Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Kunse condemns radical plan to hand over local control of schools to union bosses
RELEASE|May 30, 2023
Contact: Tom Kunse

Rep. Tom Kunse (R-Clare), a member of the House Labor committee, expressed his growing concerns with legislation that would hand over local control of schools to union bosses, which advanced through the committee last week.

“The Democrat-proposed plan would effectively turn the control of our schools over to union bosses,” Kunse said. “This extreme policy disregards what’s best for Michigan students. More than anything, parents want to make sure their kids have access to the best possible education that equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in life. That is my priority. This plan erodes accountability in our schools, favors seniority over better-qualified teachers, and makes it harder to evaluate the effectiveness of the education our students receive.”

Rep. Kunse has spoken with many school officials throughout his district about the legislation, who said the plan is widely unpopular.

House Bills 4354-55 (Rep. Weiss) would expand what subjects can be included as collective bargaining topics for schools. The bills would also:

  • Make changes to effectively put the Michigan Education Association (MEA) in charge of much of a school’s operations with little recourse;
  • Make changes that would make much of the oversight of teachers subject to binding negotiations, leaving little leeway to adjusting school operations if necessary;
  • Allow teacher placement to be determined by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which makes serious evaluation of teachers almost impossible as they’ll know exactly when and what they are being evaluated on.

House Bills 4356-57 (Reps. Carter and Hood) would repeal the prohibition on including contracting of noninstructional services to a third party by a school from a CBA. The bills would also:

  • Force workers into unions;
  • Put many businesses that provide related services in jeopardy, along with their workforce;
  • Prevent schools from achieving necessary savings in the future by allowing these services to be bargained and subject to a CBA.

“Allowing unions to decide when and how teachers are evaluated removes all accountability,” Kunse said. “Further, allowing unions to bargain over teacher placement is a bad policy that has produced horrible results in the past. We already have a major problem retaining teachers and attracting new talent – this is only going to make the problem worse.

“Students deserve to have the most qualified educators teaching in their classrooms. Administrators must be able to evaluate teachers based on their qualifications and place them where they’re best suited. Teachers who are trained to teach special education should be working with students who have special needs, for example.

“I’m always going to consider what’s best for Michigan students. Taking decisions away from locally elected school boards and turning them over to union leaders who are not accountable to the community is not in the best interest of our students.”

Despite opposition by Kunse, HBs 4354 – 4357 passed the House Labor Committee along party lines, and now advances to the full House for further consideration.

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