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.

Female legislators silenced on House floor

The business of the last day of session was sidetracked when Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) and Rep. Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga) were barred from speaking on the House floor because of their opposition to an anti-abortion bill. The two were singled out for their language and actions that Republicans claimed did not “maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives.”

Senate walks out on MPSERS vote

School districts may be faced with financial uncertainty because the Senate didn’t pass SB 1040 —an unprecedented attack on school employee retirement. When they failed to get the necessary votes, they simply walked away. Now, the supposed savings gained by shifting costs to employees and retirees won’t materialize before the June 30 budget-setting deadline for school districts.

House passes sweeping attack on school employee retirement

 

The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook regarding today’s passage of Senate Bill 1040 in the State House:

“With their passage of Senate Bill 1040 today, most House Republicans went on record in support of the single worst attack on school employee retirement security in history. 

More than 684,000 Protect Our Jobs signatures filed today

It took more than 130 boxes to hold the signed petitions turned in today to the Secretary of State, moving the constitutional amendment protecting collective bargaining one step closer to being on the Nov. ballot. The Protect Our Jobs coalition turned in 684,286 signatures -- more than twice the needed 322,609 valid signatures in advance of the July 9 deadline.

Voters silenced with passage of House bills

House Republicans passed legislation on Tuesday that affects who can vote and what groups can register people to vote. A so-called election reform package SB 751-754893823-825 will make it harder for minorities to vote and give an advantage to Republicans in the November elections.  Republicans call their partisan move “protecting the integrity of elections in Michigan” and voted down all Democratic amendments to the legislation.

SB 1040 still in limbo; contact legislators today

With reports that sides are very close to a deal, the fate of SB 1040 is still in question with only two days left for legislators to deal with the issue. The House needs to act on the bill before the Senate can finalize it.

What to do with new hires remains a point of contention in the bill. The House Republicans want to give new employees the option of the current hybrid pension plan or a plain 401(k), while the Senate Republicans want to require that they move into a 401k only plan. Both sides agree that they want to end retiree health care for new hires.

Another major difference is the House version of the bill includes provisions to pre-fund health costs and start bringing down the $45 billion unfunded liability in the system.

With only two days left before the summer legislative break, time is running out. It’s critical that you contact your Senator and Representative today and let them know the impact this bill will have on current and retired school employees and those new to the profession.

Statement from MEA President on Wisconsin recall election

East Lansing, Mich., June 6, 2012 - The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook in response to yesterday’s gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin:

“Tom Barrett’s loss to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in yesterday’s recall election, while disappointing, sends a strong signal to those who have worked to destroy collective bargaining rights and the voice of working people:  we will not forget.

Preliminary Injunction Granted on Dues Deduction Prohibition

DETROIT, Tuesday, June 5, 2012 – In a federal court hearing today, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood ruled that the Legislature violated the constitutional rights of school employees and their unions by enacting Public Act 53, which would prohibit payroll deduction of union dues for school employees only.  Judge Hood indicated that a written ruling, along with a preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the prohibition on dues deduction, would be issued tomorrow.

State loses out in another round of ESEA waivers

Michigan is not among the latest list of eight states that have been granted ESEA waivers from the U.S. Department of Education. So far, 19 states have received waivers: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

House committee debates a variety of education issues

In the midst of budget discussions last week, the House Education Committee heard testimony on legislation that revises graduation requirements spelled out in the Michigan Merit Curriculum and does away with school accreditation. 

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