Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:58pm

You only have until July 14-next Tuesday-- to register for MEA's 2015 Summer Leadership Conference, "Power from the Past-A Force for the Future." The Conference is scheduled for July 28-30 at Lake Superior State College in Sault Ste. Marie.

Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:57pm

Public Sector Consultants, a non-partisan public policy research firm in Lansing, has released a report offering financial recommendations and policy proposals to move Michigan forward. This comes on the heels of new State Superintendent Brian Whiston's goal of making Michigan one of the top 10 states in the next 10 years.

Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:56pm

The Senate's version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) will finally get a hearing on the full U.S. Senate floor starting tomorrow on July 7. In mid-April, the Senate Education Committee approved the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) a week after it was introduced by co-sponsors Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). 

Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:25pm

Two weeks ago, Gov. Snyder's education advisor led House Education Committee members to believe that the Governor opposed SB 103, the teacher evaluation bill sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), chair of the Senate Education Committee. Under direct questioning, Karen McPhee replied that Snyder did not support the bill in its present form. 

However, last week his media spokesperson said that Gov. Snyder has taken no position on SB 103, but would support some changes to the bill. So far, the bill has had four hearings in Committee that still has not voted to discharge the bill.

Pavlov's bill emphasizes local control with districts allowed to choose whatever evaluation tool they wish. There are no provisions for training and no standards by which to judge those evaluation tools. MEA lobbyist Christina Canfield spoke in opposition to the bill, saying the bill is not in the best interest of teachers or children.

Last year, the House plan for teacher evaluations was very different from SB 103. That set of evaluation bills never made it through lame duck last year. Those bills set standards for the evaluation tools districts use; emphasized training for evaluators; and created a much fairer evaluation system for teachers. The MEA remains hopeful this year's House Education Committee will introduce similar amendments to SB 103.

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 06/30/15 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.

Survey wants your ideas about the chances for career success in Michigan

The Center for Michigan, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, is collecting feedback from Michigan citizens about the Michigan workforce experience through an online surveyThey’re specifically looking for information from educators like you about career navigation.

Only a few weeks left to influence the vote on ESEA authorization

There is a push on for the next two weeks to ensure that reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is done right this time. It's expected that the Senate will take up the ESEA on April 14.

15 Reward schools recognized by MDE

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recognized 15 high-performing Reward schools at the 2015 AdvanceED Michigan/MDE Spring School Improvement Conference where they also presented their best practices. Reward schools are in the top 5 percent of schools on MDE’s annual Top-to-Bottom ranking.

Whiston chosen as new State Superintendent

The State Board of Education has picked Brian Whiston, Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent, to replace current State Superintendent Mike Flanagan who retires at the end of June.

Before becoming Dearborn’s superintendent, Whiston spent 11 years as a lobbyist for Oakland Schools. He was also a school board member for Waterford Schools and taught at Wayne State University.

During his interview, Whiston expressed concern that teachers are being targeted and that needs to change. “We do need to celebrate the great things our teachers are doing. We have to celebrate the career, the field of education.”

Whiston said his first priorities will involve proposing a plan to improve student achievement and a plan to change how schools are funded.

Whiston was selected over Vicki Markavitch, Oakland Schools Superintendent, and Scott Menzel, Washtenaw Intermediate School Superintendent, for the position.

New ad for Proposal 1 emphasizes road dangers

The Safe Roads Yes! campaign has released its third ad in support of Proposal 1. The ad continues the theme that Michigan roads are hazardous with a first-hand account of what happened when a piece of road went flying through a driver’s windshield. Take a look at the ad to see the latest reason why Proposal 1 deserves a “yes” vote on May 5.

Flanagan predicts some schools will be out of deficit by school year's end

In his quarterly report to the Legislature on deficit schools, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan announced the possibility that 19 out of the 56 school districts in deficit may be out of the red by the end of June. 

Some school reform office duties transferred to budget department

With an executive order, Gov. Snyder transferred the School Reform Office’s K-12 education reform and accountability functions to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB). Those functions had been under the Department of Education and will now be in a department Snyder controls.

Adrian College associate professor wins Best in Show with photo composite

​“Asleep While the House is on Fire,” a hand-crafted photo composite by Garin Horner, was chosen as Best in Show in the 51st Annual MEA/MAEA Art Exhibition. Horner has been an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Design at Adrian College for the past seven years.

Two ESP leaders share the 2015 Leon A. Brunner Award

The MEA ESP Caucus recognized two of its own with the prestigious Leon A. Brunner Award at its 2015 conference and banquet at Shanty Creek. Patricia Palmer of Frasier and Wayne Telfor of Meridian shared the honor for their commitment to ESP issues and concerns. Since 1989, the award has been given to an MEA education support professional who has made significant contributions to ESP. 

New Proposal 1 ad targets school children’s safety concerns

The Safe Roads Yes! campaign has launched its second television ad which touches on our concerns as school employees—children’s safety. The ad features a school bus driver worried about how Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges threaten the safety of children traveling to and from school. The ad drives home the point that Proposal 1 will provide the funds to make our roads safe for school bus drivers and all drivers, while at the same time sending more money to the School Aid Fund.

 

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