At 230 high schools in the state, not a single student in the 2011 class was considered ready to attend college. At more than half of Michigan’s high schools, fewer than 10 percent of graduates are ready for college.
That reality plays into other emerging Michigan trends reported by the U.S. Census Bureau: Michigan lags behind the rest of the U.S. in terms of income and residents with college degrees. The state’s reluctance to tackle its education problems head on - due primarily to the MEA’s consistent opposition to reform - is clearly taking its toll.
The MEA-commissioned survey is only the union’s latest attempt to distract the public from real, serious issues that have plagued Michigan school finances and dragged down academic progress for decades. The union’s own poll found that the majority of Michigan residents have a negative perception of the state’s public schools.
Lawmakers targeted by the survey are working to make difficult but necessary decisions that will put schools back on firm footing, both academically and financially.
If the union was truly committed to improving K-12 education in Michigan, it wouldn’t be attempting to bamboozle the public with misleading propaganda. If union leaders were concerned about students and teachers, they would be far better off surveying schools that have learned to adapt and thrive in the current economic conditions. That would be useful information.
Instead, MEA bosses have continued their quest to squash all change, restrict a parent’s right to choose the school for their child, and protect policies that put the union’s financial interests ahead of student learning.
The MEA’s financial reports reveal that the union has sent a lot of money to its partner polling company EPIC/MRA over the years, so it shouldn’t exactly be a shocker that its survey results support the union’s political positions. But what’s more concerning is that area reporters, supposedly unbiased gatekeepers of public information, are so willing to spread the MEA’s misinformation.
Even a cursory check into the questions posed in the MEA push poll should be enough to convince most journalists that the data is worthless. The fact that they didn’t, or don’t, care should outrage those who are actually working to improve public schools.