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 06/29/15 at 12:27pm

Michigan delegates to NEA's Representative Assembly will join more than 7,000 educators on their way to Orlando to help set education policy and talk about what's best for students. The annual meeting starts July 3 and runs through July 6.

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:38pm

SaveOnEnergy.com is looking for the best lesson plans for teaching students about energy. By submitting your plan, you have a chance to win a $500 Teacher Grant for your classroom. Save On Energy.com will be awarding six $500 grants in the form of Visa Reward Cards to be used toward classroom materials and activities. SaveOnEnergy.com is a resource for consumers on all aspects of energy and sustainability.

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:25pm

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is holding meetings around the state with parents of special education students to gather input on their experiences with the state’s special education system. To reach even more parents, Calley also launched an online survey which will be available through August. 

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:31pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that teachers and educators should not be put in law enforcement roles when they carry out their duty of reporting suspected child abuse or neglect. The National Education Association (NEA) filed an amicus brief in the case, Ohio v. Clark, stating that “educators’ valuable role as mandatory reporters and caregivers should not be compromised.”

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.

Statement from MEA President Cook on Feb. 28 election results

The following can be attributed to MEA President Steve Cook on tonight’s election results:

Election results show voter discontent

Beyond the close numbers, yesterday’s election results said volumes about member commitment and voter discontent. It may have been a Republican presidential primary, but it didn’t stop voters—angry with what’s going on in Lansing—from making their voices heard at the ballot box.

Protect your job, your voice, your future

Here's something every MEA member knows all too well when it comes to protecting our jobs, our wages and our benefits--collective bargaining works. It gives every one of our members a voice and the ability to come together to negotiate a fair contract.

But Lansing politicians don’t know or care about this. They have introduced more than 100 anti-worker bills over the past year. And none of them have put Michigan back to work.

It's time to take action!

Visit www.ProtectOurJobs.com to sign our online petition and help take on the politicians and corporate special interests who continue to assault collective bargaining rights.

Remember--together we can protect our work, our voice and our future.

Speak out now for equity for all students

Members of the U.S. House Committee on Education debated amendments to two new ESEA reauthorization bills today—the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990).

Employees, students affected by Highland Park bailout

Gov. Snyder signed HB 4455 last week that allocates an additional $4 million to get Highland Park Schools’ students through the rest of the school year. However, the money does not go directly to the troubled school district. Rather, each student will receive $4,000 to either remain in Highland Park or go to another school district – a huge disruption midway through their academic year.

Will research or emotional appeals sway votes for SB 619?

SB 619allowing for the expansion of cyber schools—could see action this week on the House floor. While MEA leaders, members and staff have continued to send the message to their legislators that there is no reliable research or data to support such a move, SB 619 supporters are trying to use emotions to sway legislators.

The Michigan chapter of the National Coalition for Public School Options (NCPSO) has stepped into the fight by posting heartfelt letters on its website targeting legislators and urging them to vote “yes” on SB 619.

Written by parents, the form letters tell how cyber schools are helping their gifted students excel, their failing students catch up, and providing their students with health and developmental issues an alternative to traditional public schools.

NCPSO makes the claim that nearly 10,000 Michigan students are being denied the opportunity to attend a cyber school. Individual letters exploit student stories to make the case that cyber schools are the only way to get customized, personal access to a certified teacher; provide safety from bullying; and allow a student the flexibility to speed ahead or slow down their lessons.

Romulus Middle School featured in Huffington Post

It’s been our message all along—to ensure student success and to turn around struggling schools, the education community has to work together. And right here in Michigan, Romulus Middle Schools is proof of that.

Performance bonus criteria raises concerns

This week, the House Appropriations School Aid Subcommittee outlined how schools would qualify for Gov. Snyder’s funding bonuses and then got an earful from traditional and charter school representatives concerned that they might miss out on the extra money.

Senate bans graduate assistants from unionizing

The Senate acted quickly on Wednesday to make sure graduate student research assistants wouldn’t have a say in whether they could unionize or not. SB 971 was introduced last week, passed on a party-line vote by the Government Operations Committee on Tuesday and passed on the Senate floor on a 26-12 party line vote on Wednesday.

Commentary: The two Romneys are a study in contrasts

MEA submitted the following opinion piece to the Detroit News for President Cook’s monthly column.  The News, without MEA’s permission, edited out the paragraphs in bold.  MEA believes it is in the public interest to present the full, unedited piece. 

With the upcoming primary on Tuesday, Michigan has become the focus of Republican presidential politics – especially for Gov. Mitt Romney, for whom a win in his home state is at stake.

For those of us who know our Michigan history, it’s interesting to view this campaign through the lens of another Gov. Romney: Mitt’s father, George. 

In 1965, Michigan Gov. George Romney signed into law the Public Employee Relations Act.  This legislation gave public sector employees (teachers, school support staff, police officers, firefighters and other public workers) the right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. 

In 1967, Gov. Romney signed the Michigan Income Tax Act, creating a flat rate income tax that helped drive greater investment in our state and its infrastructure.

Prior to becoming governor, George Romney was the CEO of American Motors, helping to build Michigan’s modern auto industry.  He was also a prominent advocate for investing in and improving public schools in our state – so much so that the Michigan Education Association awarded Romney our “Distinguished Service Award” in 1960 for contributions to the cause of public education.

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