Posted on 04/10/15 at 11:09am

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has introduced a new program aimed at encouraging students in grades four to eight to get more engaged in their classrooms. The Student Inspiration Project developed from the results of a September 2014 MDE survey of students in grades four through eight which showed that while 94 percent of students said motivation is essential to a great education, only 24 percent said they felt motivated to learn.

Posted on 04/10/15 at 11:12am

Make history come alive for your high school students by giving them the chance to collaborate on determining the best course of action for a governor during an actual historical event. "The Governor's Decision Room," presented through the Michigan Historical Center, can help you do that.

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 03/30/15 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 9:44am

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.

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.

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.

Pages