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.

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.

Michigan loses out on RTTT grant again

For the third time, Michigan has missed out on federal Race to the Top funding—this time for early childhood development programs.

No retirement contribution refund for public school employees

As of right now, public school employees will not be getting a refund of their 3 percent retirement contribution that state employees are getting. We are still awaiting a decision on our issue from the Michigan Court of Appeals who heard oral arguments on Oct. 19.

Legislature goes home for the holidays

Legislature goes home for the holidays

After lifting the cap on charter schools, the Legislature finished its business for the year today without doing any more harm to public education, students and public education employees and their unions.

The Senate did not take up HB 4929, legislation to end payroll deduction for union dues, or any of the litany of other anti-union bills under consideration.  And the House took no action on SB 619 (unlimited expansion of cyber schools).  But rest assured the debate over further attacks on public education, unions and the middle class will restart in the New Year.

The Legislature will be back in session January 11, 2012. For now, there is peace in Michigan.

SB 618 on its way to Gov. for signature

SB 618—the bill to lift the cap on charter schools—is on its way to Gov. Snyder for signature and it is no gift for public education or the students of Michigan.  The bill, with changes, passed the House last night on a 58-49 vote, and today with the Senate’s concurrence, the bill heads to the Governor who is expected to sign the bill into law.

Call your state rep NOW to oppose SB 618

The pressure is building in the state House to pass SB 618, the bill allowing for unlimited expansion of charter schools.  There are still several Republican representatives who are opposed to the bill's provisions that remove the cap on charters without increasing accountability measures.  But they are under intense pressure to vote in favor of SB 618.

Call your state representative right away -- contact information can be found at http://bit.ly/sBEt9 . Urge them to vote no on SB 618.  Tell them that unchecked expansion of charter schools will hurt your district and your students, siphoning even more resources away from our neighborhood schools.

Take action now!

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