Policy and Politics Just Part of the Action on Mackinac Island

A political operative is escorted out of an event and an expert calls for end of the 'labor model' in education

MACKINAC ISLAND — Political speeches often are uneventful. But what happens on the sidelines sometimes provides a spark.

The mid-morning session involving former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills, didn't disappoint thanks to Peters' campaign manager being escorted out of the room.

It all happened quietly and without much notice, but about 10 minutes into Land's speech, a Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce representative tapped Paul Tencher on the shoulder and then walked him into the hallway. Tencher was videotaping Land's speech, which the Chamber rep told me after the event violated rules the two campaigns had agreed upon.

A spokeswoman for Peters' campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

The Hiring Game

Jason Sosa, founder and CEO of IMRSV, a company that specializes in face detection software, dropped one of the best quotes of the day when he was talking about success and his staff.

"If you have to micromanage people why are you investing in them?"

I'm not sure if all the people in the room who were nodding "yes" were employees or employers, but there was consensus that he was spot on.

Ending The Labor Model In Education

That was one of the key takeaways from a session featuring Joel Klein, the former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.

"A lot of people are not going to like to hear this," he said. "But we've got to move away from the traditional union model (in education) to the professional model."

Seniority can no longer be the standard for teacher pay, he said, adding that teacher education needs to move away from pedagogy and toward training in science and math, without losing any focus on reading and writing.

"What I learned about the school system is that the school system doesn't want to change."

Why? Because labor unions are designed to serve the interests of adults. That's why school choice is so important.

A New Free Market Mayor?

And finally, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan channeled his inner Hayek (sort of) Wednesday afternoon during his presentation on the housing turnaround he's working on in Detroit. Neighborhood by neighborhood, the mayor is trying to spur redevelopment by getting people to buy abandoned houses.

He's doing so by "putting the property out of the government's hand and into the hands of neighbors."

That's one small step for free market economics and a huge benefit for Detroit.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.