Posted on 05/26/15 at 12:45pm

Three out of 10 K-12 students failed all of their online courses last year and more than 50 percent failed at least one of their virtual classes, according to Michigan Virtual University (MVU). In the 2013-14 school year, 76,122 students took online classes. 

Posted on 05/26/15 at 12:56pm

With national opposition to the overuse of standardized testing increasing, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) consortium is cutting 90 minutes off its 11-hour-long assessment. It has also decided to start the testing period later in the school year. PARCC’s tests are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Posted on 05/18/15 at 3:02pm

Michigan ranks 29th when it comes to the number of high schools earning gold and silver medals according to U.S. News and World Report. Out of 834 eligible high schools, Michigan has 10 gold medal high schools and 68 silver medal schools. 

Posted on 05/11/15 at 3:02pm

If you’re a local president looking for guidance and support, there’s still time to get the training you and your local need through the 2015-16 Local Presidents Academy (LPA). The deadline has been extended to June 15 and all local presidents—new, experienced, EA, ESP, higher ed, with or without release time—can benefit from the program at little or no cost to participants or to the local.

Posted on 05/11/15 at 3:04pm

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is hosting the last in a series of webinars featuring models of Personalized Learning on May 21 from 4 to 5 p.m. Nicholas Provenzono, a Grosse Pointe Public Schools teacher and MEA member, will be presenting “Creating a Genius in Every Hour.”

Posted on 05/18/15 at 12:10pm

Since 1852, when 20 teachers came together in Ypsilanti to form what would eventually become the MEA, public school employees have joined together to win and protect basic rights that help ensure they are treated with the fairness, respect and dignity they’ve earned. 

BOE Report calls for making school funding a budget priority

The state Board of Education (BOE) has adopted its"Recommendations for Change to Michigan School Organization and Finance" calling for the state to make education funding a budget priority. Since January 2014, the BOE has been analyzing the issue of school funding and holding meetings to make its final recommendations.
 

More schools added to list of schools facing financial deficit

The number of public schools and charters that are facing a financial deficit has risen to 55-up from 48 schools last year. On that list are schools that started the 2013-14 school year solvent, but after facing money problems during the year, are now part of the new list of deficit schools. The Education Achievement Authority is one of those schools newly added.

Anti-bullying law expanded to include cyberbullying

A cyberbullying bill that would require school districts and academies to change their existing anti-bullying policies to include electronic or online bullying passed during the lame duck session. SB 74 describes cyberbullying as "any electronic communication that is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm one or more pupils either directly or indirectly."

Anti-bullying law expanded to include cyberbullying

A cyberbullying bill that would require school districts and academies to change their existing anti-bullying policies to include electronic or online bullying passed during the lame duck session. SB 74 describes cyberbullying as "any electronic communication that is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm one or more pupils either directly or indirectly."

2011 guidelines in place since evaluation bills die in lame duck

HB 5223 and HB 5224, which would have established a statewide evaluation system for teachers and administrators, did not survive the Legislature's lame duck session. While the bills may be reintroduced next year, the evaluation guidelines from 2011 will be in place.
 
The bills, sponsored by Rep. Margaret O'Brien (R-Portage) and Rep. Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor), passed the House and had strong bipartisan support. MEA lobbyists were instrumental in fashioning the legislation that created an evaluation system that supported rather than punished teachers. 

However, the bills could not get out of the Senate Education Committee. Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair Shores), Committee chair, called the bills flawed because they did not give local school districts enough flexibility.

MEA also supported legislation that would have instituted much needed charter school reforms. Unfortunately, those bills also did not make it through lame duck.

However, bills that MEA opposed that would have held back third graders who weren't reading at grade level, assigned letter grades to failing schools, expanded the Education Achievement Authority, and established an early financial warning system for school districts died in lame duck. 

Borders named DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year

MEA member Ann Marie Borders has been named United Musical Society (UMS) DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year. Borders is a vocal music teacher at Carpenter Elementary School in Ann Arbor. Karen McDonald, a Carpenter art teacher, shares the award with Borders since the UMS selection committee declared a tie.

MEA members earn NEA Foundation grants

Educators and MEA members from New Haven, Swartz Creek, Redford and Saginaw Valley State University received $2,000 and $5,000 grants from the NEA Foundation. The grants support proposals that have the potential for enhancing student achievement and for delivering high-quality educational professional development activities.

Tod Wolfgram, a New Haven High School social studies teacher received a $2,000 Learning and Leadership grant to attend the National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference. There he will learn more about the college, career, and civic life framework for social studies state standards. He will bring back information to his social studies colleagues and share ways to promote civil instruction in the modern classroom.

Kayla Trundle, a special education teacher from Swartz Creek Middle School, received a $2,000 Student Achievement Grant to improve community-based instruction opportunities for students with cognitive impairments. With help from the grant, their students will learn functional skills that apply to the Common Core Essential Elements through trips to a grocery store, post office, bank, restaurant, library, nature center and pet adoption center.

Kara Clayton, a Thurston High School language arts educator in Redford, earned a $2,000 Learning and Leadership Grant to learn more about the use of digital tools to improve students’ literacy skills. She will use the grant to attend seminars at the University of Rhode Island’s Institute in Digital Literacy. Clayton will attend seminars on assisting students to choose reliable and credible sources, reading comprehension, and using digital tools to conduct research. At the end of the Institute, Kara will create a collaborative lesson to be shared with other attendees and colleagues in Redford.

Dr. Marlena Bravender, an assistant professor at Saginaw Valley State University, received a $5,000 Learning and Leadership Grant to research effective ways to integrate virtual language simulations into middle school Spanish lessons. Using the lessons, students will understand authentic situations involving food, clothing, culture, common phrases and study lessons. The grant will also allow Bravender to track the impact of the virtual simulations.

The NEA Foundation awards its grants to educators three times a year. In this round, 42 educators across 22 states received $168,000 in grants to support efforts to improve teaching and learning. The next education grant deadline is Feb. 1, 2015. Go to www.neafoundation.org for more information. 

MI taxpayers helping charter school management companies make big profits

How charter management companies spend more than $1 billion dollars in state taxpayer dollars is again the focus of a news article in the Detroit Free Press. "Public money for schools buys private property" uncovers the arrangement National Heritage Academies (NHA) has with its schools. NHA, not the school, owns the school buildings and the contents, even though that's all been purchased with taxpayer money.

MDE's proposed special education rule changes delayed until next year

The Michigan Department of Education's (MDE) special education rule changes did not make it through a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) and will have to be reintroduced next year. MDE wanted the rule changes to clarify language and help carry out federal law.

NEA President talks to Detroit Economic Club about educating the whole child

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 16, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia will be telling the Detroit Economic Club why we must invest in the education of students for work and society in the 21st Century. She will be promoting an approach that favors policies that nurture creative thinking and meet the needs of the whole child.

Prior to her luncheon policy speech, she will be meeting with 80 local area high school students, including students from Gibraltar's Carlson High School, Grosse Pointe North, and Harper Woods. The students will hear a preview of Lily's speech and be able to ask questions on any topics they choose. They will also be guests at the luncheon program.

Lily's speech will be live-streamed at www.neatoday.org and you can tune in from 12:35 to 1:15 p.m. to watch and follow @NEAToday and @NEAmedia. If you can't tune in live, the speech will be archived at www.neatoday.org to watch later. Lily will also be a guest on Paul W. Smith's WJR Radio show from 5:30 to 9 a.m. You can listen at http://p.cmlsdet.com/player/?feed=49&id=12869

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