Editor’s Note: DPS strike won’t win over Lansing

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Detroit teachers may have gotten a lot of attention by closing down nearly all Detroit Public Schools on Monday, but their actions are not likely to win over the hearts of GOP lawmakers. And DPS is in desperate need of Lansing’s help.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers led the organized teacher “sickouts,” which shut down 94 of 97 schools. But what the teachers did is definitely a strike — illegal under Michigan law. Penalties, however, are rare and teachers clearly feel free to ditch their students to promote their own cause.

Teachers pulled a similar stunt in January, in protest of poor building conditions and a proposal from Gov. Rick Snyder to financially stabilize the school district.

This time around, teachers are outraged they may not get paid over the summer; some teachers opt to spread their paychecks out all year. Since DPS is on track to run out of money by June 30, when its $48.7 million in emergency state aid is gone, that means those summer checks could be in jeopardy.

Snyder has sounded the alarm for over a year that the Detroit district is headed for insolvency. Latest Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes has done the same the past few months. So this latest news shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially the teachers union, which is very aware of how bad things are at DPS.

While the Senate passed a $715 million bailout package for the district in March, the House is still sitting on its DPS bills. This latest strike will only annoy outstate lawmakers, and dissuade them from tackling a complicated issue they weren’t thrilled about in the first place.

If teachers really want consistent paychecks, they should rethink their game plan.