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. 

Certification

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Frequently Asked Questions regarding Professional Development and Teacher Certification.

Since the final approval of the Administrative Rules Governing Michigan Teacher Certification on May 18, 2012, the Michigan Department of Education has put in place new procedures regarding Teaching Certificates.  Teachers may now progress to the Professional Certificate or renew the Professional Certificate with District Provided Professional Development (DPPD).

Human Rights and Excellence Awards

The Human Rights and Excellence Awards are presented at the MEA Human Rights and Excellence Awards Banquet in conjunction with the Spring RA.

Deadline is February 15, 2015.

2015 Human Rights and Excellence Awards Nomination Form

Register now for the 2015 NEA National Leadership Summit

Don’t miss the chance to connect with other education leaders from across the country at the second annual NEA National Leadership Summit, Feb. 27 through March 1, 2015 in Anaheim, CA. It’s an opportunity to learn more about and engage in discussions on critical issues like professional empowerment, teacher engagement, and student-centered techniques for academic improvement.

President Steven Cook in the Detroit News: Be, see the good in the world

“Believe there is good in the world.”

That is the motto of Yale Education Association as teachers in this small district in St. Clair County seek to fulfill Gandhi’s dream and “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Their goal: raise $50,000 to build a home for a family in need in their community. Yale teachers have recruited students and community members in their mission and are partnering with the Blue Water Habitat for Humanity to achieve their goal.

The Heartlands Institute of Technology is a career tech center run by the Ionia Intermediate School District.

Students not only get hands-on experience in a number of fields, but are able to give back to the community as well; in the Dental Occupations program they use that experience to help provide free dental care to patients who lack insurance. Teachers set up the program, recruit dentists to provide free services and teach students the necessary skills to assist with the procedures.

These are just a few examples of school employees across the state going above and beyond to improve the learning experiences of their students, the communities they live and work in and, along the way, teach lessons that can’t be taught with a textbook or a computer. These efforts won’t show up on student standardized test scores or teacher evaluation forms, but they are essential lessons nonetheless.

Click here to read the entire article

Michigan faced some of the same issues as in NEA’s biggest education story choices

NEA has selected “The 5 Biggest Education Stories of 2014”, reflecting education issues impacting members across the country—including Michigan. The stories deal with standardized testing, the student debt crisis, the assault on teacher due process, zero tolerance discipline policies and Common Core.
 

Supreme Court dismisses school districts’ suit claiming state underfunding

Last month, the Michigan Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit alleging that school districts were underfunded for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. More than 450 local school districts brought the suit.

Using the Headlee Amendment, the districts claimed that the state of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Education, state budget director, state treasurer and state superintendent of public instruction didn’t provide enough compensation to school districts for the new and increased costs of reporting information to the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI). Under the Headlee Amendment, the Michigan Constitution prohibits the state from requiring new or expanded activities by local governments and school districts without full state funding.

The Supreme Court dismissed the cases on the grounds that the districts didn’t attempt to prove a specific amount of underfunding. The Court’s ruling agreed with the decision of a special master appointed by the Michigan Court of Appeals to review the case before it went to the Supreme Court.

In its opinion, the Court said, “A plaintiff claiming that the Legislature’s appropriation failed to fully fund the cost of a new or increased service or activity must allege and prove the specific amount of the shortfall. Plaintiffs failed to offer any proofs that could entitle them to relief.”

No action taken on charter authorizers on at-risk list

The 11 charter school authorizers named at-risk by State Superintendent Mike Flanagan have avoided suspension and still remain at-risk. In August, Flanagan required those authorizers to provide sufficient transparency and oversight of their operations or face suspension in October.
 

BOE Report calls for making school funding a budget priority

The state Board of Education (BOE) has adopted its"Recommendations for Change to Michigan School Organization and Finance" calling for the state to make education funding a budget priority. Since January 2014, the BOE has been analyzing the issue of school funding and holding meetings to make its final recommendations.
 

More schools added to list of schools facing financial deficit

The number of public schools and charters that are facing a financial deficit has risen to 55-up from 48 schools last year. On that list are schools that started the 2013-14 school year solvent, but after facing money problems during the year, are now part of the new list of deficit schools. The Education Achievement Authority is one of those schools newly added.

Anti-bullying law expanded to include cyberbullying

A cyberbullying bill that would require school districts and academies to change their existing anti-bullying policies to include electronic or online bullying passed during the lame duck session. SB 74 describes cyberbullying as "any electronic communication that is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm one or more pupils either directly or indirectly."

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