Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:26pm

This Wednesday, Brian Whiston takes over as the new State Superintendent. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, he talks about standardized testing, school funding, charter and cyber schools, deficit schools and teacher evaluations.

Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:27pm

Michigan delegates to NEA's Representative Assembly will join more than 7,000 educators on their way to Orlando to help set education policy and talk about what's best for students. The annual meeting starts July 3 and runs through July 6.

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:38pm

SaveOnEnergy.com is looking for the best lesson plans for teaching students about energy. By submitting your plan, you have a chance to win a $500 Teacher Grant for your classroom. Save On Energy.com will be awarding six $500 grants in the form of Visa Reward Cards to be used toward classroom materials and activities. SaveOnEnergy.com is a resource for consumers on all aspects of energy and sustainability.

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:25pm

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is holding meetings around the state with parents of special education students to gather input on their experiences with the state’s special education system. To reach even more parents, Calley also launched an online survey which will be available through August. 

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:31pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that teachers and educators should not be put in law enforcement roles when they carry out their duty of reporting suspected child abuse or neglect. The National Education Association (NEA) filed an amicus brief in the case, Ohio v. Clark, stating that “educators’ valuable role as mandatory reporters and caregivers should not be compromised.”

Posted on 06/30/15 at 9:19am

With the passage of Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act in 1965, teachers finally went from begging to bargaining. Thanks to PERA, all public school employees have the right to negotiate for fair wages, quality health care benefits and decent working conditions.

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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