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EAA school takeover legislation re-introduced

 

Months after similar bills died in the Legislature’s lame duck session, Michigan House Republicans have reintroduced legislation to create a statewide “takeover” district called the Education Achievement Authority, or EAA.

MEA members are urged to contact their lawmakers and urge them to oppose the EAA legislation. Click here to find contact information for your legislators.

House Bill 4369, introduced Tuesday by Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, would allow the EAA to take over up to 50 public schools deemed by arbitrary and flawed rankings to be in the state’s bottom 5 percent. It would also allow the EAA to create new charter schools within two miles of a so-called “failing” school.

HB 4369 would allow Lansing bureaucrats to assume many of the responsibilities currently entrusted to local school board members, parents, teachers and education support staff — all while essentially eliminating the time-honored tradition of “neighborhood schools.”

The bill fails to include an in-depth audit of existing issues in both the school building and district that are causing the lack of performance.  Rather than finding and addressing specific problems through audits, the bill simply assumes that a board and bureaucrats appointed by the governor can simply do a better job than those already doing the work – regardless of the challenges they face.

The bill removes local communities’ ability to establish education policy, direct curriculum and manage community resources, by shifting power to state and federal bureaucrats. It also does not provide any substantive local controls to establish standards, create missions and goals, monitor performance, or audit finances of new schools created by this legislation.

School employees and employers attempt to blunt negative effects of upcoming 'right-to-work' law

Three weeks remain until Michigan officially becomes a so-called “right-to-work” state and, despite interference from Republican politicians, MEA members are doing everything they can to minimize how this new law will hurt school employees and local unions

"Real State of Our State" tour coming to Lansing, Detroit and Flint

The Michigan House Democrats are continuing their listening tour throughout Michigan to garner input from citizens on ways improve public education in the face of continued political attacks against teachers and education support staff.

StudentsFirst lobbyist testifies in Lansing on same day academic review slams group’s ‘state report card’ on education

An academic review out Wednesday criticizes StudentsFirst for grading state education policies based on ideology and not hard research – the same day former state Rep. Tim Melton, now a lobbyist for the advocacy group, testified before the Michigan House Education Committee and advocated for test-based teacher evaluations.

MEA presents specific education reforms to increase student outcomes and strengthen workforce

Testifying before the House Education Committee on Wednesday, MEA Vice President Nancy Strachan outlined three specific education reforms to help improve Michigan schools: increasing investment in early childhood education; strengthening vocational, agricultural and technical education; and enhancing professional development opportunities for educators.

House adjourns without passing EAA and conversion school bills

The Michigan Legislature adjourned for the year early Friday morning without taking up legislation that would allow the creation of so-called "conversion schools" or a statewide school takeover district.

House and Senate pass versions of ‘right-to-work’; adjourn until Tuesday

Following this morning’s announcement by Gov. Snyder and Republican legislative leaders about their support of so-called “right-to-work” legislation, the state House and Senate took swift action in passing bills implementing the deceptive, flawed concept for both public and private sector workers.

Both chambers amended existing bills to include language allowing workers to choose not to pay their fair share of the costs of negotiating their contract. The bills legalize freeloading, which pits workers against one another and gives corporate special interests an even greater advantage in being able to cut wages and benefits.

In the House, HB 4054 was amended and passed by a vote of 58-52 to implement “right-to-work” for private sector workers.  Six Republicans (Forlini, Goike, Horn, McBroom, Sommerville and Zorn) voted no along with all Democrats.

On the Senate side, both public and private sector workers were attacked -- SB 116 and HB 4003 were passed with 22 Republican votes each, with four Republicans (Rocca, Casperson, Nofs and Green) voting no. Senate Democrats all voted against SB 116 -- all 12 chose not to vote on HB 4003 in protest. Local police and fire employees, as well as state police, were exempted.

Legislature considering school voucher bills during lame duck

In the final weeks of the legislative session, state lawmakers are considering bills that would strip away local communities’ ability to guide education policy, by creating a statewide "takeover district."

Take action: 'Right to Work' legislation could be introduced next week

So-called "Right to Work" legislation is likely to move through the Legislature as early as next week. Right-wing legislators are hoping that MEA members will be too distracted by the holiday season to notice.

Legislators 'extremely confused' about proposed state takeover district

Members of the state House Education Committee were "extremely confused" about legislation to create a statewide takeover district during a committee hearing Monday, according to the Gongwer News Service -- another sign that they should not attempt to pass such radical school overhauls in the lame duck session.

The panel was hearing testimony on House Bill 6004, which would expand the authority of the interlocal agreement between Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University that created the Education Achievement Authority.

The legislation would expand the EAA to the entire state, allowing it to absorb schools deemed by arbitrary and flawed ratings to be in the bottom 5 percent.

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