Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:58pm

You only have until July 14-next Tuesday-- to register for MEA's 2015 Summer Leadership Conference, "Power from the Past-A Force for the Future." The Conference is scheduled for July 28-30 at Lake Superior State College in Sault Ste. Marie.

Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:57pm

Public Sector Consultants, a non-partisan public policy research firm in Lansing, has released a report offering financial recommendations and policy proposals to move Michigan forward. This comes on the heels of new State Superintendent Brian Whiston's goal of making Michigan one of the top 10 states in the next 10 years.

Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:56pm

The Senate's version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) will finally get a hearing on the full U.S. Senate floor starting tomorrow on July 7. In mid-April, the Senate Education Committee approved the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) a week after it was introduced by co-sponsors Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). 

Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:25pm

Two weeks ago, Gov. Snyder's education advisor led House Education Committee members to believe that the Governor opposed SB 103, the teacher evaluation bill sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), chair of the Senate Education Committee. Under direct questioning, Karen McPhee replied that Snyder did not support the bill in its present form. 

However, last week his media spokesperson said that Gov. Snyder has taken no position on SB 103, but would support some changes to the bill. So far, the bill has had four hearings in Committee that still has not voted to discharge the bill.

Pavlov's bill emphasizes local control with districts allowed to choose whatever evaluation tool they wish. There are no provisions for training and no standards by which to judge those evaluation tools. MEA lobbyist Christina Canfield spoke in opposition to the bill, saying the bill is not in the best interest of teachers or children.

Last year, the House plan for teacher evaluations was very different from SB 103. That set of evaluation bills never made it through lame duck last year. Those bills set standards for the evaluation tools districts use; emphasized training for evaluators; and created a much fairer evaluation system for teachers. The MEA remains hopeful this year's House Education Committee will introduce similar amendments to SB 103.

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 06/30/15 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.

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.

Middle class no winner in budget agreement

Gov. Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy, and House Speaker Jase Bolger reached a target budget agreement that looks more like an election year promotion to win votes rather than a sincere attempt to repair the damage tax breaks to corporate CEOs have done to public education and the middle class. 

 

House Appropriations passes SB 1040--with more changes

SB 1040 is on its way to the full House after the House Appropriations Committee reported it out on a party-line vote of 17-10 with some important changes. The H-2 substitute approved today revised the previous H-1 substitute that was discussed by Committee members yesterday.

House Committee moving closer to SB 1040 vote

At today’s House Appropriations Committee meeting, Committee members had their chance to ask questions of representatives from the House Fiscal Agency and Phil Stoddard, Director of Michigan’s Office of Retirement (ORS) about SB 1040 and the H-1 amendment .

House should heed testimony, take time with SB 1040

EAST LANSING, Mich., May 22, 2012 – With the House Appropriations Committee scheduled to meet again Wednesday morning regarding Senate Bill 1040, MEA is urging state representatives to proceed with caution on this complex issue that will impact the lives of tens of thousands of school employees statewide.

House Committee approves SB 1040 sub; hears testimony

Last week, the Senate passed SB 1040 with changes, and this morning the House Appropriations Committee took up the legislation in an “emergency” Monday meeting. After making their own modifications to the bill, the Committee heard testimony from retirees and current and future school employees who described the devastating financial impact SB 1040 would have.

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