Posted on 10/20/14 at 2:59pm

The Michigan Public Schools Partnership (MPSP) has launched InspirED, a newsletter featuring the innovative and inspiring stories happening every day for Michigan's 1.5 million public school students. 

Posted on 10/20/14 at 2:57pm

Michigan is one of 16 states that will probably be looking for flexibility from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards that call for using student test scores in teacher evaluations. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is offering to give states that already have an NCLB waiver even longer to create new assessments. Currently, the state still doesn't have an assessment that measures student growth.

Posted on 10/20/14 at 2:56pm

According to a report released last month by the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), nearly 1.26 million homeless students in primary and secondary grades across the country were enrolled in the 2012-13 school year. 

Posted on 10/14/14 at 9:53am

MEA members can now access MEA information and news via a new mobile app for iPhones and Android devices. You can link to the app or go into the iPhone "App Store" or Android's "Google Play" and search for "Michigan Education Association."

Posted on 10/14/14 at 9:04am

Amanda Erspamer-Berry, an MEA member and teacher in Marquette's Alternative High School, is one of 15 finalists for a $100,000 grant in Farmers Insurance "Dream Big Teacher Challenge." The grant is challenging educators from across the country to submit innovative proposals that would help students. Winners will be chosen based on the number of votes they receive. Your vote can help make Amanda's vision become a reality for her students.

Posted on 10/14/14 at 9:08am

NEA President Lily Eskelsen has finished her Back-to-School Tour and talks about "What I Saw, Who I Met and What You Should Know About My Back to School Tour" in her blog at LilysBlackboard.org.  She talks about her visit to Northwestern High School in Flint where students and staff worked hard to move the school off Michigan's Priority Schools list. Read what she learned from members across the country.

State granted NCLB waiver extension for new school year

Michigan won a renewal of its waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for the 2014-15 school year. Without the waiver, schools would have to follow NCLB standards that require 100 percent of students proficient in math and language arts.

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.

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