To the editor:
Opponents of Proposal 2 want you to believe that by approving the proposal voters will be placing children at risk. They tell you that no longer will there be laws to ferret out child molesters or dismiss bad teachers. They portray collective bargaining as a one-way process.
Truthfully, through the collective bargaining process teachers and support staff are able to safeguard students. As state government continues to underfund education, school administrators continue to increase class sizes to protect budgets. Large classes are not only counter-productive to learning, in science labs and other similar situations, large classes are dangerous. Who speaks for children in those situations? The teachers and support professionals do through their union, utilizing processes like collective bargaining.
Laws pertaining to background checks and reporting felonies are not affected by Proposal 2, and are as important to school employees as they are to you. Privatization of busing would be affected in that it will again become a topic that is permissible to discuss at the bargaining table. The same is true for other topics that recently have been classified as "non-permissible topics of bargaining."
One TV ad states that Proposal 2 protects bad employees. What is their definition of a "bad employee"? If administrators had time to follow the evaluation process, sub-par employees would be identified before they receive tenure. Like other school employees, administrators are affected by budget inadequacies. More unfunded responsibilities are added yearly. It appears that a "bad employee" is one who sticks up for his rights or is at the top of the pay scale.
Collective bargaining is getting to be a one-way process. Many conditions of employment are now legally off-limits to discuss. Law also permits the boards to never alter their original proposals.
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Local school boards like Baraga Area Schools and the Copper Country Intermediate School District have gone on record as opposing Proposal 2. That is the position of the Michigan Association of School Boards. They don't seem to realize that as long as their districts scratch by, the argument to adequately fund schools will fall on deaf ears. Their message to the state should be to adequately fund education so that they can attract the brightest and best employees.
Fiscal responsibility means more than just making education cheaper.
Vote yes on Proposal 2.