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.

House committee debates a variety of education issues

In the midst of budget discussions last week, the House Education Committee heard testimony on legislation that revises graduation requirements spelled out in the Michigan Merit Curriculum and does away with school accreditation. 

Higher education budget rewards some, punishes others

Higher education will get a 3 percent increase over last year, but there are plenty of strings attached—some of them reflecting legislators’ bias on social issues and a dislike for university autonomy.

House passes school budget; Senate expected to follow suit

House Republicans put the “School bus” budget—the omnibus bill consisting of K-12, higher education, and community colleges—on the road last week with a 58-51 party-line vote. But unfortunately, the supposed increase still doesn’t put enough gas in the bus to make it go very far down the road. The Senate is expected to pass the budget this week.

Urge NO vote on SB 1040 in House this week

The Legislature reconvenes Tuesday for what could be its final week before their summer break and indications are that SB 1040 – the unprecedented assault on school employee retirement – will be on the agenda.

Many State Representatives are still unsure how they will vote on this bill that attacks the retirement security of future, current and retired school employees across the state.  Contact them today!  Urge them to vote NO on SB 1040.  It’s not a fix for a long-term problem—one that school employees didn’t create. It merely shifts the financial burden from school districts to current and retired school employees who are already paying more than their share.  Let them know that taxes on pensions, salary cuts and increased costs for health insurance are robbing you of the ability to support yourself and your family. 

House meets on budget today; SB 1040 still awaits action

SB 1040 saw no action in the House yesterday, but Representatives are meeting at noon today--probably to complete the budget. Regardless, we need to keep the pressure on Representatives to vote NO on the bill that puts the burden of paying for retirement on the backs of current, future and retired school employees.

 
Contact your Representative today. Let them know that taxes on pensions, salary cuts and increased costs for health insurance and retirement are robbing you of the ability to support yourself and your family. 
 
We will keep you updated on any developments.

SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE ALERT: House may take up SB 1040 today

We've gotten information that the House may be taking up SB 1040 today--the plan to gut school employee retirement. The House made several changes to the Senate version, but some of the most damaging portions are still in place, such as forcing retirees to pay 20 percent of their health care.

It's critical that you contact your Representatives and urge them to vote NO on SB 1040. It's not a fix for a long-term problem--a problem that school employees didn't create. It merely shifts the financial burden from school districts to current and retired school employees who are already paying more than their share.

 

Statement from MEA President Steven Cook on Muskegon Heights School Restructuring Plan

EAST LANSING, Mich., Wed., May 30, 2012 – The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook in response to Muskegon Heights Emergency Manager’s plan to turn the school district into a charter school district.
 

Pontiac teachers ratify contract

Pontiac teachers overwhelmingly ratified a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, last Thursday evening.  Teachers accepted a two year contract containing wage reductions, increased out of pocket costs for health care, one and a half unpaid work days and a loss of step increases and longevity pay.

Has StudentsFirst contacted you?

StudentsFirst, the so-called education reform group led by Michelle Rhee, is contacting Michigan teachers with the message, "Tell your Representative to support 401(k) plans for teachers."

EM turns Muskegon Heights schools into charter district, terminates staff

Statement from MEA President Steven Cook on Muskegon Heights School Restructuring Plan

There will be school in Muskegon Heights this fall, but it will look very different.

Late last Friday afternoon, Don Weatherspoon, Muskegon Heights’s appointed Emergency Manager (EM), announced his plan to turn the school district into the first charter school district in Michigan. He is taking bids from private companies and is expected to award the job on June 6.

Earlier in the week, teachers were notified they were being laid off and could reapply for their jobs. Now, however, they’ve been told they are terminated and their jobs sold off to the lowest bidder.

“Our teachers had no advance knowledge of the Emergency Manager’s plan to convert the school district into a charter school system. We have been left out of the planning process. The staff, students and community are paying the price for the district’s financial mismanagement that they had nothing to do with creating,” said Muskegon Heights EA President Joy Robinson.

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