Posted on 01/26/15 at 10:52am

​It’s not too early to start thinking about NEA’s 17th annual Read Across America Day celebration on March 2. This year’s theme honors the Dr. Seuss classic, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” And MEA is providing materials to help you showcase your efforts to promote reading.

Posted on 01/26/15 at 10:58am

With states across the country—including Michigan—debating whether to implement a system that ranks schools on letter grades, a report by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice shows that using an A-F letter-grade ranking is invalid and fails to provide important information about a school’s quality.

Posted on 01/28/15 at 10:26am

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. 

Posted on 01/20/15 at 12:10pm

MEA has secured special pricing for Detroit Pistons games that are not available to the general public. 

Posted on 01/20/15 at 12:12pm

The Library of Michigan (LM) released its 2015 Notable Book List which celebrates Michigan people, places and events.

Posted on 01/12/15 at 12:53pm

Only one in three people in Michigan has an associate’s degree or higher so President Obama’s proposal to provide free community college tuition for the first two years could take away the financial barrier that keeps many students from going to school beyond high school. The plan could save each student an average of $3,800 annually if a student takes advantage of the offer.

Video contest goes green

Consumers Energy is sponsoring a statewide student video contest that features how renewable energy can make a difference in the world. The winning school will receive a $5,000 prize for the most original video. Students can sign up through their high school administrator. Only one video per school is allowed and the deadline is November 15. Go to www.greenscenescontest.com for more information.

Senate Committee takes up HB 4059

This Wednesday, the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee will take up HB 4059 which would prohibit a school district from entering into a contract that pays union officials for time conducting union business. The bill was introduced by Rep. Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy). Supporters of the bill say that money should be going into the classroom and not into the pockets of union officials and union dues should fund union activities

Flanagan won't make teacher certification dependent on evaluations

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan is now backtracking on some aspects of the administrative rule changes for teacher certification issued last month.

Citing his position as final authority, Flanagan is now assuring teachers that the new rule stripping teachers of their certification if they did not receive three consecutive evaluation ratings of “highly effective” or “effective” will be removed.

Senate passes so-called education reform bills

Today, the Senate passed SB 619, 621-623, 709, and 710—all part of the so-called education reform package. The bills passed on party-line votes with SB 619 barely squeaking by.  The bills have been referred to the House Education Committee. Only SB 624—mandating schools of choice—is left after tie bars to the bill were broken.

Despite testimony and research showing cyber schools are not an effective alternative to traditional schools, SB 619 removes all limitations on cyber schools. Democrats offered five amendments—one to limit the amount of state aid a cyber school student would receive to 50 percent; another to require a cyber school website that included management and third-party vendor contracts; and another to make the student/teacher ratio be equivalent to that of public schools—but all of them failed. Sen. Hoon-Young Hopgood (D-Taylor) chastised the Senate for “putting on the blinders” about the effectiveness of cyber schools.

School employee relatives barred from school board

Citing a blatant conflict of interest, Sen. Joe Hune (R-Hamburg) last week introduced SB 773 which would prohibit the spouse, child, parent or sibling of school employees from serving on the district’s school board. 

No sound rationale for ban on union dues deduction

In a brief 15-minute meeting today, the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee heard testimony on HB 4929 by its sponsor, Rep. Joe Haveman (R-Holland). The bill would prohibit the payroll deduction of union dues from an employee's paycheck. SB 636, a similar bill sponsored by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) is also being considered by the Committee.

Will third time be the charm for RTT funds?

Michigan is making its third application to receive a Race to the Top (RTT) funds. So far, 35 states are vying for $500 million for education reform.

National Opportunity to Learn Campaign comes to Lansing Nov. 15

Mark your calendars for Tues., Nov. 15 when the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign (OTL) will be at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing to discuss the basic principles required to provide meaningful education to all of Michigan’s children. The program runs from 9 a.m. to noon. You can RSVP at www.middlecities.org .

Bargaining

Bargaining

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