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.

New budget proposal no real investment in education

Gov. Snyder presented his 2013 budget today, but while schools will see more money--there are strings attached. And it still isn't enough of a boost to make up for the $1 billion cut schools saw last year.

In a news release today, MEA President Steve Cook said, "Putting a fraction of that $1 billion back into schools doesn't fix the problems that such a massive cut caused last year--it only continues to enrich the corporate special interests who benefitted from the $1.8 billion tax cut that the education cuts enabled."

Statement from MEA President on Snyder budget proposal

The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook in response to today’s education budget proposals from Gov. Rick Snyder: 

Governor wants to give more money to schools

When Gov. Snyder presents his budget proposal to the Legislature tomorrow, schools are expected to see a 2.8 to 3 percent increase in state funding—still not enough to make up for a $1 billion cut to schools last year so corporate special interests could enjoy a $1.8 billion tax cut.

Cyber school bill moves to House floor

This morning, the House Education Committee reported out SB 619-623 and 709-710 with amendments that differ from the original Senate-approved bills.

House committee passes more anti-union bills--Call your state representative!

On a party line vote, the House Oversight, Reform and Ethics Committee passed on Tuesday House Bills 5023-5026, a package of anti-union bills meant to curtail the powers of labor unions:

  • HB 5023--fines striking public employees one day's pay and their union $5,000 for each day of the strike, expanding the penalties beyond the current rules that only apply to public school employees.

  • HB 5024--sets fines and restrictions on members and their unions for mass picketing.

  • HB 5025--requires an employee's annual written authorization to have their union dues deducted from their paycheck by employers.

  • HB 5026--eliminates the prohibition against employers advertising for strike breakers.

Scores of districts request teacher evaluation waiver

More than 344 public and charter school districts across the state are already asking the Governor's Council on Education Effectiveness for exemptions from adopting a uniform teacher evaluation system by 2013. The deadline for filing was Nov. 1.

The Council is charged with making recommendations for a new state evaluation system that includes a student growth component. Now they'll also be deciding which school districts will be granted a waiver.

'Stoplight' would rate schools under waiver request

Next month, the Department of Education (MDE) will submit a waiver request that proposes changes to how adequate yearly progress (AYP) is measured in Michigan.

New data lets districts link student performance to teacher

Through the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), school districts now have access to data that links students, their courses and the teacher of that course through the Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL). Currently, the data only reflects spring 2011 high school tests.

Nominations due for Human Rights and Excellence Awards

It's time to recognize outstanding achievement through the 2012 Human Rights and Excellence Awards. The awards honor outstanding programs, performance and service MEA members provide in meeting student needs.

Indiana likely to become a right-to-work state

Valiant efforts by Indiana House Democrats couldn’t stop their Republican majority from getting their way with anti-union, economy-killing, right-to-work legislation. 

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