Posted on 05/26/15 at 12:45pm

Three out of 10 K-12 students failed all of their online courses last year and more than 50 percent failed at least one of their virtual classes, according to Michigan Virtual University (MVU). In the 2013-14 school year, 76,122 students took online classes. 

Posted on 05/26/15 at 12:56pm

With national opposition to the overuse of standardized testing increasing, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) consortium is cutting 90 minutes off its 11-hour-long assessment. It has also decided to start the testing period later in the school year. PARCC’s tests are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Posted on 05/18/15 at 3:02pm

Michigan ranks 29th when it comes to the number of high schools earning gold and silver medals according to U.S. News and World Report. Out of 834 eligible high schools, Michigan has 10 gold medal high schools and 68 silver medal schools. 

Posted on 05/11/15 at 3:02pm

If you’re a local president looking for guidance and support, there’s still time to get the training you and your local need through the 2015-16 Local Presidents Academy (LPA). The deadline has been extended to June 15 and all local presidents—new, experienced, EA, ESP, higher ed, with or without release time—can benefit from the program at little or no cost to participants or to the local.

Posted on 05/11/15 at 3:04pm

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is hosting the last in a series of webinars featuring models of Personalized Learning on May 21 from 4 to 5 p.m. Nicholas Provenzono, a Grosse Pointe Public Schools teacher and MEA member, will be presenting “Creating a Genius in Every Hour.”

Posted on 05/18/15 at 12:10pm

Since 1852, when 20 teachers came together in Ypsilanti to form what would eventually become the MEA, public school employees have joined together to win and protect basic rights that help ensure they are treated with the fairness, respect and dignity they’ve earned. 

FAQ on MPSERA Litigation

For Members Only

We answer some of your Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement Act Litigation.

Click here

Free to MEA members: WebEx on Certification this Wednesday

Considering the changes in the law regarding certification, there is nothing more important than keeping your certification up-to-date. Whether your certificate expires this summer or in five years—you need to develop a plan to protect your certification.

MEA can help!

Join the free WebEx workshop for MEA members on Wednesday, May 21 at 5 p.m.  (EDS). “What Every Teacher Needs to Know about Certification” will cover how to keep your certification current; how to renew and/or progress your certificate using the new certification rules; how to use District-Provided Professional Development and SCECHs; and how to use MOECS to complete the renewal process.

You can join the online workshop for free by going to https://mea.webex.com/mea/j.php?MTID=ma224c260e491ced484d1a33039bd8f74. When asked, enter your name and email address. If a password is required, enter 12345 and then click “Join.” The WebEx will also be recorded so MEA members can view it at a later date.

Mackinac Center proposes cutting education to fix potholes

Targets for the 2015-16 budget have been set are in House and Senate conference committees to hammer out a final budget.

Legislative leaders and Gov. Snyder have agreed to use $400 million from the General Fund to fix roads since the defeat of Proposal 1 left us with no real plan. But the rest of the targets for spending—like education—are still yet to be decided.

The Mackinac Center has “stepped up” with its own road funding plan—How Michigan can fix its roads--that calls on legislators to redirect current or future state money to help pay for roads. The Center proposes that most of the money come from “reducing expenditures on programs that offer little or no benefit to the typical Michigan taxpayer.”

It seems the Mackinac Center includes education spending on K-12, community colleges and universities in those programs “offering little or no benefit.” They recommend freezing the School Aid Fund and using the money for road repairs.

Their rationale?

K-12 enrollment is declining, and since budget targets for 2015-16 set $169 million from the General Fund for schools—school districts will have plenty of money left over. That “extra” money could be put into roads.

And they claim there’s little evidence that state spending on colleges leads to more college graduates or a better state economy, so legislators could reduce the $1.5 billion for universities to $637 million and put it into road repairs. School Aid money can’t be used for roads, so if higher education needs more money, the Mackinac Center says to take it out of the School Aid Fund. That frees up more General Fund money for roads.

The Mackinac Center is ready to start their campaign to convince members to opt out of their MEA membership. Like last year, they’ll be sending out letters and postcards; they’ll be taking out full-page newspaper ads paid for by anti-public education and anti-union groups; and they’ll be using television, radio and social media to promote the idea that MEA doesn’t have the best interest of public education employees, students or public education at heart.

Don’t be fooled! Not when it’s the Mackinac Center suggesting we sacrifice students and a quality education for a pothole! Whose best interests do you think they have at heart when they want to divert millions of dollars from schools to give to roads? 

 

Cook: Overtesting isn’t good for anybody

Teaching versus testing. That’s what it comes down to.

In April, school districts began testing students across the state on the new Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) standardized test. A few days later, I asked some of our teachers how that was going. Their reply, in a word: dreadful.

The primary complaint: this new test is stealing time from instruction and the curriculum. Testing began April 1 and continues through the week of June 1. Combine this with the Northwest Evaluation Assessment testing in the fall, winter and spring and it is no wonder parents as well as teachers are rebelling against additional testing.

Teachers report that the M-STEP test is taking much more time than projected. In many cases an entire school day is spent on the test and still students were unable to complete it. They were then “locked out” for failing to adhere to the original directive from the Department of Education that the test be completed on the same day it was begun. After being deluged with complaints, the department changed their directive and now allows the test to be completed on another day. That’s another day spent testing, not teaching.

Click here to read the entire article

Consortiums shortening tests to give students more time to complete them

With national opposition to the overuse of standardized testing increasing, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) consortium is cutting 90 minutes off its 11-hour-long assessment. It has also decided to start the testing period later in the school year. PARCC’s tests are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Failure rate for online courses is high

Three out of 10 K-12 students failed all of their online courses last year and more than 50 percent failed at least one of their virtual classes, according to Michigan Virtual University (MVU). In the 2013-14 school year, 76,122 students took online classes. 

Senate passes teacher evaluation bill with some improvements

The Senate passed its version of a teacher and administration evaluation bill last week. SB 103 is very different from the 2014 House bills (HB 5223 and HB 5224) which received wide support, but those bills did not make it through the Senate Education Committee last year. 

An important change to this new bill is a decrease in the percentage of student growth used in a teacher’s evaluation. In the 2017-18 school year, the first year of implementation, 25 percent of a teacher’s evaluation would be based on student growth as determined by a statewide assessment. The next school year, the percentage increases to 40 percent. According to current law, student growth will be 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation next year if no changes are made. 

Of the 40 percent of the evaluation based on student growth, 16 percent would be based on state assessments. The remaining 24 percent would be based on student growth as measured by local assessments used by a school district. The bill requires school districts to use the same evaluation tool in all of their schools. While they can choose the evaluation model that best works for them, information about it must be posted on the district’s website. The state Department of Technology, Management and Budget—which Gov. Snyder named to take over administration of state assessments from the Department of Education—will keep a list of effective evaluation tools districts could use.

Another important change delays the uses of student growth and assessment data until three consecutive years of data is available. That postpones using M-STEP test results until the 2018-19 school year. 

 

Michigan has 78 high schools ranked as one of the 205 Best

Michigan ranks 29th when it comes to the number of high schools earning gold and silver medals according to U.S. News and World Report. Out of 834 eligible high schools, Michigan has 10 gold medal high schools and 68 silver medal schools. 

Psychologists report what teachers should know about student learning

report by the Coalition for Psychology in Schools, "Top 20 Principles from Psychology for PreK-12 Teaching and Learning," and supported by the American Psychological Association, considers what teachers should know about the ways their students learn.

Students need more trained counselors-not more counselor training

The Michigan Association of School Counselors (MSCA) doesn't see the need for additional training in college and career counseling as outlined in HB 4552. They believe the real issue is the need for more trained school counselors-not more training.

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