Posted on 09/29/14 at 3:44pm

OK2Say, the new student safety reporting system, was rolled out this month across the state. The new program will give students and adults a confidential way to report threats of violence in schools.  

Posted on 09/29/14 at 3:42pm

Interest in a reading comprehension system developed by a Flushing parent has drawn the interest of the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). The Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction (EBLI) was created more than 10 years ago by Nora Chahbazi to help her daughter struggling with reading comprehension in second grade.

Posted on 09/25/14 at 1:49pm

Thanks to NEA members in Flint, at MSU, and in Livonia, Plymouth, and Wayne-Westland, NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia left Michigan on Sept. 24 with a pretty good idea of the successes, the challenges, and the future of education in the state. Lilly made Michigan one of her last stops on her three-week Back-to School Tour which has given her a chance to connect with members across the country.

Posted on 09/15/14 at 3:11pm

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.

Posted on 09/22/14 at 3:13pm

Schools across the country, including Michigan, are falling victim to a scam by a Las Vegas company sending phony invoices to schools for workbooks they never ordered. The company is called Scholastic School Supply, similar to Scholastic, Inc., which is a well-known publisher for educational books, magazines and other materials. Michigan is one of 22 states that have received the phony invoices.

Nominate your elementary, middle school principal for leadership award

If you consider the leadership of your elementary or middle school principal to be outstanding, then consider nominating your principal for the 2014 MEMSPA Outstanding Practicing Principal award.

Revised Student Conduct Code offers alternatives to suspensions and expulsions for less serious offenses

The State Board of Education (SBE) has unanimously approved the Model Code of Student Conduct 2014. (It's at the Michigan Department of Education website. SBE held several hearings before deciding on a revised Code that would ensure students were educated in a "safe and supportive environment that fosters academic success and healthy development." The current Student Conduct Code dates back to July 2001.

Some charter school authorizers at risk of suspension

Fallout is still being felt two months after the release of the Detroit Free Press' report on the state's charter schools. The investigative report uncovered a general lack of accountability and transparency in how charter schools spend the more than $1 billion in state taxpayer money they receive.

One third of Priority Schools no longer ranked in the bottom 5 percent

The 2014 School Accountability Scorecard released last week by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) provided good news for the 34 percent of 2013 Priority Schools which were removed from that list of lowest-performing schools. According to the Scorecard, more than 1,000 schools met targets in all areas, such as proficiency, participation, attendance, and graduation rates. 

There are 60 new Priority Schools which by law are placed under the authority of the State School Reform Office. The schools will be required to create and implement an intervention model to improve student achievement. The federally defined intervention models include transformation, turnaround, restart and school closure.

The color-coded Scorecard gives schools, districts, parents and the public a way to identify strengths and weaknesses of a school's performance. Colors are determined by points accumulated for goals met or by demonstrating improvement. Green is the highest level, indicating that most goals were met. The next level is lime, followed by yellow and orange. Red is the lowest level, indicating that few goals were met.

MEA Matters!

It is important to be an MEA member. Our communities need an organization that will challenge school budget cuts, stand up for students, and inform the public on the status of bills in the legislature.

The E-Newsletters, MEA Voice Magazine, and other communications keep members alert! We continue to challenge educational issues such as charter school accountability, '”toxic testing”, and teacher retention.

Mackinac Center is Not Your Friend!!

By now, many of you have may have received an email from an individual named Peter Boyd, who is affiliated with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The email provides information about how you can drop your membership in the union. This email went out to school employees statewide. I have talked with other local presidents whose members received the same email.

Let me remind you of who the Mackinac Center really is.

Schools get money to try out a year-round calendar

Seven schools will benefit from a $2 million pilot program established in the new state education budget that helps them switch to an alternative school calendar. The State Board of Education is expected to approve five schools and two more schools will receive money through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to offset costs. All seven schools are moving to a year-round calendar.

New book on teacher preparation features the Michigan approach

Schools across the state will be starting a new school year in less than a month, but there’s been no further legislative action on the adoption of a statewide teacher and administrator evaluation system. And the MEAP will still be used this school year since no new statewide student assessment has been chosen that will measure student growth—a measurement that will impact teacher and administrator evaluations.

Having problems with Common Core?

While MEA members support the concept of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), many are finding it difficult to effectively implement it in their classrooms because of a lack of training or adequate resources. If you’re an MEA/NEA member, there is help.

Higher Education Conference

October 24, 2014

MEA Headquarters, East Lansing

Download the conference announcement.

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