Mike Addonizio, professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education Column: Is Michigan committed to its teachers?

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Detroit News, 11/30
Column: Is Michigan committed to its teachers?
By Mike Addonizio

An upcoming case before the Michigan Supreme Court which will decide whether the state of Michigan violated the state constitution when it seized $550 million from the paychecks of more than 200,000 public school employees between 2010 and 2012 to help pay for school employees’ retiree health care. Mike Addonizio, professor of education policy in the College of Education, wrote an op-ed stating that though the issue before the court appears narrow, it raises larger issues about the state’s commitment to its public school and classroom teachers. “By mandating this contribution by teachers in order to maintain retiree health benefits they had been promised, the contested 2010 law amounted to a legislatively-imposed pay cut for all teachers in MPSERS — that is, all teachers working in traditional district schools and in charter schools authorized by local or intermediate school boards,” Addonizio wrote. “It is difficult to overstate the importance of skilled, experienced teachers in our public schools. Most of us can remember the teachers who have inspired us and left lasting imprints on our lives. And growing research literature confirms our intuition: The classroom teacher is the most important school-based determinant of student success. When we confront our pressing state fiscal pressures, including rising teacher retirement costs, we need to remember that our public schools are investments in our economy and society, and teachers are their most valuable asset.”