Posted on 11/25/14 at 10:53am

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that the state has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education to struggling students in Highland Park schools. The court said Michigan has no constitutional requirement to make sure students learn reading skills. It is obligated, however, to establish and finance a public education system.

Posted on 11/17/14 at 2:57pm

Lack of adequate education funding has not only impacted class size, staffing and programs, it has also hit school transportation budgets. The result is more Michigan school buses flunking the latest round of state safety inspections.

Posted on 11/10/14 at 4:38pm

The Senate and the House are both considering legislation which would give high school students certification in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) on their diplomas. If such legislation becomes law, it would make Michigan the first state in the country to offer STEM certification. 

Posted on 11/26/14 at 12:10pm

MEA members entered more than 100 pieces of art for the 2013 MEA/Michigan Art Education Association Art Acquisitions Purchase Exhibition, with the “Best in Show” award going to Colleen Redfield, an education support professional from Stockbridge.

Posted on 11/03/14 at 4:19pm

Eleven Michigan charter schools met the Michigan Department of Education’s (MDE) deadline for fixing administrative issues like posting documents on their websites, but they could still face suspension this month over academic performance. State Superintendent Flanagan plans to meet with the authorizers of those 11 schools before deciding whether authorizers would be barred from opening any new charter schools until all issues are addressed.

Posted on 11/03/14 at 4:20pm

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) are promising to work together to improve assessments at the state and local levels. One of their specific commitments is to evaluate state assessment systems for quality and coherence. The two groups will partner with districts to review their assessments.

An Open Letter to All Teachers Who Have Opted Out of Your Union

If you have opted out of the union, and if I knew you personally, I would most likely respect you as an educator, but I want to share my take on this situation. I don’t know what your reasons for your actions are, and don’t expect that you need to share them with me.  But I do know that many of you feel you just can’t afford the dues. Or perhaps you feel the union doesn’t do anything for you anyway.

Ann Arbor teachers invite you to a rally for public schools

What does the largest class size in the world look like? Come to the Rally for Public Schools in Ann Arbor on Thursday, Aug. 28 and find out!

It's a chance to celebrate teachers, students and a new school year with Ann Arbor teachers and the Michigan Teachers and Allies for Change (M-TAC) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in downtown Ann Arbor. There will be something for the whole family-music, dancing, face painting and ice cream.

In addition to a good time, it's a chance to let legislators know about the good things going on in schools despite cuts to funding, pay freezes and increased class sizes. Lisa Brown, Mark Schauer's running mate, Rep. Jeff Irwin, and Ann Arbor EA President Linda Carter-all strong supporters of public education-will be guest speakers.

RSVP on Facebook. Come out and show your support for public education!

What qualities do you think a state superintendent of education should have?

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan will be retiring July 2015, and you can share your thoughts and recommendations on the qualities a new superintendent should have.

New school year brings 18 more charter schools

Despite claims that charter schools lack financial and academic oversight, 18 new charter schools are opening this fall. With 11 charter schools closing at the end of the last school year, there are now a total of 303 charter schools in the state.

NEA wins delay on use of student test scores in teacher evaluations

The U.S. Department of Education is giving states until the 2015-16 school year-a two-year delay-to use student test scores for teacher evaluations. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the announcement after more than a year of NEA and other education groups calling for such action.

State granted NCLB waiver extension for new school year

Michigan won a renewal of its waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for the 2014-15 school year. Without the waiver, schools would have to follow NCLB standards that require 100 percent of students proficient in math and language arts.

Nominate your elementary, middle school principal for leadership award

If you consider the leadership of your elementary or middle school principal to be outstanding, then consider nominating your principal for the 2014 MEMSPA Outstanding Practicing Principal award.

Revised Student Conduct Code offers alternatives to suspensions and expulsions for less serious offenses

The State Board of Education (SBE) has unanimously approved the Model Code of Student Conduct 2014. (It's at the Michigan Department of Education website. SBE held several hearings before deciding on a revised Code that would ensure students were educated in a "safe and supportive environment that fosters academic success and healthy development." The current Student Conduct Code dates back to July 2001.

Some charter school authorizers at risk of suspension

Fallout is still being felt two months after the release of the Detroit Free Press' report on the state's charter schools. The investigative report uncovered a general lack of accountability and transparency in how charter schools spend the more than $1 billion in state taxpayer money they receive.

One third of Priority Schools no longer ranked in the bottom 5 percent

The 2014 School Accountability Scorecard released last week by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) provided good news for the 34 percent of 2013 Priority Schools which were removed from that list of lowest-performing schools. According to the Scorecard, more than 1,000 schools met targets in all areas, such as proficiency, participation, attendance, and graduation rates. 

There are 60 new Priority Schools which by law are placed under the authority of the State School Reform Office. The schools will be required to create and implement an intervention model to improve student achievement. The federally defined intervention models include transformation, turnaround, restart and school closure.

The color-coded Scorecard gives schools, districts, parents and the public a way to identify strengths and weaknesses of a school's performance. Colors are determined by points accumulated for goals met or by demonstrating improvement. Green is the highest level, indicating that most goals were met. The next level is lime, followed by yellow and orange. Red is the lowest level, indicating that few goals were met.

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