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. 

Call your state rep NOW to oppose SB 618

The pressure is building in the state House to pass SB 618, the bill allowing for unlimited expansion of charter schools.  There are still several Republican representatives who are opposed to the bill's provisions that remove the cap on charters without increasing accountability measures.  But they are under intense pressure to vote in favor of SB 618.

Call your state representative right away -- contact information can be found at http://bit.ly/sBEt9 . Urge them to vote no on SB 618.  Tell them that unchecked expansion of charter schools will hurt your district and your students, siphoning even more resources away from our neighborhood schools.

Take action now!

It’s going to be a busy week at the Capitol!

This week represents that last legislative days for 2011 and there are issues which could see action this week.

  • SB 618 may be up for a vote in the House, but so far there don't seem to be enough votes to support it. The idea of removing the cap on charter schools is meeting resistance from legislators who are concerned about the impact that throwing open the doors to charters will have on traditional public schools. President Cook has sent a letter to state representatives urging them to vote "no" on SB 618 and reaffirming our opposition to the bill. That letter, along with messages to your representatives seems to be having an effect, but we can't stop the efforts. Contact your representatives. Find out where they stand on SB 618. If they oppose it, thank them for their vote and ask what kind of support they need. If they agree with taking the cap off charter schools, tell them true education reform is based on sound research that says small class sizes, more and better teacher training, greater parental involvement and adequate resources for student earning yield the greatest results for our students.
     

State Board of Education skeptical of SB 619

The state Board of Education has passed a resolution opposing SB 619, which lifts the cap on cyber schools.

Ban on domestic partner benefits passes House

With the House’s passage of HB4770 today, the state, public schools, counties and other local governments cannot provide medical benefits for domestic partners.

MEA General Counsel advises Council on Educator Effectiveness

MEA’s General Counsel, Arthur Przybylowicz, was one of several speakers today at the first meeting of the Governor’s Council on Educator Effectiveness.

Prohibition of payroll PAC deduction moves to House floor

The House Redistricting and Elections Committee reported out HB 5085 and 5086 with substitutes to the House floor on party-line votes. The bills would prohibit school districts from payroll deducting employee’s political action contributions.

Cook cautions legislators to 'tread lightly' on cyber school movement

 

For two days, the House Education Committee has heard testimony on SB 619, the legislation to lift the cap on cyber schools. While what most of what the Committee has heard came from parents, teachers, students and providers of cyber schools who fully endorse the legislation, today MEA submitted written testimony from President Cook along with research showing that cyber schools are not the great educational miracles many legislators are claiming and calling for more accountability in their operation.

“Our state leaders should tread very lightly when deciding whether to divert scarce educational resources into virtual schools. And they should tread very lightly before turning our kids into guinea pigs for corporate education experiments,” warned Cook.

Michigan schools part of NEA's Forum on 'Change, Challenge, and Collaboration'

On Nov. 10-11, representatives from Romulus, Mt. Clemens, Saginaw and Clintondale participated in NEA's Forum on "Change, Challenge, and Collaboration." The Forum was part of NEA's Priority School Campaign.

Charter school cap and PAC payroll deduction prohibition on legislative agenda this week

While it seems every week has been a crucial legislative week for education, this next to the last week of session before the holiday break may see some major bills move out of committee or out of chamber.

Senate looks to reform recall process

Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekof (R-West Olive) and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) introduced a constitutional amendment (SJR S) that limits the reasons an elected officer can be recalled.

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