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.

Stand Up for Democracy scores a win

The Michigan Court of Appeals has decided the repeal of PA 4—the Emergency Manager law—will be on the Nov. ballot—at least for now. The Court decided against convening a special seven-member panel to determine whether the referendum should be approved.

In its original decision, the Court ruled that Stand Up for Democracy, organizers of the petition drive, didn’t use the correct type size, but they were restricted by another court decision that said the type size had “to be close enough.”

The battle isn’t over. The decision could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Female legislators silenced on House floor

The business of the last day of session was sidetracked when Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) and Rep. Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga) were barred from speaking on the House floor because of their opposition to an anti-abortion bill. The two were singled out for their language and actions that Republicans claimed did not “maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives.”

Senate walks out on MPSERS vote

School districts may be faced with financial uncertainty because the Senate didn’t pass SB 1040 —an unprecedented attack on school employee retirement. When they failed to get the necessary votes, they simply walked away. Now, the supposed savings gained by shifting costs to employees and retirees won’t materialize before the June 30 budget-setting deadline for school districts.

House passes sweeping attack on school employee retirement

 

The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook regarding today’s passage of Senate Bill 1040 in the State House:

“With their passage of Senate Bill 1040 today, most House Republicans went on record in support of the single worst attack on school employee retirement security in history. 

More than 684,000 Protect Our Jobs signatures filed today

It took more than 130 boxes to hold the signed petitions turned in today to the Secretary of State, moving the constitutional amendment protecting collective bargaining one step closer to being on the Nov. ballot. The Protect Our Jobs coalition turned in 684,286 signatures -- more than twice the needed 322,609 valid signatures in advance of the July 9 deadline.

Voters silenced with passage of House bills

House Republicans passed legislation on Tuesday that affects who can vote and what groups can register people to vote. A so-called election reform package SB 751-754893823-825 will make it harder for minorities to vote and give an advantage to Republicans in the November elections.  Republicans call their partisan move “protecting the integrity of elections in Michigan” and voted down all Democratic amendments to the legislation.

SB 1040 still in limbo; contact legislators today

With reports that sides are very close to a deal, the fate of SB 1040 is still in question with only two days left for legislators to deal with the issue. The House needs to act on the bill before the Senate can finalize it.

What to do with new hires remains a point of contention in the bill. The House Republicans want to give new employees the option of the current hybrid pension plan or a plain 401(k), while the Senate Republicans want to require that they move into a 401k only plan. Both sides agree that they want to end retiree health care for new hires.

Another major difference is the House version of the bill includes provisions to pre-fund health costs and start bringing down the $45 billion unfunded liability in the system.

With only two days left before the summer legislative break, time is running out. It’s critical that you contact your Senator and Representative today and let them know the impact this bill will have on current and retired school employees and those new to the profession.

Statement from MEA President on Wisconsin recall election

East Lansing, Mich., June 6, 2012 - The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook in response to yesterday’s gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin:

“Tom Barrett’s loss to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in yesterday’s recall election, while disappointing, sends a strong signal to those who have worked to destroy collective bargaining rights and the voice of working people:  we will not forget.

Preliminary Injunction Granted on Dues Deduction Prohibition

DETROIT, Tuesday, June 5, 2012 – In a federal court hearing today, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood ruled that the Legislature violated the constitutional rights of school employees and their unions by enacting Public Act 53, which would prohibit payroll deduction of union dues for school employees only.  Judge Hood indicated that a written ruling, along with a preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the prohibition on dues deduction, would be issued tomorrow.

State loses out in another round of ESEA waivers

Michigan is not among the latest list of eight states that have been granted ESEA waivers from the U.S. Department of Education. So far, 19 states have received waivers: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

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