For the second day in a row, teachers at Detroit Public Schools have called in sick causing mass school closures throughout the city. The sick-outs are union-organized and spurred by the announcement by new emergency manager Stephen Rhodes that teachers will not be paid after June 30th if the Legislature fails to bailout the district. Meanwhile, in Lansing, Republican leaders are using the sick-outs to argue in favor of devastating changes to the district. Some lawmakers would even like to see DPS dissolved altogether.
Stephen Henderson talks to Detroit Today producer and former Michigan Public Radio Network political correspondent Jake Neher about the sick-outs and the proposed DPS bailout legislation.
The House Appropriations Committee met this morning and is expected to propose a much different version of the bill than the Senate version. The House version could sanction teachers and organizers of the sick-outs.
Neher says that in four years of covering Lansing politics he has never “seen a negotiation that was really this… on thin ice in terms of what the end result would be. Would it be good for teachers? Would it go far in terms of sanctioning teachers?”
“Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan, this is really the only form of protest they have,” says Neher. ”And who can blame them? We’re talking about their paychecks here.”