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.

How will Indiana influence RTW in Michigan?

It would be in our best interest to monitor the "Right To Work For Less" (RTW) movement in neighboring Indiana since several Republican legislators have already said, "As Indiana goes, so goes Michigan." Indiana would be the 23rd state to impose RTW, which allows workers to benefit from negotiated contracts without paying their fair share.

In 1995, the Indiana Legislature passed a RTW law for teachers. The current proposal would expand to include all workers.  Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is leading the charge on the issue now with commercials. Hearings on the proposed bill are currently underway. On the first day of session, House Democrats protested the legislation by choosing not to attend sessions and denying a quorum for voting. Thousands are expected to protest at the Statehouse despite the imposition of new security regulations and capacity limits. In addition to other labor groups, the NFL Players Association has come out in opposition to the legislation--the Super Bowl will be played in Indianapolis on Feb. 5.

Two views of teacher compensation

As long as there are continued education funding cuts and tight budgets, teacher salaries will be scrutinized and debated. Two new studies add fuel to both sides of the issue.

Workgroup to review quality of charters and all public schools

Quality and accountability were key issues during the debate on SB 618 to lift the cap on charter schools. The only amendment to pass dealing with the issues created a bicameral, bipartisan workgroup focusing on “improving the educational quality in all public schools for all pupils.”

Appeals court rules therapists can’t be privatized

By a 2 to 1 majority, the Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) decision that occupational therapists and physical therapists are not subject to the privatization provisions of PA 112, which makes bargaining over the privatization of non-instructional employees a prohibited subject. Court of Appeals Judges William Murphy and Donald Owens offered the majority opinion with Judge Kathleen Jansen offering the dissenting opinion.

Right to Work may surface as Labor Freedom Act

Look for the Labor Freedom Act to surface in January if the Michigan Freedom to Work (MIFTW) group has any say. Their goal is to turn Michigan into a right-to-work state and they are encouraging Republicans to take up the legislation.

Changes to school retirement among legislative goals

Changing the retirement health benefits of school employees is one of the legislative goals House Republicans have set for this year.

More changes to public education in Snyder’s new proposals

Last year’s legislative onslaught of so-called education reform proposals shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In his April 2011 special message on education reform, Gov. Snyder gave marching orders to legislators to lift the charter school cap, overhaul teacher tenure, tie teacher evaluation to student performance, encourage unchecked growth of cyber schools and tie funding to student achievement.

Now, eight months later, Snyder has updated his list of education reform proposals to reflect legislative changes. He’s also added some new initiatives which give us a glimpse into this year’s political agenda. His emphasis is still on alternative forms of education—especially cyber schools—which dismantle public education and sell it off to private companies.

No education funding cuts next year?

Given the legislative attacks of the past year, it's hard not to be skeptical when we get news that Gov. Snyder says that his next budget won't include funding cuts to public schools and universities. He wants to roll out his budget proposal sometime in Feb.

Snyder signs SB 618 into law

On Tuesday, Gov. Snyder signed SB 618 into law lifting a 150-cap on university-sponsored charter schools.  The bill is now Public Act 277.

The original bill was modified so that the cap is gradually lifted until 2015 when there will be no limit. Next year, the limit is 300 new charter schools and grows to 500 in 2014.

MEA opposed the bill on the grounds that lifting the cap robs traditional public schools of needed resources. The bill also lacked strict accountability standards for newly-created charter schools.

51st S & R recommends Losey

The MEA Screening and Recommending Committee in the 51st District has chosen Steve Losey from Linden as its candidate to replace the recalled Rep. Paul Scott.

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