Posted on 07/28/14 at 5:45pm

According to the latest KIDS COUNT Data Book published by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, Michigan ranks 32nd when it comes to a child's overall well-being compared to other states. Michigan dropped one slot in ranking from last year, making it the worst-performing state in the Great Lakes region. 

Posted on 07/28/14 at 5:46pm

Michigan isn't the only state looking to establish stricter guidelines for charter school authorizers. A policy brief by the Education Commission of the States (ECS), reports that while 42 states have charter school legislation, only  33 states have authorizing bodies that are responsible for approving and overseeing charters schools. But only 15 of those states have set standards for authorizers.

Posted on 07/28/14 at 5:47pm

More families will be able to qualify for free and reduced-priced meals with the new household income guidelines established by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). The guidelines will determine eligibility for the 2014-15 school year and will be effective through June 30, 2015.

Posted on 07/21/14 at 11:40pm

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is advising teachers not to change their lesson plans, despite the fact that the MEAP, instead of Smarter Balanced assessments, is being used next spring. The Legislature made that choice when they passed a state budget that requires the MEAP. MDE previously recommended Smarter Balanced.

Posted on 07/21/14 at 11:51pm

The Great Lakes Center annually releases a recommended "summer reading list" for educators. The list evaluates the so-called education reform movement and whether or not those reforms really work.

Posted on 07/15/14 at 11:23am

The Sunday, July 13 edition of the Lansing State Journal covered the issue of teacher evaluations in its "A Greater Lansing Outlook" section. Included is a column by MEA President Steve Cook, "Teachers support bills for fair evaluations," highlighting MEA's involvement in writing HB 5223 and HB 5224. 

Anti-teacher freeloaders

Full disclosure time. I am a proud teacher and a very proud union member. I realize that that’s a double whammy for a lot of you out there. Teachers have been demonized. Unions have been demonized. Sadly, a lot of folks have bought into that process — probably without thinking much about it. To be sure, public school teachers and union members pose a threat to the political agenda of some very rich and powerful people. As such, my profession is subjected to constant attacks by those for whom a good public education is problematic.

Superintendents: effectiveness, student engagement important in evaluation of teachers

Education Week commissioned Gallup to survey K-12 school district superintendents to help track and understand their opinions on important topics and issues facing education like teacher evaluations. 

Michigan ranks 4th nationally in instances of school crime

School crime has increased since 2010 according to a report by the U.S. Department of Education. "Indicators of School Crime," a report by the National Center for Education Statistics, showed that in 2012, even though the crime rate has increased over the past couple of years, it is still down from its highest rate of 81 victims of crimes per 1,000 students in 1992.

NEA launches campaign to end 'toxic testing'

NEA RA delegates voted to begin a campaign ending the "test blame and punish" system that has dominated public education for the past 10 years. The resolution to end "toxic testing" is meant to put the focus of assessments and accountability back on student learning instead of on continuous standardized testing.

We are the MEA!

I have been an MEA member since the Fall of 1998 when I was hired at Rochester High School to teach English and History. At the time, I didn't know much about what being in a union meant, except that the union reps were welcoming and some of most helpful people on the staff. One of them encouraged me to become a rep, also, so I did. Even as a probationary teacher, I felt confident in taking on this role and had a wonderful mentor on that path. I transferred to Stoney Creek High School in the Fall of 2002, and have continued in my role ever since.

Don't miss out on July 11 early registration for Summer Leadership

There's not much time left to take advantage of the reduced registration fee for MEA's 2014 Summer Leadership Conference, "When Leaders Lead, Members Thrive." If you register by July 11, informative and hands-on sessions, networking opportunities, and the chance to earn SCECHs are yours for a bargain price!

DonorsChoose.org funds classroom projects when limited budgets can’t

Do you need more supplies or technology for your classroom? Do you have a project in mind for your students, but you don’t have the funding to do it because school budgets are so tight?

Calling all MEA members—We need bloggers!

We’re starting an MEA blog and we want to hear from you! Why is being an MEA member important to you? How have you benefitted from belonging to MEA? How important is the MEA to the work you do? How has being a part of the MEA impacted education in your district? This is your chance to let your voice be heard!

Education funding, curriculum changes get Governor’s signature

Gov. Snyder has signed the new 2014-15 education budget into law which provides $15.8 billion to all levels of education in Michigan. 

President Steven Cook in the Detroit News: Michigan Schools are hurting

After years of crippling budget cuts to public education, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder agreed to a small funding increase in the 2014-15 education budget. This increase, timed to coincide with the governor’s re-election campaign, seems more politically motivated than an act of generosity.

But a long record of deep cuts to public schools will not be erased with a miniscule election-year funding increase.

The foundation allowance increase varies by district from a low of 29 cents a day per student to about a dollar a day at the top end. This is hardly a windfall and doesn’t even keep pace with inflation.

Today, we have 50 school districts in deficit spending and facing financial collapse. A funding increase of a mere 29 cents a day will not change that. And it certainly won’t alleviate the financial strain on all school districts across the state — districts still coping with the $1 billion cut in funding Gov. Rick Snyder handed them in his first year in office.

Read entire article.

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