Posted on 02/23/15 at 3:31pm

More Michigan children are living in poverty according to the annualKids Count report by the Michigan League for Public Policy and  funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The number of children in poverty increased by 35 percent with one in four children living in poverty and one in three qualifying for food assistance because their families’ incomes are $23,600 or less a year.

Posted on 02/23/15 at 3:32pm

The U.S. House is expected to pass a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this Friday. Unfortunately, this rewrite does nothing to help students learn or teachers teach. The focus has shifted to more testing, labeling of schools and then punishing them for their “failure,” while doing nothing to close achievement gaps.

Posted on 02/25/15 at 9:21am

If you believe our schools and safer roads are important to the quality of life in Michigan, circle May 5 on your calendar. On that day, voters will be asked to vote on a proposal that would raise over $1 billion to repair Michigan’s dangerous roads and bridges, while raising $300 million in new revenue for Michigan public schools, funded by a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax.

Posted on 02/18/15 at 3:01pm

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. 

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

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.”

Posted on 02/18/15 at 3:06pm

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. A recent report by a pro charter school group ranks Michigan’s charter school accountability law last among similar states. 

Awards & Grants

Throughout the year, MEA gives out a variety of awards, including more than $175,000 in college scholarships to Michigan public school students since 1997 through the MEA Scholarship. Other awards honor MEA members for service to the association, public education and their students. Click on the awards on the left to find out more about the various awards available, including how to nominate worthy recipients.

Volunteer your time for the repeal of EM!

We're in the home stretch. Efforts to gather petition signatures for the repeal of the Emergency Manager Law continue. There are still opportunities to volunteer to make sure there are enough certified signatures.

How will Indiana influence RTW in Michigan?

It would be in our best interest to monitor the "Right To Work For Less" (RTW) movement in neighboring Indiana since several Republican legislators have already said, "As Indiana goes, so goes Michigan." Indiana would be the 23rd state to impose RTW, which allows workers to benefit from negotiated contracts without paying their fair share.

In 1995, the Indiana Legislature passed a RTW law for teachers. The current proposal would expand to include all workers.  Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is leading the charge on the issue now with commercials. Hearings on the proposed bill are currently underway. On the first day of session, House Democrats protested the legislation by choosing not to attend sessions and denying a quorum for voting. Thousands are expected to protest at the Statehouse despite the imposition of new security regulations and capacity limits. In addition to other labor groups, the NFL Players Association has come out in opposition to the legislation--the Super Bowl will be played in Indianapolis on Feb. 5.

Two views of teacher compensation

As long as there are continued education funding cuts and tight budgets, teacher salaries will be scrutinized and debated. Two new studies add fuel to both sides of the issue.

Workgroup to review quality of charters and all public schools

Quality and accountability were key issues during the debate on SB 618 to lift the cap on charter schools. The only amendment to pass dealing with the issues created a bicameral, bipartisan workgroup focusing on “improving the educational quality in all public schools for all pupils.”

Appeals court rules therapists can’t be privatized

By a 2 to 1 majority, the Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) decision that occupational therapists and physical therapists are not subject to the privatization provisions of PA 112, which makes bargaining over the privatization of non-instructional employees a prohibited subject. Court of Appeals Judges William Murphy and Donald Owens offered the majority opinion with Judge Kathleen Jansen offering the dissenting opinion.

Right to Work may surface as Labor Freedom Act

Look for the Labor Freedom Act to surface in January if the Michigan Freedom to Work (MIFTW) group has any say. Their goal is to turn Michigan into a right-to-work state and they are encouraging Republicans to take up the legislation.

Changes to school retirement among legislative goals

Changing the retirement health benefits of school employees is one of the legislative goals House Republicans have set for this year.

More changes to public education in Snyder’s new proposals

Last year’s legislative onslaught of so-called education reform proposals shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In his April 2011 special message on education reform, Gov. Snyder gave marching orders to legislators to lift the charter school cap, overhaul teacher tenure, tie teacher evaluation to student performance, encourage unchecked growth of cyber schools and tie funding to student achievement.

Now, eight months later, Snyder has updated his list of education reform proposals to reflect legislative changes. He’s also added some new initiatives which give us a glimpse into this year’s political agenda. His emphasis is still on alternative forms of education—especially cyber schools—which dismantle public education and sell it off to private companies.

No education funding cuts next year?

Given the legislative attacks of the past year, it's hard not to be skeptical when we get news that Gov. Snyder says that his next budget won't include funding cuts to public schools and universities. He wants to roll out his budget proposal sometime in Feb.

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