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DeVos Voucher Scheme Withdrawn from Board of State Canvassers

Great news – the DeVos-backed voucher initiative, deceptively named “Let MI Kids Learn,” has withdrawn its petition with the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, meaning the effort will not be seeking approval by the Board and will not be on the 2024 ballot in its current form. The proposal would have created a voucher-like system where hundreds of millions of dollars would be ripped away from public education to benefit wealthy individuals and businesses via tax breaks. Some estimates concluded that billions of dollars could have been siphoned away from public schools over time if this proposal had passed. Elections matter!

Big Arbitration Win for Michigan Medicine Workers

More great news from the University of Michigan, where an arbitrator has agreed that the bargaining unit of approximately 900 Diagnostic Imaging workers proposed by the United Michigan Medicine Allied Professionals, AFT Local 6739, is reasonable under the terms of the union organizing policy adopted by the UM Board of Regents. This clears the way for UMMAP to gain recognition through confirmation of majority signup by a neutral third party and then open contract negotiations. This will be the third unit formed under the UM organizing policy since it was passed in 2020, following in the footsteps of physician assistants forming the United Physician Assistants of Michigan Medicine, AFT Local 5297, and librarians, archivists and curators joining the Lecturers Employee Organization, AFT Local 6244.

Judge Rules that Teachers Are Not Subject to FOIA

In mid December, an Oakland County Circuit Judge dismissed a case supported by the Mackinac Center which has implications for all classroom teachers.  The Mackinac Center  worked with a parent and newly elected Rochester Schools Board member to submit a FOIA request to the Rochester Schools seeking copies of lesson plans, readings, assignments and other materials prepared by the teachers. The key question was whether teachers are “public bodies” for the purposes of FOIA.  The Judge held that, while the school district is a public body, individual teachers working for it are not. That means that the teachers are not directly subject to FOIA and did not have to hand over materials.

Union Building Institute- February 4, 2023

AFT Michigan’s Union Building Institute will take place on February 4, 2023, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, at UM-Dearborn Fairlane North. Sessions are designed to help all members develop skills to build power at their worksites and unions. With a morning and two afternoon sessions, participants will have the opportunity to design their own UBI agendas by selecting up to 3 workshops from 14 sessions being offered to develop their knowledge and skills around organizing, team building, bargaining, and social justice.

Read descriptions about all the sessions being offered at UBI here.​ Register for Union Building Institute at Please reach out to Meenakshi Mukherjee ( with any questions.

Contribute to the AFT Michigan PAC Today

AFT Michigan fights for our members, students and communities all year round and we need your help. Can you donate $1 a week to aid us in this fight? Please visit the AFT Michigan website to contribute and make a big difference in protecting public education and building a better Michigan future! 

Professional Development

Building an Educational in Class Community Without Competition, PreK-12

Jan. 14, 2023 Virtual Workshop

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

This workshop will introduce strategies to support learners to see one another as allies, rather than rivals, and create a learning climate where all can thrive.

Participants will receive 6 SCECHs after completion of the workshop.

Click here to register.

Student Agency in the Classroom

Feb. 4, 2023 Virtual Workshop

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

This workshop will take a deeper look into the inner dimensions of student agency, what it is, why it is needed, and how it can translate into good instructional practice.  Leading to both academic and social emotional growth for learners.

Participants will receive 6 SCECHs after completion of the workshop.

Click here to register.

AFT Professional Learning Monthly Webinar Series

Register now for a new monthly webinar series, TEACH-ify: A Great Teaching Strategy Playlist! Starting in January and continuing through May, AFT members are invited to join national trainers from the AFT’s Professional Learning program to talk about great teaching strategies for supporting our students in grades K-12.

These free Zoom sessions are a fun and productive way to meet colleagues from around the country and learn about teaching strategies you can use the next day. We will also offer office hours following each session to answer participants’ questions.

Sessions will be held the second Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

Playlist of Topics:

  • Jan. 12: Students with Challenges
  • Feb. 9: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: Focusing on Student Strengths
  • March 9: Social and Emotional Learning
  • April 13: Differentiation: Tiering
  • May 11: Differentiation: Choice Board

Register for as many sessions as you’d like, and be sure to forward to a friend or colleague.

In solidarity

David Hecker


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