Posted on 05/04/15 at 2:52pm

NEA and the National PTA have set aside this week, May 4-8, as Teacher Appreciation Week, to recognize and celebrate the important roles and contributions of educators. NEA, along with Kansas and Indiana state affiliates, and the Dodge City, Kansas local chapter lobbied Congress for a day to recognize educators. The first Teacher Day was celebrated on March 7, 1980. 

Posted on 05/04/15 at 2:53pm

Charter schools in urban areas don’t generate better outcomes than traditional public schools, according to Andrew Maul, assistant professor at the University of California Santa Barbara. Maul reviewed the Urban Charter School Study done by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University which states “charter schools in urban environments provide a slightly greater test score advantage than those in non-urban environments."

Posted on 05/04/15 at 2:55pm

Gov. Snyder’s K-12 education plan to restructure Detroit splits the district into two separate ones—one to pay off the $483 million debt, and one to oversee enrollment and other district functions.

Posted on 04/28/15 at 2:53pm

Charter schools in urban areas don’t generate better outcomes than traditional public schools according to Andrew Maul, assistant professor at the University of California Santa Barbara. Maul reviewed the Urban Charter School Study  done by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University which states “charter schools in urban environments provide a slightly greater test score advantage than those in non-urban environments.

Posted on 04/27/15 at 4:11pm

Waterford child care workers, custodians, bus drivers, bus driver aides and maintenance employees are being threatened with privatization. You can show support for them at a rally and school board meeting on Thursday, May 7.

Posted on 04/27/15 at 4:12pm

Tuesday, May 5, is Teacher Day/School Family Day when schools and communities pay tribute to the lasting contributions all school employees make to public education. It’s part of a week-long celebration honoring educators.

Processing of POJ petitions can continue--for now

The Bureau of Elections has rejected the request filed by the Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution (CPMC) to stop processing the Protect Our Jobs petitions. 

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.

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