Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:26pm

This Wednesday, Brian Whiston takes over as the new State Superintendent. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, he talks about standardized testing, school funding, charter and cyber schools, deficit schools and teacher evaluations.

Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:27pm

Michigan delegates to NEA's Representative Assembly will join more than 7,000 educators on their way to Orlando to help set education policy and talk about what's best for students. The annual meeting starts July 3 and runs through July 6.

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:38pm

SaveOnEnergy.com is looking for the best lesson plans for teaching students about energy. By submitting your plan, you have a chance to win a $500 Teacher Grant for your classroom. Save On Energy.com will be awarding six $500 grants in the form of Visa Reward Cards to be used toward classroom materials and activities. SaveOnEnergy.com is a resource for consumers on all aspects of energy and sustainability.

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:25pm

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is holding meetings around the state with parents of special education students to gather input on their experiences with the state’s special education system. To reach even more parents, Calley also launched an online survey which will be available through August. 

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:31pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that teachers and educators should not be put in law enforcement roles when they carry out their duty of reporting suspected child abuse or neglect. The National Education Association (NEA) filed an amicus brief in the case, Ohio v. Clark, stating that “educators’ valuable role as mandatory reporters and caregivers should not be compromised.”

Posted on 06/30/15 at 9:19am

With the passage of Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act in 1965, teachers finally went from begging to bargaining. Thanks to PERA, all public school employees have the right to negotiate for fair wages, quality health care benefits and decent working conditions.

Thank you for all you do! Celebrate Teacher Day/School Family Day on May 5

Tuesday, May 5, is Teacher Day/School Family Day when schools and communities pay tribute to the lasting contributions all school employees make to public education. It’s part of a week-long celebration honoring educators.

Join the rally to save Waterford support staff from privatization

Waterford child care workers, custodians, bus drivers, bus driver aides and maintenance employees are being threatened with privatization. You can show support for them at a rally and school board meeting on Thursday, May 7.

Former chair of teacher evaluation workgroup says, ‘We will pay for our lack of respect for teachers.’

Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan. A former math teacher, she is a nationally recognized expert on teacher education and was chair of the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness (MCEE) charged with creating a statewide teacher evaluation system.

Human Rights and Excellence Awards

Six MEA members received Human Rights and Excellence Awards at MEA’s Human Rights Banquet over the weekend. MEA also recognized Saginaw pastor and activist, Dr. Hurley J. Coleman, Jr. for his work in the field of human and civil rights with the David McMahon Human Rights Award.

MEA urges postponement in using M-STEP results because of testing problems

EAST LANSING, Mich., April 21, 2015 — In an open letter to Gov. Snyder and state education stakeholders, MEA President Steve Cook is asking that data from the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) not be used this year in teacher evaluations, district rankings, or for any other purposes. The letter details numerous problems associated with the test, which is now in its second week of implementation in school districts across the state.

Cook said, “After just five days, we’re hearing loud and clear from our members just some of the many problems associated with M-STEP. It’s impossible to believe that this test could be an accurate measure of student growth. We can’t use unreliable data to judge teachers and school districts.”

The letter points out that M-STEP is taking huge amounts of time away from classroom instruction and curriculum. In some cases, a whole school day is absorbed with testing, when only a few hours were scheduled. Teachers reported that students are not finishing the test and were “locked out” of completing the test later.

Since M-STEP is an online test, computers and computer labs are unavailable to other students and classes to do their work. In many schools, computer labs are in school libraries which are now off limits during the testing period.

In too many cases, a school district’s infrastructure isn’t able to provide the technology needed for administration of M-STEP. A middle school test coordinator spent the first days of the testing window working with computers locking up or crashing; insufficient server capacity, equipment failures, and software issues. “It seemed M-STEP became an assessment of a student’s ability to manipulate the technology, and less a test of what a student learned.”

Students can decide how Michigan historical events should have turned out

Make history come alive for your high school students by giving them the chance to collaborate on determining the best course of action for a governor during an actual historical event. "The Governor's Decision Room," presented through the Michigan Historical Center, can help you do that.

Join MDE's project to create enthusiasm for learning among your students

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has introduced a new program aimed at encouraging students in grades four to eight to get more engaged in their classrooms. The Student Inspiration Project developed from the results of a September 2014 MDE survey of students in grades four through eight which showed that while 94 percent of students said motivation is essential to a great education, only 24 percent said they felt motivated to learn.

Detroit school coalition calls for overhaul of Detroit schools

After three months, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren issued its report for Gov. Snyder. The group was charged with coming up with ideas and recommendations to reform education in Detroit.

David Hecker, president of the American Federation of Teachers in Michigan (AFT-Michigan) and one of five Coalition co-chairs, said, "We have a system that isn't working. The fact is all urban districts are performing much better than Detroit. All we're asking for is a level playing field."

The Coalition wants the state to assume $53 million a year of Detroit Public Schools' (DPS) $450 million debt since it occurred while the state was in charge of the district. For many years, DPS has been under the control of several emergency managers to deal with its financial problems and in 2011, came under the control of the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) to improve its academic standing.

In keeping with that idea, the Coalition recommended the control of DPS be returned to an elected school board and the agreement with EAA be ended.

Bill Tracker

 

Bill Tracker - (PDF)

 

MDE says no parent opt outs for standardized testing

According to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), there is no provision in state or federal law that allows parents to opt their children out of assessments, like the M-STEP currently being administered in schools, without it counting against their school and district’s participation rates. MDE offered its official position last week in a memo to ISD Superintendents, Local Agency Superintendents, and Public School Academy Directors.

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