The Michigan Education Association (MEA) and the Michigan chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT-Michigan) plan to hold a #RedforEd rally next Tuesday at the Capitol in Lansing in support of Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s teachers’ union and educational establishment-friendly budget.
The rally is further evidence that the movement represents a partisan extension of the Democrat Party’s progressive agenda for the 2020 election.
“Join educators from across Michigan to increase funding for public education and our students,” the MEA website says. A second rally at the state Capitol is also scheduled for the following Tuesday, June 25.
The Michigan state legislature is currently in session and begins its weekly deliberations each Tuesday.
“It’s our time, Michigan. Our #RedforEd moment is here,” MEA President Paula Herbart added in a video posted on the organization’s website:
What will we do to say that we believe in Gov. Whitmer’s budget?
Well, I’ll tell you what we’re going to do: We’re going to be on the Capitol lawn on June 18. And on the following week, June 25, we’ll be back again to tell legislators that we believe in valuing our students, respecting educators, and funding our public schools.
You can watch the 60 second video here:
As Breitbart News reported in February, “This teachers union effort, called #RedforEd, has its roots in the very same socialism that President Trump vowed in his 2019 State of the Union address to stop, and it began in its current form in early 2018 in a far-flung corner of the country before spreading nationally. Its stated goals–higher teacher pay and better education conditions–are overshadowed by a more malevolent political agenda: a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states to blue, using the might of a significant part of the education system as its lever.”
Michigan is the most recent state in which teachers’ union members who are part of the #RedforEd movement have marched on state Capitols in attempts to influence state legislators to spend more money on public K-12 education.
Unlike earlier marches, such as those in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Oregon in 2019; and Arizona in 2018, the Michigan #RedforEd rallies come at a time when K-12 public schools in the state are not holding classes. In the other states, teachers have skipped classes by calling in sick, forcing public schools to shut down previously scheduled class days.
“In her proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, Whitmer called for adding $507 million to K-12 education in Michigan, for a total of $15.4 billion, and ending the practice of using school aid funding for public universities,” the Lansing State Journal reported in March. It stated the budget includes:
- Increasing the amount of money allocated per-student by between $120 and $180, depending on the district. Total: $235 million
- Increasing reimbursements for special education services. Total: $120 million
- Increasing state support for at-risk students. Total: $102 million
- Increasing opportunities for career and technical education. Total: $50 million
“The minimum per-pupil funding also increased last year, by $240, twice as much as it did each of the two years that proceeded it. Per-pupil funding has been on the rise since the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency. The current per-pupil minimum is $7,871,” the State Journal added.
Whitmer’s call for more funding comes as student performance in the state continues to decline.
“More than half of Michigan students failed [a 2018 statewide] literacy exam,” the Detroit Free Press reported in August.
The report said:
On the eve of a pivotal school year — the last one before school districts will have to start holding back some third-graders who aren’t reading at grade level — results on the state’s important reading and writing exam are hardly providing optimism.
The results — released Wednesday morning by the Michigan Department of Education — might create waves of panic across Michigan, given the state has invested about $100 million in recent years into improving reading instruction. But state education officials are urging patience, saying efforts to improve reading instruction are intensifying and will take time to show results.
Just 44 percent of the students in grades 3-8 who took the English language arts portion of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) passed the exam.
That’s down from nearly 48 percent in 2015 — the first year the M-STEP was given — and marks the fourth year in a row more than half of the students weren’t proficient.
Performance among public high school students was unimpressive as well:
On the SAT — the college entrance exam taken by 11th graders — 36.9 percent of students met the benchmark for being considered college- and career-ready in math, while 57.8 percent met that standard in reading and writing. That compares to 2016, where the numbers were 36.8 percent in math and 60.1 percent in reading and writing.
And earlier this week, the State Board of Education announced the adoption of new social studies standards that conservative critics say push an anti-American agenda.
According to a Tuesday report by the Associated Press:
Michigan’s State Board of Education has approved new social studies standards for grades K-12 that include more examples and references to the roles that women, minority organizations, Muslims and African-Americans have played in history. The board voted 6-2 Tuesday to adopt the standards and an amendment that calls for more information on Sikhism to be included in them.
“Two Republican members of the state board, Tom McMillin and Nikki Snyder, voted against adoption,” the Detroit News reported that same day. “McMillin, an Oakland Township resident who’s the board treasurer, tried to have the proposed standards sent out for external review. His motion failed.”
According to the Detroit News:
Nearly two dozen people spoke out against the standards, calling them unfair or unbalanced.
Tami Carlone, a Republican candidate for state board in 2018, said she thinks they are “extremely politically biased.”
“These standards lack critical pieces of history that our children should know, pushing an agenda on our children … This is educational malpractice,” Carlone said. . .
The standards, which set expectations for what students are to learn by the end of each grade, drew attention and controversy last year after proposed revisions offered by then-Republican state Sen. Patrick Colbeck included removing references to climate change, gays and lesbians, and the phrase “core democratic values.”
The latest proposed standards use the phrase “democratic values.”
In the current set of standards before the state board, the term “climate change” appears six times; it had been removed twice in the 2018 proposed changes. It was only found twice in the current 2007 standards.
The poor performance of Michigan public school students on basic knowledge and the introduction of standards that reject traditional American views serve to confirm the sentiment expressed in a recent op-ed by one public school teacher who declared “K-12 education has become progressive Sunday School”:
As a teacher and a former public school student, I have become intimately acquainted with the inner workings of the Progressive Liberal Sunday School catechizing the youth of America. Over 50 million young people attend the public schools every year where—to an overwhelming extent—their minds are prepared to accept and think uncritically about basic Progressive Liberal doctrines by the priests and priestesses who teach their classes.
Within the schools that teach the teachers, Social Sciences—which the university Schools of Education fall under—registered Democrats outnumber Republican Professors by a margin of over 10 to 1. Even in my Jesuit School of Education, we were heavy on social justice but weak on the classical canon of literature; we went deep into the all-powerful influence of racism, sexism, class and other bigoted isms as applied to education, but we hardly ever talked about the Western tradition of liberty, the pursuit of truth, and the search for the sublime.
The teacher continues:
The Unions, to which almost all teachers belong, give overwhelmingly to Democrats. Since 1990, the K-12 teacher unions gave close to 80 million dollars to Democrats; they gave only 3.4 million of those dollars to Republicans. 95 percent of their donations have gone to Democrats. This puts traditionalists like myself in a tight bind. My dues help bargain for the salary that allows me to be a part of the middle class; but the organization is a far-left outfit that pushes a social agenda that is antithetical to my own personal beliefs.
I saw firsthand the workings of the union at the State Representatives Assembly I attended several years ago. We spent a good amount of time discussing salaries, working conditions, and so on, but the floor was also open for numerous resolutions. Among them were resolutions about equity (a Progressive Liberal code for forced equality of outcome), ethnic studies (any culture except traditional European, Jewish, or Christian cultures in practice), celebrating the “Black Lives Matter” movement (no motions about Blue Lives—including Black Blue Lives were brought up), a resolution about “toxic masculinity” (despite the fact our most problematic students tend to have NO masculinity in the house) and a resolution against teachers being armed in class. Essentially, it was a hit parade of the Progressive Liberal professions of faith.
The Sunday School works quite simply. Students are exposed to a Progressive Liberal curriculum by a teaching staff who are constantly honing their skills to be at the cutting edge of Progressive Liberal doctrines as they develop. The job of the curriculum, which Progressive Liberal instructors posing as “experts” select, is to prepare the ground for them to explain and inculcate Progressive dogmas into the minds of children.
Textbooks are often where this starts. What does that look like in practice? Take an Advanced Placement U.S .History textbook called The American Pageant. This is a popular textbook that tens of thousands of the 500,000 students who take the AP U.S. History test use to prepare for the exam. In the words of Burt Folsom, an economic historian and emeritus professor at Hillsdale College, the textbook teaches “flawed ideas…that mislead students into thinking that the United States is fundamentally corrupt, and that the world is often worse off because America exists and has so much global influence.” In the textbooks which we use, certain words are used as slurs. This isn’t shocking. They are written by a professoriate which I earlier mentioned has 10 liberals for every 1 conservative—and social conservatives are often even less represented. Words like “conservative,” “Christian,” “male,” “patriarch,” “white,” “European,” “rural,” “older,” and “religious,” are used almost exclusively in negative contexts.
Whitmer’s proposed increases in K-12 public education spending, the partisan political activism of #RedforEd teachers in the state, and the controversial introduction of new social studies standards that conflict with traditional American values set the stage for what is likely to be a contentious fight between Republicans and Democrats over the next year and a half to win Michigan’s 16 electoral college votes in the 2020 presidential election.