Posted on 03/30/15 at 9:44am

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.

Posted on 03/30/15 at 9:15am

MEA is partnering with NEA, the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to sponsor the Teaching Leadership Initiative (TLI) program. If you’re an MEA member and ready to take hold of your career and learn to lead in matters of practice and policy—if you’re an MEA member eager to make a difference in your classroom, but not sure where to begin—TLI is for you.

Posted on 03/30/15 at 9:33am

The two vendors who are currently administering the 2015 Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) assessments won a three-year contract to continue their work. Data Recognition Corporation, a Minnesota-based company, and North Carolina-based Measurement, Inc. were awarded the contract by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB). 

Posted on 03/25/15 at 10:10am

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.

Posted on 03/25/15 at 1:20pm

The ice has melted and the roads are worse.

Michigan’s deteriorating roads and bridges pose a serious safety threat to drivers. Crater-size potholes are responsible for extensive damage to our automobiles.

Posted on 03/23/15 at 12:01pm

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.

MSU concedes health insurance requirement

Rather than risk losing funding, Michigan State University has decided to drop its requirement that students have health insurance. The University is still going ahead, however, with a 3.5 percent hike in tuition--still below the 4 percent requirement to receive aid.

Little help for schools in new budget

Gov. Snyder signed into law the 2012-13 $48 billion budget this week. The new budget year begins Oct. 1. 

School districts turn charter

Highland Park is the second Michigan school district taken over by Emergency Manager intent on turning it into a charter school district. It joins Muskegon Heights in a dangerous precedent-setting move of selling off its staff, students, and buildings to the lowest bidder. 

SB 1040--it's not over yet

The House passed their version of SB 1040 on June 14—the last day of session—and it was expected that the Senate would do the same. But they didn’t. They adjourned without having taken any action because they didn’t have the votes to pass it. Some Senators still oppose the House’s move to keep new hires in a hybrid pension plan. They would prefer new hires be stripped of any pension and be put into a defined contribution 401(k) plan. 

Until July 18, legislators are back in their home district talking to constituents and campaigning to save their seats. It’s a good time to make face-to-face contacts with your legislators and let them know how financially destructive SB 1040 is to current school employees, retirees and future education employees. Tell them using school employees to fix a systemic problem with the retirement system—one they didn’t create—is not fair.

Business groups calls POJ 'radical, deceptive'; wants it off the ballot

Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution (CPMC) wants Michigan's Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to keep the Protect Our Jobs constitutional amendment off the ballot in November. They contend the campaign's petition didn’t identify the 80 laws that would be repealed by such a move, and therefore, duped petition signers.

Highlights of SB 1040

The Senate and House will convene on July 18 and presumably take up SB 1040(H3).   The attached highlights the changes adopted by the House and hopefully will provide some clarity around the issues that may be in play once the legislature convenes in July.   

Read Highlights of SB 1040 as passed June 14, 2012.

Highland Park school district goes charter

Another Michigan public school district has chosen to sell its schools to the lowest charter company bidder. Highland Park school district will become the second charter school district, following the lead of Muskegon Heights schools.

MDE issues changes to teacher certification

On May 18, the state Department of Education (MDE) finalized the implementation of new laws relating to teacher certification. The new laws impact teachers moving from a Provisional teaching certificate to a Professional Education teaching certificate and to those teachers renewing their Professional Education certificate. Both changes are effective Sept. 1, 2013.

Two charter school companies vie for Muskegon Heights schools

By the end of this week, Muskegon Heights Public Schools Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon will have sold the entire school district to one of two for-profit charter school management companies—Leona Group or Mosaica Education. It’s an unprecedented move to eliminate the district’s $12.4 million debt and it signals the end to traditional public education for more than 1,400 students in Muskegon Heights.

The current school district would no longer exist, but would still have to pay off the debt using its local millage, a 3 percent fee from the charter school company, rent from its buildings and whatever other means the state Department of Education and Treasury approve. The charter school would be in charge of educating children and receive the district’s $7,397 per-pupil funding, but the school district would oversee the operations of the charter school company.

Stand Up for Democracy scores a win

The Michigan Court of Appeals has decided the repeal of PA 4—the Emergency Manager law—will be on the Nov. ballot—at least for now. The Court decided against convening a special seven-member panel to determine whether the referendum should be approved.

In its original decision, the Court ruled that Stand Up for Democracy, organizers of the petition drive, didn’t use the correct type size, but they were restricted by another court decision that said the type size had “to be close enough.”

The battle isn’t over. The decision could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

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