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. 

Message to MEA Members on Officers’ salaries

Last week the Mackinac Center was at it again, and this week the Detroit Free Press joined it in pushing anti-MEA propaganda for the sole purpose of sowing suspicion, doubt and disunity among MEA members.  Not unlike the Mackinac Center’s hugely expensive effort this summer to get members to leave their union, it has been a failure. The policy of my office remains clear—any dues paying MEA member who wishes to learn exactly what their officers make—has only to ask.

It’s not MEA! Be careful of a questionable scholarship offer

Don’t be taken in by a message to “coaches, teachers, and other interested parties” from a “Scholarship Selection Committee” offering scholarships to “Michigan High School Seniors.” MEA is not involved with nor endorses this program.

Students taking longer than four years to get their college degrees

Too much time and too little money keep most college students from earning a degree in four years according to Complete College America’s report, “4-year degrees now a myth in American higher education.” 

Michigan’s ranks low on its record of charter school oversight

Michigan may lead the nation in the number of charter schools it authorizes, but it ranks at the bottom among states when it comes to oversight of those authorizers. That finding in a report by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) supports efforts by some lawmakers and the state school Superintendent Mike Flanagan to strengthen the oversight and accountability of the state’s charter school operators.

Currently, Michigan has 136,850 students attending 297 charter schools with 39 authorizers. The number of charter schools, along with student enrollment, has grown rapidly since the authorizing of charter schools 20 years ago this year. 

The report, “On the Road to Better Accountability: an Analysis of State Charter Schools,” specifically faults the state for not automatically closing academically failing charters; for not setting quality standards for authorizers; for not requiring annual reports on academic performance; and for not having an evaluation process in place for authorizers. 

NACSA recommends a revamping of the state’s charter school laws that includes the ability to revoke the authority of a charter school authorizer to open any new schools; enforce oversight standards of current charter schools; and strengthen requirements for charter renewals. 

Flanagan threatened to suspend the ability of authorizers to open new charter schools unless they met similar standards. And a package of House bills—HB 5852HB 5915HB 5918—would keep authorizers from giving a contract to charter schools that have been closed for academic performance, and prohibit authorizers from giving contracts to new charter schools if the authorizer is not doing enough oversight on current charter schools.

MEA and AFT urge House to oppose third-grade reading bills

In a letter to members of the House of Representatives today, MEA President Steve Cook and AFT-Michigan President David Hecker are urging members of the House of Representatives to oppose HB 5111 if it continues to require retention of third grade students who are not reading at grade level. Both MEA and AFT are instead recommending early intervention with a reading improvement plan that is adequately funded on a long-term basis.

 

Arts educators receive $40,000 in grants for classroom supplies

In its first cycle, Michigan Youth Arts, on behalf of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), has provided $40,000 to 43 elementary, middle, and high schools across the state.

MDE continues to deal with EAA special education complaints

The State Board of Education (MDE) continues to field concerns over how it handles special education complaints. Issues have been raised about MDE's responsiveness and effectiveness in dealing with concerns, especially those regarding special education at the Education Achievement Authority (EAA).

U-M wins grant to change how new teachers are trained, mentored

The University of Michigan's College of Education received a $1.1 million grant to improve how teachers are trained. U-M will use the money to work with other states to change what's required of new teachers and how they receive mentoring once they're in the classroom. Hopefully, Michigan will be one of those states. 

Art Acquisitions Purchase Exhibition

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.

Court of Appeals rules the state doesn't have to make sure students can read

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.

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