years I have seen teachers reprimanded for suspending bullies, cheating students, and have to deal with idiot parents that think teachers are no more than glorified babysitters. I think the Michigan Legislature, by imposing more of these penalties on Michigan teachers, will do no more than drive out the good teachers. How about if we stop allowing these bailed out moronic big companies like GM, Chrysler, and the Big Banks, to stop paying these absurd bonuses for “retaining good talent”. Teachers should be paid the highest salaries, because they are teaching the future workforce of Michigan.

  5. Dontred Onme says:

    Michigan residents have allocated enough money into the school aid fund to pay for a $263 per pupil INCREASE in funding to local districts. Rick Snyder is ignoring the will of the people to use this money for K-12 funding, and instead is shifting so much money out of K-12 funding that schools are going to see a per pupil decrease in funding of up to $1000. This isn’t responsible governing. He seems to think that as governor he can ignore the will of the people. And he’s trying to use heavy handed legislation to deter any significant opposition to his schemes. Over the weekend one of his Emergency Financial Managers sent home the elected representatives of the city of Benton Harbor. He disbanded their local government! Have you ever heard of such a thing? This is tyranny, not governing. It’s picking winners and losers, not representing all Michiganians.

  6. Sally says:

    I am going to check out facebook where I hear there is a petition voters can sign to recall Snyder. I agree we should support teachers and I for one do not want my pension taxed. A good teacher is worth their weight in gold and an excellent one is priceless. I think the law should read that if a contract is not in place, teaching does not take place. In other words schools do not open. How many times have we read of teachers working into the second year without a contract. As far as I am concerned that is the school board striking in not bargaining in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable solution If Snyder had been upfront about his plans before he was elected, I don’t think he would have been elected.

  7. Iblis Jones says:

    I am not a teacher in Michigan. If I was I would leave the state. The profession is difficult and unrewarding enough to put up with this harrasment.

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