Latest news releases and President's column.

Buena Vista teachers vote to continue working through Friday, despite not getting paid on time


Buena Vista teachers met Monday and decided to continue working this week, even though they learned on Friday that the district had run out of money to pay their salaries on time.

Teachers in the Buena Vista School District voted Monday to continue working this week, even though they learned on Friday that the district had run out of money to pay their salaries on time.

Will Secretary Duncan bring news of ‘skunk works’ controversy back to D.C.?

MEA President issues statement in response to U.S. Education Secretary’s visit to Detroit and Ypsilanti with Gov. Snyder

EAST LANSING, Mich., May 6, 2013 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steve Cook in response to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s visit Monday to schools in Detroit and Ypsilanti with Gov. Rick Snyder:

“It was certainly an honor for students and school employees in Detroit and Ypsilanti to get a visit from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan today, and we appreciate the attention he and Gov. Rick Snyder are paying to the critical issue of early childhood education, which research proves is key in helping students become lifelong learners. 

“But just because Gov. Snyder agrees with investing in early childhood education doesn't forgive the fact that he's thrown research out the window in countless other education decisions he’s made in the past two years —  especially the recent revelations about his administration’s secret ‘skunk works’ plan.

“While he’s talking now about putting money into early childhood programs, Gov. Snyder continues to stand by his $1 billion in cuts to local schools, which shortchanges the education of our children from kindergarten through college.  And now his corporate special interest allies, already benefitting from massive tax breaks, could make more profit off our schools, thanks to skunk works.

MEA President: ‘Michigan kids deserve a world-class education – not a dime store diploma’

The following can be attributed to MEA President Steve Cook in response to the Detroit News’ story, “Education reform group forges voucher-like plan for Michigan”:

38 outstanding public school students awarded 2013 MEA Scholarship

EAST LANSING, Mich., April 12, 2013 — The Michigan Education Association today announced the recipients of the 2013 MEA Scholarships, honoring exemplary public school students from across the state who will be attending a Michigan public university next fall.

Among the 1,116 applications submitted for scholarship awards this year, the MEA Scholarship Fund Trustees chose 20 new award recipients who will each receive $1,500. In addition, 18 repeat winners who are already enrolled in college will receive $750 each.

Since 1997, the MEA Scholarship Fund has awarded 410 scholarships totaling $440,790 to graduates of Michigan public high schools.

The general criteria for awarding the scholarships include academic achievement, extra-curricular activities as well as school and community service.  All other criteria being equal, children of MEA members and students from lower income households are given first consideration.

MEA President Steven Cook: NRA proposal to arm school employees is ‘dangerous and reckless’

EAST LANSING, Mich., April 4, 2013 — MEA President Steven Cook issued the following statement Thursday in response to the National Rifle Association’s new report that recommends school employees receive firearms training and carry guns in schools:

“The National Rifle Association this week issued a report that recommends arming school employees as a way to prevent gun violence — a dangerous and reckless move that would place an undue burden on teachers and education support staff.

Judge orders Ferris State board to explain why it voted against its own contract proposal

BIG RAPIDS, Mich., March 21, 2013 — A state administrative law judge has ordered the Ferris State University Board of Trustees to explain why it voted to reject its own contract proposal with the Ferris Faculty Association, which represents employees at the university.

MEA supports Schor bill closing dangerous loophole in Michigan’s gun law

MEA President Steve Cook (right) addresses media at the state Capitol on March 14 about the MEA’s support for House Bill 4104, which would close a dangerous loophole that allows concealed pistol license holders to openly carry firearms in Michigan schools. With Cook is the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing.

The Michigan Education Association endorsed legislation Thursday that would close a dangerous loophole in Michigan’s gun law that allows a concealed weapons license holder to openly carry a gun in gun-free zones such as schools.

Ferris State accused of unfair labor practices after turning down their own contract offer

The Ferris Faculty Association has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission asserting the university’s Board of Trustees violated state labor law when it recently failed to pass a five-year contract.

MEA President rebuts criticism about perfectly legal contract extensions

EAST LANSING, Mich., Feb. 26, 2013 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook. It is in response to political criticism levied against teachers and education support professionals for negotiating long-term contract extensions in advance of the March 27 implementation of Michigan’s so-called “right-to-work” law:

“One month from tomorrow, a new Michigan law will take effect making it illegal to negotiate contracts that include fair-share terms requiring employees covered by that contract to either be a union member or pay their fair share of the cost of negotiating and maintaining that contract. Any contract in place by that date is legal and binding under state law.

Pontiac students and educators benefit from generous school supply donations

Pontiac Education Association member and Whitman Elementary School teacher Linda Puas said of the supply drive and Saturday’s event, “This is so sad and yet so heartwarming. You really feel ‘not alone’.”

MEA organized supply drive in response to supply shortages caused by education funding cuts

PONTIAC, Mich., Feb. 16, 2013 — On Saturday, MEA members from across Michigan stepped up to help the students and educators of the Pontiac School District. In response to a critical school supply shortage caused by education funding cuts, MEA coordinated the donation and delivery of more than $12,000 in cash and gift cards, as well as thousands of dollars more in school supplies.

A truckload of these donated supplies was distributed to Pontiac Education Association members on Saturday at UAW Local 653 in Pontiac. Donations came from MEA teachers and support staff from around the state, as well as other allies such as the United Auto Workers and even contributions from other public school students, like the student council of Utica’s Flickinger Elementary.

The massive underfunding of public education by Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Legislature has created an untenable crisis for educators and students in Pontiac.  Last year, MEA members conducted a similar supply drive for teachers and students in the Benton Harbor Area Schools.