Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:58pm

You only have until July 14-next Tuesday-- to register for MEA's 2015 Summer Leadership Conference, "Power from the Past-A Force for the Future." The Conference is scheduled for July 28-30 at Lake Superior State College in Sault Ste. Marie.

Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:57pm

Public Sector Consultants, a non-partisan public policy research firm in Lansing, has released a report offering financial recommendations and policy proposals to move Michigan forward. This comes on the heels of new State Superintendent Brian Whiston's goal of making Michigan one of the top 10 states in the next 10 years.

Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:56pm

The Senate's version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) will finally get a hearing on the full U.S. Senate floor starting tomorrow on July 7. In mid-April, the Senate Education Committee approved the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) a week after it was introduced by co-sponsors Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). 

Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:25pm

Two weeks ago, Gov. Snyder's education advisor led House Education Committee members to believe that the Governor opposed SB 103, the teacher evaluation bill sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), chair of the Senate Education Committee. Under direct questioning, Karen McPhee replied that Snyder did not support the bill in its present form. 

However, last week his media spokesperson said that Gov. Snyder has taken no position on SB 103, but would support some changes to the bill. So far, the bill has had four hearings in Committee that still has not voted to discharge the bill.

Pavlov's bill emphasizes local control with districts allowed to choose whatever evaluation tool they wish. There are no provisions for training and no standards by which to judge those evaluation tools. MEA lobbyist Christina Canfield spoke in opposition to the bill, saying the bill is not in the best interest of teachers or children.

Last year, the House plan for teacher evaluations was very different from SB 103. That set of evaluation bills never made it through lame duck last year. Those bills set standards for the evaluation tools districts use; emphasized training for evaluators; and created a much fairer evaluation system for teachers. The MEA remains hopeful this year's House Education Committee will introduce similar amendments to SB 103.

Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:26pm

This Wednesday, Brian Whiston takes over as the new State Superintendent. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, he talks about standardized testing, school funding, charter and cyber schools, deficit schools and teacher evaluations.

Posted on 06/30/15 at 9:19am

With the passage of Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act in 1965, teachers finally went from begging to bargaining. Thanks to PERA, all public school employees have the right to negotiate for fair wages, quality health care benefits and decent working conditions.

MSU scholars map out financial indicators to help deficit schools

Michigan State University scholars have created a financial health-indicator system for school districts that could be facing financial stress. The proactive system uses research and information from other states to analyze the fiscal health of school districts and is outlined in a white paper, “Knowledgeable Navigation to Avoid the Iceberg.”

MEA members awarded $5,000 NEA Foundation grant for Teacher Lab

MEA members Marcia Hudson and Linda Maniago of Avondale were awarded a $5,000 Learning and Leadership Grant from NEA for their Teacher Lab project. In this latest round, NEA awarded 16 Learning and Leadership Grants. 

Sign the petition to make sure the ESEA rewrite works for children

Take action now! Sign NEA’s petition to let Congress know it’s time to create a new vision for ESEA and do what’s right for students. It’s time to create a public school system that promotes opportunity, equity and excellence for all students.

Sign up for BFCL training to better communicate with

There's still time to register for next Building Full Capacity Locals training, "Reaching Your Members" on Feb. 25 at the Bloomfield Hills MEA office, 43252 Woodward Ave., Suite 200.

Sign up for BFCL training to better communicate with

There's still time to register for next Building Full Capacity Locals training, "Reaching Your Members" on Feb. 25 at the Bloomfield Hills MEA office, 43252 Woodward Ave., Suite 200.

Sign up for BFCL training to better communicate with

Four schools win state award for CTE programs

Gov. Snyder has made career and technical education as a way of preparing Michigan students for jobs of the future one of his top priorities this year. He need look no further than  four exemplary schools where MEA members and their students have been awarded the 2015 Excellence in Practice awards for preparing students for careers and higher education.

Join the ESEA Week of Action, Feb. 16-20; tell Congress a new bill must mean more opportunities and learning for students

Since its adoption more than 12 years ago, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has made no significant progress in closing achievement and opportunity gaps for students. It hasn't leveled the playing field for students in poverty, students with disabilities or English-language learners so they can have an equal opportunity for a quality education. NCLB has only made it more impossible for educators to help students be successful. 

Right now, Congress is moving fast on a rewrite of NCLB-also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). And from the looks of it, the reauthorization is no better than the original bill. It's focusing on more testing, labeling, and punishing schools for their test results, instead of concentrating on student learning and closing those achievement gaps.

We have a chance during NEA's ESEA Week of Action (Feb. 16-20) to influence Congress and tell them to pass a new ESEA bill that gets it right this time. That means a reauthorized ESEA must:

  • Create more opportunities for all students to receive a quality education by eliminating the one-size-fits-all and top-down approach to education reform.
  • Reduce the amount of time spent on testing so there's time for students to learn and more time for teachers to teach.
  • Ensure every student has qualified educators who have the authority to do their job and lead on behalf of their students.

Cook: End Michigan’s charter school experiment already

When you find yourself in a hole, the first step to getting out is to stop digging.

The hole I am referring to is the $1 billion taxpayers spend each year on Michigan’s experiment with charter schools. 

Letter-grade ranking of schools doesn’t make the ‘grade’

With states across the country—including Michigan—debating whether to implement a system that ranks schools on letter grades, a report by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice shows that using an A-F letter-grade ranking is invalid and fails to provide important information about a school’s quality.

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