Politically motivated educators boycotting student teachers from union-hated university

Nov 1, 2013 by

YPSILANTI, Mich. – A teacher union-led boycott of student teaching candidates from Eastern Michigan University has gotten the attention of lawmakers in Lansing.

The Detroit News reports union members at six Washtenaw County public school districts are closing their doors to the teachers-in-training as retribution against the students’ university, which works with the state to turn around chronically bad schools throughout the state.

“Eastern Michigan University is the only university in the state that signed on to partner with” Gov. Rick Snyder’s Education Achievement Authority, a state school takeover district that’s currently operating 15 Detroit schools, explains Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post.

The state uses EMU master’s degree-seeking students to serve as teachers in the troubled schools.

The labor groups don’t like the fact some unionized teachers have lost their jobs due to the state takeover. They also resent that the new, EMU-trained teachers in the turnaround schools aren’t unionized.

So, in a vindictive and thuggish manner that’s typical of Big Labor, the unionists are punishing the university’s undergraduates who simply want to gain classroom experience – a prerequisite to becoming certified educators. (A student teacher is only placed in a classroom if the supervising teacher agrees to take him or her on.)

State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, the Republican chairwoman of the House Education Committee, blasted the union’s behavior in a statement released Wednesday night.

“Urging schools not to accept student teachers from a university because of a political disagreement is a reckless decision that puts the careers of young teachers in jeopardy,” Posthumus Lyons said in the statement, according to MLive.com.

“This looks like an attempt to intimidate university administrators, educators, and legislative leaders who are working hard to ensure kids have the opportunity for a quality education. It appears that these innocent student teachers are being used as tools in a political disagreement. If that is true, it is unbecoming of an education organization of any type.”

Posthumus Lyons has invited Tim Heim, the union leader credited with organizing the boycott, to meet with lawmakers to explain the unions’ actions. It’s unclear if Heim will accept the offer.

Jann Joseph, dean of EMU’s College of Education, said the university is having a tough time finding classroom placements due to the boycott.

“In many ways, our students and future teachers are caught in the middle of this conversation,” Joseph told MLive.com.

The Detroit News was less diplomatic in its summary of the unions’ temper tantrum: “Next time you hear teachers unions are all about doing what’s best for teachers and students, remember this incident.”

Politically motivated educators boycotting student teachers from union-hated university – EAGnews.org powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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    Sara Graham

    A huge pat on the back for EMU’s union!! Why would the union support a system that does support teachers? Why is it that CMU and Saginaw Valley State University are supporting charter schools?? Yes, education in Michigan is failing! However, why would educators support a corporation that is led by rich politicians who just want control and to fill pockets with money?? I think legislature should take a hard look at the way a lot of charter schools are running in Michigan. I have had the opportunity to discuss the unfair, belittling, and humiliating treatment of teachers who have worked for charter schools in the Detroit-Metro area. For instance, a teacher who worked for the EAA has expressed that she was given constant negative feedback by her principal because her students were unruly and disrespectful! Mind you, she was the student’s fourth teacher in January. Furthermore, she was threatened, along with other teacher, that they would get a formal write up placed in their personal file. The reason? Because politicians were coming to visit the school and immediately after lunch students were to be rushed to their ELA classes and were to remain in the class for 2 1/2 hours without a bathroom pass. If teachers were to let students out, they would be written up! Furthermore, this teacher explained she was called horrible racist names by students she was trying to control. She gave the assistant principal the discipline referrals and he just had a talk with the students and then sent them back to class. Another instance was shared with me about a teacher who had worked for a charter school in West Detroit. He explains that Human Resource Personel and Financial Analysist Administration would walk into classrooms and humiliate teachers in front of the students. One was for not noticing a student had a cell phone charging. Furthermore, this teacher, along with 20 other teachers, were all hurdled into the cafeteria and called out and escorted out of the building in front of all staff members. When I asked why were the teachers let go? He explained that there was not a reason given on the paper they received. However, one administrator explained that the superintendent wanted to hire friends and family who needed jobs. This treatment needs to stop! A few

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