Posted on 02/23/15 at 3:31pm

More Michigan children are living in poverty according to the annualKids Count report by the Michigan League for Public Policy and  funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The number of children in poverty increased by 35 percent with one in four children living in poverty and one in three qualifying for food assistance because their families’ incomes are $23,600 or less a year.

Posted on 02/23/15 at 3:32pm

The U.S. House is expected to pass a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this Friday. Unfortunately, this rewrite does nothing to help students learn or teachers teach. The focus has shifted to more testing, labeling of schools and then punishing them for their “failure,” while doing nothing to close achievement gaps.

Posted on 02/25/15 at 9:21am

If you believe our schools and safer roads are important to the quality of life in Michigan, circle May 5 on your calendar. On that day, voters will be asked to vote on a proposal that would raise over $1 billion to repair Michigan’s dangerous roads and bridges, while raising $300 million in new revenue for Michigan public schools, funded by a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax.

Posted on 02/18/15 at 3:01pm

MEA members Marcia Hudson and Linda Maniago of Avondale were awarded a $5,000 Learning and Leadership Grant from NEA for their Teacher Lab project. In this latest round, NEA awarded 16 Learning and Leadership Grants. 

Posted on 02/18/15 at 3:02pm

Michigan State University scholars have created a financial health-indicator system for school districts that could be facing financial stress. The proactive system uses research and information from other states to analyze the fiscal health of school districts and is outlined in a white paper, “Knowledgeable Navigation to Avoid the Iceberg.”

Posted on 02/18/15 at 3:06pm

When you find yourself in a hole, the first step to getting out is to stop digging.

The hole I am referring to is the $1 billion taxpayers spend each year on Michigan’s experiment with charter schools. A recent report by a pro charter school group ranks Michigan’s charter school accountability law last among similar states. 

Governor signs dues deduction ban

Late last week before leaving for Europe, Gov. Snyder signed HB 4929, making it illegal for school districts to bargain with their employees' contract language allowing for payroll deduction of dues.

Walled Lake paraprofessional wins ESP Brunner Award

Denise Miller

Denise Miller, a paraprofessional and local union leader from Walled Lake, was named the 2012 recipient of the Leon A. Brunner Award. The award is given annually at MEA's Statewide Educational Support Professional Conference in recognition an ESP leader's significant contributions and commitment to ESP issues and concerns. 

During last year's recall petition drives, Miller worked tirelessly to collect signatures to hold lawmakers accountable for their decisions in Lansing. She gained notoriety after she filed suit against the Oakland County Parks for restricting her ability to circulate petitions at a local park, where the county had literally marked off a 12-by-12 foot square in which she was told she had to stand. In a huge victory for both the recall supporters and believers in our personal freedom to engage in political activity, Miller won the court case.

Miller is now looking forward to working hard in 2012 on the Protect Our Jobs campaign to protect collective bargaining rights in our state constitution.

Snyder wants elimination of some workplace safety rules to help businesses

If you haven't seen enough bills to provide reasons to get involved in the Protect Our Jobs campaign to preserve the right to collectively bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions, here is another.

House Education Committee votes on morality issue

In a heated discussion, the House Education Committee dealt another blow to universities' "local control" when it approved a bill and two resolutions that protect religious freedom for some.

Timing for MPSERS changes and budget may coincide

Look for legislation before spring break that would change retirement benefits for public school employees. An eight-member, all-Republican work group has been meeting for months looking to make reforms.

Petition rule changes move to Senate

A bill to change the rules on how petitions are circulated, HB 5063, passed the House on a 64-46 vote this week with an amendment that exempted current petition drives from mandatory Secretary of State approval. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Legislation affecting petition drives surfaces

Back in October 2011, a House bill was introduced that would affect the filing of petitions to initiate legislation or a constitutional amendment. That bill, HB 5063, could now have a dramatic impact on the Protect Our Jobs campaign to preserve collective bargaining rights and other ongoing petition drives.

Snyder signs ban on unionization of grad research assistants

Questionable legislative tactics moved HB 4246 through the Legislature and made the bill law today with Gov. Snyder's signature. The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) was set to meet today to deal with the University of Michigan graduate research assistants' petition to unionize.

Cost of college education paid for with Democrat's proposed plan

Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that will pay for a Michigan high school graduates' college education. The ultimate goal of the "Michigan 2020 Plan" is to increase the number of college graduates needed to bring job-providers to the state.

Poll shows Americans believe in collective bargaining

In what is encouraging news for the Protect Our Jobs campaign, a Bloomberg News national poll shows 64 percent of Americans believe that public sector workers should have the right to collectively bargain. That number includes 55 percent of Republicans. In that same poll, 63 percent believe that states should not be able to break pension agreements they've made.  The poll of 1,001 adults was conducted March 4-7.

The poll comes after a number of Republican governors used budget problems to justify removing collective bargaining rights. Most poll respondents believed that those budget deficits were a result of years of tax cuts--not the actions of public employees.

As a result of that opinion, Bloomberg’s poll shows that 72 percent have a favorable view of public employees and see corporations wielding more political power than unions.

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