To: Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Snyder: Veto the House Detroit Education Bills

The package of DPS-related bills passed by the Michigan House of Representatives is punitive, petty and dangerous for the people of Detroit.

The fact that these bills target only Detroit with unpopular and untested education experiments and anti-union measures shows this is not about what’s best for the children of Detroit—it’s about how the Michigan House can exert power over the people of Detroit.

I urge Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the House bills, and I ask the House to take up the bipartisan Senate bills that, while not perfect, give Detroit’s schools a fair chance and offer hope to our students, families, educators and staff.

Why is this important?

At 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 5, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a package of right-wing bills to punish teachers and students in Detroit. Gov. Rick Snyder must veto it.

Make no mistake: These bills discriminate against Detroit’s children—who are overwhelmingly economically disadvantaged children and children of color—and are designed explicitly to punish teachers who speak up on behalf of their students and themselves. Many of the so-called teacher-related provisions have failed and been rejected when used in other jurisdictions.

Under state-controlled emergency management, indifferent politicians abandoned Detroit’s students to learn in under-resourced schools with deplorable conditions. The state created half a billion dollars in debt for the school district, and the House bills, which only affect Detroit and not the rest of Michigan, don’t solve the state-created debt crisis.

Instead, this legislation creates a new district with a litany of bad education policies, strips teachers of their rights and voice, and leaves Detroit’s students in an even more vulnerable situation.

Under the House proposal, school employees—including teachers, clerical staff and support staff—are stripped of their existing contracts and benefits, and the district will no longer recognize their unions. The bill will punish teachers for going on strike or participating in walkouts over school conditions—even if the school is unsafe for students and staff to be in.

The bills would also allow the district to hire noncertified teachers and tie teacher pay to student test scores, even though research clearly shows those types of merit pay systems do not work.

This package of bills only applies to Detroit. Why are Michigan House Republicans punishing Detroit for the debt their emergency manager created? Why are they stripping rights and imposing bad education policies in Detroit, but not expecting their home districts to do the same? The answer is simple: They don’t think they’ll have to answer for what they’re doing.

Gov. Snyder must veto any version of the House bills that comes to his desk. The children and people of Detroit are counting on him to stop these reckless legislators from hurting them.