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.

Fate of collective bargaining amendment rests with Supreme Court

In what is ultimately turning out to be a battle for voter rights, the Michigan Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Thursday, Aug. 30 on the constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining. Judges will also be hearing oral arguments on the casino expansion, the new international bridge and a two-thirds majority to raise taxes.

Earlier this week, the Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to place the collective bargaining amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Opponents of all four ballot proposals filed appeals with the Court on the basis that none of the proposals lists the specific areas of the Constitution that will be impacted.

The Board of Elections has set Sept. 7 as the deadline for a decision so ballots can be finalized.

Election 2012 - Stand Up!

Let MEA help you navigate SB 1040

The passage last week of SB 1040 has given MEA members more to think about than just the start of a new school year. Participants in the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) have until Oct. 26 to make choices about their retirement plans and MEA is helping out by providing information and sessions to guide you in making your decisions.

Collective bargaining ordered onto ballot by Court of Appeals

 

Today, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided 2-1 to let the constitutional amendment protecting collective bargaining and working families go before the voters on Nov. 6. The Michigan Supreme Court gave the Appeals Court until today to make a decision. It's still not certain what position the issue will have on the ballot, but it is certain critics of the amendment will appeal to the Supreme Court. 
 
It may be last week's Supreme Court ruling to put the casino ballot proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot that paved the way for today's Court of Appeals' decision. The lower court rejected the casino proposal on the grounds that it would create sweeping changes to the Constitution--the same argument being used to reject the collective bargaining amendment. When the Supreme Court overturned the lower court's ruling on casinos, it seemed inevitable that the nearly 700,000 voters who signed the collective bargaining petitions would have a chance to decide the issue on Nov. 6.

MEA Financial Services can help you survive SB 1040

In response to the passage of SB 1040, MEA Financial Services is holding informational meetings across the state to help members understand the impact the legislation has on their retirement plans.

Will school employees see retirement contribution refunds?

Last week’s combination of the passage of SB 1040 and the Court of Appeals ruling that the existing 3 percent employee contribution for retirement health care is unconstitutional is raising questions about whether or not school employees will be seeing a refund of those funds, like state employees already have.

Let the voters decide!

Gov. Snyder and Attorney Bill Schuette launched a formal attack on voter rights yesterday when they filed court papers to block the constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining and the middle class from the November ballot. The two claim that the amendment changes too many laws to be listed in the 100-word statement of purpose for the ballot and should therefore be denied a place on the ballot.

At the request of the Governor, Schuette issued an opinion stating that “the Governor and lawmakers have enacted reforms that have led to economic growth and budget stability.” The concern is that the ballot proposal could undo all of that.

Andrew Nickelhoff, attorney for the Protect Our Jobs campaign, discounted Schuette’s opinion since it’s based on faulty legal reasoning and the proposal has already met all legal requirements.

IMPACT OF SB 1040 H-3

IMPACT OF SB 1040 H-3, as Finalized by the Legislature 8/15/12

For current retirees under age 65 and those who retire January 1, 2013 or later:

  • Will pay 20% of MPSERS health premium. Retirees currently pay roughly 10% for self and any dependents, except that retirees on Medicare pay only the Medicare premium on themselves and 10% of the MPSERS premium for any dependents.

For retirees who are 65 or older, who are Medicare-eligible and have retired by January 1, 2013

Analysis of impacts—SB 1040

Unfortunately the House voted 57-48 in favor the (MPSERS) overhaul, a compromise that includes a study to fully transition from a defined benefit (DB) to a defined contribution (DC) system. Earlier in the day the Senate passed the bill, SB 1040, by a vote of 21-16, sending it to the House. The bill moved to the Governor's office for his signature.
 
The changes made in this version  include the following:

Collective bargaining off the ballot--for now

As expected, the Board of Canvassers split 2-2 on whether to put the constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining on the November ballot. For now, the proposal is off the ballot. The Protect Our Jobs campaign will now take the fight for working families to the Michigan Supreme Court for a decision, bypassing the state Court of Appeals.

Pages