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.

State Board will interview six candidates for Flanagan's replacement

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan will be retiring on July 1 after 10 years in his position. The State Board of Education released the names of the six candidates they will be interviewing to replace him. Interviews are scheduled for March 10 and 11.

High school graduation rates up; dropout rate down

More Michigan students are graduating from high school on time, according to the state's Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI). The 2013-14 high school graduation rate was 78.58 percent, which is an increase of 1.6 percentage points over last year. 

Flanagan: 'Poverty is a tough nut to crack.' Tell MEA how you're doing it!

poverty

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan told the audience gathered at the Governor's Education and Economic Summit last week that, "Poverty is a tough nut to crack," and challenged them to help underprivileged children learn.

The recent Kids Count report from the Michigan League for Public Policy  revealed that more Michigan children are living in poverty. 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.

The statistics on childhood hunger are equally as disheartening. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 16 million students are victims of childhood hunger.

While he acknowledged that teachers and staff see firsthand every day the impact poverty and hunger has on their students and their ability to learn, he said, "It's our collective job together."

To raise the awareness of poverty and hunger in our schools, Flanagan encouraged the audience to tell their stories. 

Tell us your story of how poverty is impacting your classroom and you on our MEA Facebook page. How are you dealing with it?

2015 MEA ESP Conference – March 13-14

You still have a chance to register for this great event with sessions designed for ESP and the chance to earn credits toward an ESP Certificate. The program includes a keynote and guest speaker and the announcement of the Leon A. Brunner winners. Limited financial help is available if you want to go. Go to www.mea.org/esp-conference to register.

SMEA Conference

 

Information about the Student MEA conference is usually available in January.

NEA wants to know how kids are moving mountains

And today is also the start of a nationwide search for students 5 to 18 years of age who excel in STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts and math. In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the book, Dr. Seuss Enterprises and NEA will offer a $10,000 STEAM scholarship through its “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains” promotion. Go to www.nea.org/grants to learn more.

Nominate an innovative program for MASB’s Education Excellence award

Friday, March 13 is the deadline for administrators to nominate teachers and their programs within your school district for an EDEX 21—21st annual Education Excellence Award. Since 1994, the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) has recognized local and intermediate public school district programs that positively reflect the innovation spirit in today’s schools and measurably improve student achievement with these awards.

Each year the Education Excellence Award recognizes 20 teachers and their programs, and this year, an overall winner will be named based on a total score. Winners receive a cash award and statewide recognition at a luncheon in their honor. They also are invited to present their program at MASB’s annual fall leadership conference.

Watch the video promotion and then download the application and encourage your school district to recognize the outstanding work going on every day. 

NEA raises awareness of child hunger with videos, classroom resources

This is National Breakfast Week (March 2-6) and to raise awareness of the issue of child hunger, the NEA Health Information Network (NEA HIN) has released three new videos and created resources you can use in your classroom and in your school district. 

Have you got 10 minutes to make sure ESEA is done right this time?

Thanks to the efforts of NEA and its members like you, the full House is waiting to vote on a version of H.R. 5, the Republican’s rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which restores key elements we’ve been fighting for and makes a bad bill better.

Community colleges get grants for equipment, programs promoting skilled trades

Eighteen community colleges will be benefitting from a $50 million grant that will allow them to buy state-of-the-art equipment and provide training in their skilled trades courses. The grant is part of Gov. Snyder’s Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program that will develop a talent base for skilled manufacturing jobs in the state.

Pages