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.

Snyder signs ban on unionization of grad research assistants

Questionable legislative tactics moved HB 4246 through the Legislature and made the bill law today with Gov. Snyder's signature. The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) was set to meet today to deal with the University of Michigan graduate research assistants' petition to unionize.

Cost of college education paid for with Democrat's proposed plan

Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that will pay for a Michigan high school graduates' college education. The ultimate goal of the "Michigan 2020 Plan" is to increase the number of college graduates needed to bring job-providers to the state.

Poll shows Americans believe in collective bargaining

In what is encouraging news for the Protect Our Jobs campaign, a Bloomberg News national poll shows 64 percent of Americans believe that public sector workers should have the right to collectively bargain. That number includes 55 percent of Republicans. In that same poll, 63 percent believe that states should not be able to break pension agreements they've made.  The poll of 1,001 adults was conducted March 4-7.

The poll comes after a number of Republican governors used budget problems to justify removing collective bargaining rights. Most poll respondents believed that those budget deficits were a result of years of tax cuts--not the actions of public employees.

As a result of that opinion, Bloomberg’s poll shows that 72 percent have a favorable view of public employees and see corporations wielding more political power than unions.

‘Protect Our Jobs’ campaign protects collective bargaining, middle class

MEA members Karen Kuciel and Jeff Bean were part of the Protect Our Jobs campaign launch at the Capitol.

Today, MEA members Jeff Bean and Karen Kuciel joined with other workers to mark the launch of the Protect Our Jobs campaign, with the goal of amending Michigan’s constitution to protect collective bargaining rights and strengthen the middle class.

'Bowling to Teachers' eases tight classroom budgets

If you're looking for ways to supplement your out-of-pocket classroom expenses, "Bowling to Teachers" may be of some help. The program represents a partnership between the "Kids Bowl Free" summer program and more than 1,000 bowling centers across the country.

"Bowling to Teachers" will award 400 $250 grants to K-8 teachers through the end of May. Go to www.BowlingtoTeachers.com to download a grant application.

"Kids Bowl Free" is an annual summer program that provides kids with two free games of bowling every day.

When did you realize you were an inspiration?

The Education section of the Huffington Post is looking for videos from educators detailing the moment they knew they could inspire others--whether it’s teacher to student, mentor to mentee or friend to friend.

Tuition increases cost Michigan $4.2 million in federal money

Because of deep cuts to college and university funding, Michigan will lose $4.2 million in federal funding this year. Congress created the penalty in 2009 to keep college tuition down. Last year, American college and tuition fees increased 8 percent while 41 states cut higher education funding.

Power up for professional development

Free, high quality professional development is now available to all MEA members. By going to www.mea.org and clicking on "Members Only" and logging in, EA and ESP members can choose from a variety of courses grouped into four libraries designed especially for classroom teachers and ESP.

MEA members have free access to two of the four libraries. The courses are mini-modules which take two to four hours to complete. The courses are presented in a self-paced format and you can earn graduate credits or credit toward ESP certification.

SMEA Contact information

If you have questions regarding the SMEA program and what it has to offer, you may contact the following individuals:

 

Joyce Phelps

Staff Liaison
SMEA Program
1216 Kendale Blvd.
East Lansing, MI 48823

800-292-1934 ext. 6262

E-mail: jphelps@mea.org

If you are interested in establishing an SMEA chapter on your campus, you may contact:

 

Joyce Phelps

2011-2012 SMEA Meeting Schedule

February 11, 2012, 10:00 a.m., MEA HQ

March 23, 2012, 5:00 p.m., MEA HQ

March 24, 2012, SMEA Professional Development Conference, MEA HQ

April 28, 2012, 10:00 a.m., MEA HQ

May - TBD

*This is a tentative schedule only, if it conflicts with schools, sports and/or testing please let us know*

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