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. 

Use your NEAMB discount to order classroom items

One of the advantages of your MEA/NEA membership is being able to order classroom items from Smile Makers, an official partner of NEA Member Benefits (NEAMB).

Free Press editorial calls for putting children first with charter school reforms

On Sept. 21, the Detroit Free Press published an editorial, “Put our children first,” urging lawmakers to consider reforms on how charter schools are authorized, operated and managed. Legislation has just been introduced which calls for a moratorium on the creation of any new charter schools until those issues are addressed.

NEA President making Michigan a stop on her Back-to-School Tour

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia will be stopping in Flint, East Lansing, at MSU, and Plymouth. She is starting off her new term as president with visits to states to connect with members.

In Flint, Lily will be visiting Northwestern High School, once labeled a Priority School. Thanks to the efforts of the staff and students, and the partnerships with MEA, NEA and the school district, Northwestern no longer ranks in the bottom 5 percent when it comes to student achievement.  

At MSU, Lily will have the chance to meet with future educators to carry NEA’s message of “Degrees not Debt” that addresses the escalating cost of a college education. She will also meet with MEA members to discuss NEA’s role in fighting for more higher education funding.

Lily will finish her day with a meet-and-greet with Mark Schauer at the Plymouth MEA office. Members from Livonia, Plymouth and Wayne-Westland will hear from Lily and have the chance to learn more about Schauer, MEA’s recommended candidate for governor, and his plans for investing in public education.

You can follow Lily’s tour at “Lily’s blackboard”, on Twitter @lily NEA, or read her blog.

The Role of Standardized Testing

Teachers need tests to determine if students have learned what was expected of them and if it is the right time to move on to the next objective. 

The data gathered from tests identifies areas of difficulty, which can help teachers adjust instruction for subsequent cohorts of students. Tests show teachers which students are achieving and the instructional strategies that are effective. Results from standardized tests can help inform educational policy, school improvement, or instructional practice and develop an action plan.

Culture of Reading program offers free books to promote literacy

This year's Michigan Reads! Book of the Year, "Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band" is available for free to early childhood education and elementary school teachers through the Culture of Reading grant program. Students in selected early childhood through third grade will receive their own classroom copies.

 

Michigan Youth Arts offering grants for school art supplies and equipment

Grants of up to $2,500 for arts-related equipment or supplies to be used in schools are available through Michigan Youth Arts with assistance from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). "Art Equipment & Supplies Grant" applies to performing arts subjects like instrumental music, vocal music, theatre, dance, creative writing, media arts, special education and more.

SBE decides on job description for new superintendent of schools

State Board of Education (SBE) members are looking for someone with experience in education-perhaps a former local superintendent or teacher-to be the next state superintendent of instruction. Their search is expected to be completed by January 2015, well ahead of current Superintendent Mike Flanagan's retirement in July 2015.

Save the date!

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia is making Michigan a stop on her Back to School Tour! Location details are still being finalized, but put the date on your calendar.

As a public school teacher, I choose to be in my union

Teacher unions have received their share of accusations just like any other unionized workforce. There has been a push this year to get more teachers to opt out of union membership, which had to be done in August. In my experience, I have seen teacher unions do more to aid in the education of students than any politician. In a line, teacher unions give teachers a voice in the massive political wheel of education reform.

California teacher unions appeal tenure decision

The California's Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) have appealed the Los Angeles Superior Court's decision to strip state educators of their tenure rights. The action by the teacher unions follows a similar appeal by the State of California and California Gov. Jerry Brown

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