Posted on 05/04/15 at 2:52pm

NEA and the National PTA have set aside this week, May 4-8, as Teacher Appreciation Week, to recognize and celebrate the important roles and contributions of educators. NEA, along with Kansas and Indiana state affiliates, and the Dodge City, Kansas local chapter lobbied Congress for a day to recognize educators. The first Teacher Day was celebrated on March 7, 1980. 

Posted on 05/04/15 at 2:53pm

Charter schools in urban areas don’t generate better outcomes than traditional public schools, according to Andrew Maul, assistant professor at the University of California Santa Barbara. Maul reviewed the Urban Charter School Study done by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University which states “charter schools in urban environments provide a slightly greater test score advantage than those in non-urban environments."

Posted on 05/04/15 at 2:55pm

Gov. Snyder’s K-12 education plan to restructure Detroit splits the district into two separate ones—one to pay off the $483 million debt, and one to oversee enrollment and other district functions.

Posted on 04/28/15 at 2:53pm

Charter schools in urban areas don’t generate better outcomes than traditional public schools according to Andrew Maul, assistant professor at the University of California Santa Barbara. Maul reviewed the Urban Charter School Study  done by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University which states “charter schools in urban environments provide a slightly greater test score advantage than those in non-urban environments.

Posted on 04/27/15 at 4:11pm

Waterford child care workers, custodians, bus drivers, bus driver aides and maintenance employees are being threatened with privatization. You can show support for them at a rally and school board meeting on Thursday, May 7.

Posted on 04/27/15 at 4:12pm

Tuesday, May 5, is Teacher Day/School Family Day when schools and communities pay tribute to the lasting contributions all school employees make to public education. It’s part of a week-long celebration honoring educators.

Changes to SB 1040 address some concerns

Late Friday, Gov. Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, and House Speaker Jase Bolger announced some significant changes to SB 1040—the bill to drastically change school employee retirement benefits.

Attend the Michigan Summit on Saturday, May 12

The Michigan Summit, an annual gathering of progressive organizations and individuals to discuss important policies critical to our state, will be held Saturday, May 12, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Sessions will emphasize the theme, "Energizing, Engaging and Winning". The program begins with registration at 8 a.m. and ends with a closing session at 3 p.m.

Amid questions, cyber school bill moves to Gov. for signing

SB 619 is on its way to Gov. Snyder for his signature after the Senate concurred with the House on the expansion of cyber schools. The vote was 23-14. Just as in the House, the bill did not receive immediate effect so SB 619 won’t go into effect until April 2013.

House Education Committee hears presentation denouncing common core standards

The House Education Committee heard a presentation this week by Lindsay Burke of the Heritage Foundation regarding common core standards. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative research and educational think tank, has become a frequent policy source for some lawmakers.

MEAP replacement debuts in spring 2014

Student testing will look and feel very different in the 2014-15 school year. That’s when the Smarter Balanced testing kicks in and students will be taking computer adaptive assessments in the spring, instead of the MEAP in the fall.

Council recommends pilot for new statewide evaluation system

The Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness—charged with developing an evaluation system for Michigan teachers—is recommending that the state start with a pilot program for the 2012-13 school year, rather than rushing into a new, untested program. The pilot will cost the state approximately $6 million.

SB 1040 remains unchanged

So far, no substitute has been offered to SB 1040--a sweeping attack on school employee retirement benefits.

Senate K-12 budget is more of the same: CEO’s not kids

What a difference a day makes in the Legislature when it comes to the education budget!

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $12.7 billion K-12 budget on a 25-13 vote that made changes to the Appropriations Committee version in school aid and funding for standardized testing.

Emergency Manager repeal likely headed to court

In a split 2-2 decision, the Board of State Canvassers failed to approve the Public Act 4 referendum that would have put the repeal of the controversial Emergency Manager law on the November ballot.  That tie likely means the proponents of the repeal –which MEA supports –will be taking their case to court for a final ruling.

House passes cyber school bill, other “ed reforms”

Update: Rep. Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) lost her request to reconsider the vote on SB 619 to expand charter schools, but she was successful in her request for a roll call vote on the immediate effect of the bill. The 57-52 vote failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority, so SB 619 will not go into effect until next spring.

April 26, 2012—House Republicans managed to strong-arm enough votes to barely pass SB 619—legislation to expand cyber schools—on a 56-54 vote. Thanks to intense lobbying efforts from MEA members and many other groups, the bill was vastly improved from the original passed by the Senate.

Fifteen amendments were offered, but only six Republican ones were adopted. There was no debate or explanation of any of the amendments. 

With the amendments, the bill now reads:

  • Through Dec. 31, 2013, there can only be five statewide authorizing bodies for cyber schools. The number can double the following year, but there can be no more than 15 after Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Cyber school enrollment can’t exceed 2,500 in the first year; not more than 5,000 in the second year; and no more than 10,000 in the third year and beyond.
  • The Department of Education can stop the authorization of any new cyber schools if the number of students enrolled is more than 1 percent of the total student enrollment in public schools for the 2012-13 school year. In 2014, the limit is 2 percent.

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