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. 

Michigan finally has anti-bullying legislation

The Senate wasted no time in passing HB 4163, anti-bullying legislation that does not contain any exemptions for religious or moral grounds.

The Senate made it clear before their break that passage of the House’s version would be taken up immediately upon their return. SB 137 caused controversy nationwide because it allowed bullying in certain instances.

Democrats offered amendments to address cyber-bullying, to provide a list of groups included under the bill and to require reporting of bullying instances to the Department of Education. All amendments failed on party-line vote.

The bill now goes to Gov. Snyder for his signature. 

Emails expose Mackinac Center’s true purpose

State representative gets lobbying email from Center’s legislative analyst, who wants “no more MEA”

Governor wants performance funding for universities

Gov. Snyder is warning that some of the state aid for Michigan’s 15 public universities could be based on graduation rates or the number of specialized degrees the university awards.

Supreme Court finds only some parts of pension tax unconstitutional

The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature could apply the state’s personal income tax to senior’s pension income. However, the court also ruled that basing exemptions on an individual’s wealth is unconstitutional since it could be considered a graduated tax, which is banned under the state constitution.

Keep an eye on education bills and keep in contact with legislators

The Legislature has only nine work days left in 2011 after it returns from break Nov. 29 to get key issues to the Governor for signature.

When it comes to education, the list of issues left to tackle include the collection of school employee union dues, so-called "education reform," and bullying.

While denying it is payback for the recall of Paul Scott, the Republican-led Legislature has SB 636 and HB 4588 on their agenda. Both bills prohibit public employers from collecting union dues via payroll deduction. MEA opposes the legislation. Contact your legislators and let them know that there must be an end to such partisan politics--especially when it doesn’t help kids or education and doesn’t create any new jobs.

State drops out – so MEA members step up for students, employees in Benton Harbor

Truckload of supplies, thousands in donations delivered to address supply shortages caused by $1 billion in education budget cuts

How would you solve the dropout problem?

Detroit Public Television (DPTV) is hosting a televised "Teacher Town Hall" on Friday, Nov. 18 to discuss the high school dropout crisis in American and they need your input.

Districts receiving "best practices" payments

Because they met four out of five of Gov. Snyder's "best practices," 177 school districts across the state were approved for an additional $100 per student in state aid designated as "incentive funds." Those districts began receiving installment payments on Oct. 20.

Help close the supply gap for Benton Harbor students

You have until Nov. 16 to help out Benton Harbor students with needed supplies. Legislative cuts to education have left them without basic classroom supplies. Since lawmakers won't help--MEA members are stepping up to close the supply gap.

After the victories--what's next?

MEA President Steve Cook weighed in on election victories last week.. So it’s no surprise that the opposition has an opinion on Rep. Paul Scott’s recall and the defeat of Ohio’s collective bargaining law.

Gov. Snyder led the Republican Party message on the recall saying that his administration will “forge ahead with our efforts,” and “This was not about Rick Snyder or the Republican agenda.”

When it came to the Ohio vote, he said, “The country needs a mellower, less confrontational approach to fiscal problems on the state and federal level.” He went on to claim that his new Republican administration has been able to avoid the rancor rocking other Republican governors “by steering clear of challenges to collective bargaining agreements with state employees. “I counseled dialogue and negotiations with union leaders,” he said.

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