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.

School funding front and center in an election year

Spring has sprung.  Election season is underway. And, as usual, politicians are trying to shore up their record by allocating more money for public education.  However, after last year’s massive school budget cuts, voters won’t be tricked this year by politicians who are a day late and a dollar short.

Latest attack on retirement unveiled in Senate Bill 1040

The latest legislative assault on retirement was launched on Thursday in the form of Senate Bill 1040. The bill makes sweeping changes to limit the pension benefits received by employees while increasing the out-of-pocket costs for both active and retired members.

MEA members tell their stories at "WeRaisetheBar.org"

David Paul Rudzinzki, a sixth grade teacher at Utica Community Schools, says it's great when he sees "those light bulbs going off," and his students are finally understanding a new concept.

Governor signs dues deduction ban

Late last week before leaving for Europe, Gov. Snyder signed HB 4929, making it illegal for school districts to bargain with their employees' contract language allowing for payroll deduction of dues.

Walled Lake paraprofessional wins ESP Brunner Award

Denise Miller

Denise Miller, a paraprofessional and local union leader from Walled Lake, was named the 2012 recipient of the Leon A. Brunner Award. The award is given annually at MEA's Statewide Educational Support Professional Conference in recognition an ESP leader's significant contributions and commitment to ESP issues and concerns. 

During last year's recall petition drives, Miller worked tirelessly to collect signatures to hold lawmakers accountable for their decisions in Lansing. She gained notoriety after she filed suit against the Oakland County Parks for restricting her ability to circulate petitions at a local park, where the county had literally marked off a 12-by-12 foot square in which she was told she had to stand. In a huge victory for both the recall supporters and believers in our personal freedom to engage in political activity, Miller won the court case.

Miller is now looking forward to working hard in 2012 on the Protect Our Jobs campaign to protect collective bargaining rights in our state constitution.

Snyder wants elimination of some workplace safety rules to help businesses

If you haven't seen enough bills to provide reasons to get involved in the Protect Our Jobs campaign to preserve the right to collectively bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions, here is another.

House Education Committee votes on morality issue

In a heated discussion, the House Education Committee dealt another blow to universities' "local control" when it approved a bill and two resolutions that protect religious freedom for some.

Timing for MPSERS changes and budget may coincide

Look for legislation before spring break that would change retirement benefits for public school employees. An eight-member, all-Republican work group has been meeting for months looking to make reforms.

Petition rule changes move to Senate

A bill to change the rules on how petitions are circulated, HB 5063, passed the House on a 64-46 vote this week with an amendment that exempted current petition drives from mandatory Secretary of State approval. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Legislation affecting petition drives surfaces

Back in October 2011, a House bill was introduced that would affect the filing of petitions to initiate legislation or a constitutional amendment. That bill, HB 5063, could now have a dramatic impact on the Protect Our Jobs campaign to preserve collective bargaining rights and other ongoing petition drives.

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