President David Hecker issued the following statement after Governor Snyder’s 2016 State of the state address:
“While Gov. Snyder acknowledged the crisis facing Detroit Public Schools must be addressed immediately, his comments fell far short of what our students, all Detroiters, our elected officials and Michiganders needed to hear more from our state’s leader. The Governor needed to be stronger and more specific. He needed to send an overpowering message of Fix the Schools Now with a plan for action,” said David Hecker, president of AFT Michigan.
“The Governor called for paying the state-accumulated DPS debt but offered no commitment that it would be done without harming any of Michigan’s students. The Governor appeared to reference the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren but did not call for the implementation of its recommendations, other than the paying of the debt.
“He gave extremely short shrift to the recommended Detroit Education Commission, which is opposed by the moneyed charter school lobby, but is an essential component if we are to advance public education in Detroit. There was no mention of the need to close the failed experiment of the Educational Achievement Authority and return the schools to Detroit Public Schools.
“Although he spoke of the catastrophe in Flint and the crisis in Detroit Public Schools, Gov. Snyder failed to recognize that both have been led by Emergency Managers who have made decisions that put our children and their futures at risk.
“No child, whether in Flint, Detroit or anywhere, should have to drink poisoned water or attend crumbling, under-resourced schools. The Governor asked us to hold him accountable – and our members are committed to it.”