Posted on 07/28/14 at 5:45pm

According to the latest KIDS COUNT Data Book published by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, Michigan ranks 32nd when it comes to a child's overall well-being compared to other states. Michigan dropped one slot in ranking from last year, making it the worst-performing state in the Great Lakes region. 

Posted on 07/28/14 at 5:46pm

Michigan isn't the only state looking to establish stricter guidelines for charter school authorizers. A policy brief by the Education Commission of the States (ECS), reports that while 42 states have charter school legislation, only  33 states have authorizing bodies that are responsible for approving and overseeing charters schools. But only 15 of those states have set standards for authorizers.

Posted on 07/28/14 at 5:47pm

More families will be able to qualify for free and reduced-priced meals with the new household income guidelines established by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). The guidelines will determine eligibility for the 2014-15 school year and will be effective through June 30, 2015.

Posted on 07/21/14 at 11:40pm

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is advising teachers not to change their lesson plans, despite the fact that the MEAP, instead of Smarter Balanced assessments, is being used next spring. The Legislature made that choice when they passed a state budget that requires the MEAP. MDE previously recommended Smarter Balanced.

Posted on 07/21/14 at 11:51pm

The Great Lakes Center annually releases a recommended "summer reading list" for educators. The list evaluates the so-called education reform movement and whether or not those reforms really work.

Posted on 07/15/14 at 11:23am

The Sunday, July 13 edition of the Lansing State Journal covered the issue of teacher evaluations in its "A Greater Lansing Outlook" section. Included is a column by MEA President Steve Cook, "Teachers support bills for fair evaluations," highlighting MEA's involvement in writing HB 5223 and HB 5224. 

Appeals court rules therapists can’t be privatized

By a 2 to 1 majority, the Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) decision that occupational therapists and physical therapists are not subject to the privatization provisions of PA 112, which makes bargaining over the privatization of non-instructional employees a prohibited subject. Court of Appeals Judges William Murphy and Donald Owens offered the majority opinion with Judge Kathleen Jansen offering the dissenting opinion.

Right to Work may surface as Labor Freedom Act

Look for the Labor Freedom Act to surface in January if the Michigan Freedom to Work (MIFTW) group has any say. Their goal is to turn Michigan into a right-to-work state and they are encouraging Republicans to take up the legislation.

Changes to school retirement among legislative goals

Changing the retirement health benefits of school employees is one of the legislative goals House Republicans have set for this year.

More changes to public education in Snyder’s new proposals

Last year’s legislative onslaught of so-called education reform proposals shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In his April 2011 special message on education reform, Gov. Snyder gave marching orders to legislators to lift the charter school cap, overhaul teacher tenure, tie teacher evaluation to student performance, encourage unchecked growth of cyber schools and tie funding to student achievement.

Now, eight months later, Snyder has updated his list of education reform proposals to reflect legislative changes. He’s also added some new initiatives which give us a glimpse into this year’s political agenda. His emphasis is still on alternative forms of education—especially cyber schools—which dismantle public education and sell it off to private companies.

No education funding cuts next year?

Given the legislative attacks of the past year, it's hard not to be skeptical when we get news that Gov. Snyder says that his next budget won't include funding cuts to public schools and universities. He wants to roll out his budget proposal sometime in Feb.

Snyder signs SB 618 into law

On Tuesday, Gov. Snyder signed SB 618 into law lifting a 150-cap on university-sponsored charter schools.  The bill is now Public Act 277.

The original bill was modified so that the cap is gradually lifted until 2015 when there will be no limit. Next year, the limit is 300 new charter schools and grows to 500 in 2014.

MEA opposed the bill on the grounds that lifting the cap robs traditional public schools of needed resources. The bill also lacked strict accountability standards for newly-created charter schools.

51st S & R recommends Losey

The MEA Screening and Recommending Committee in the 51st District has chosen Steve Losey from Linden as its candidate to replace the recalled Rep. Paul Scott.

Michigan loses out on RTTT grant again

For the third time, Michigan has missed out on federal Race to the Top funding—this time for early childhood development programs.

No retirement contribution refund for public school employees

As of right now, public school employees will not be getting a refund of their 3 percent retirement contribution that state employees are getting. We are still awaiting a decision on our issue from the Michigan Court of Appeals who heard oral arguments on Oct. 19.

Legislature goes home for the holidays

Legislature goes home for the holidays

After lifting the cap on charter schools, the Legislature finished its business for the year today without doing any more harm to public education, students and public education employees and their unions.

The Senate did not take up HB 4929, legislation to end payroll deduction for union dues, or any of the litany of other anti-union bills under consideration.  And the House took no action on SB 619 (unlimited expansion of cyber schools).  But rest assured the debate over further attacks on public education, unions and the middle class will restart in the New Year.

The Legislature will be back in session January 11, 2012. For now, there is peace in Michigan.

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