Posted on 10/20/14 at 2:59pm

The Michigan Public Schools Partnership (MPSP) has launched InspirED, a newsletter featuring the innovative and inspiring stories happening every day for Michigan's 1.5 million public school students. 

Posted on 10/20/14 at 2:57pm

Michigan is one of 16 states that will probably be looking for flexibility from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards that call for using student test scores in teacher evaluations. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is offering to give states that already have an NCLB waiver even longer to create new assessments. Currently, the state still doesn't have an assessment that measures student growth.

Posted on 10/20/14 at 2:56pm

According to a report released last month by the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), nearly 1.26 million homeless students in primary and secondary grades across the country were enrolled in the 2012-13 school year. 

Posted on 10/14/14 at 9:53am

MEA members can now access MEA information and news via a new mobile app for iPhones and Android devices. You can link to the app or go into the iPhone "App Store" or Android's "Google Play" and search for "Michigan Education Association."

Posted on 10/14/14 at 9:04am

Amanda Erspamer-Berry, an MEA member and teacher in Marquette's Alternative High School, is one of 15 finalists for a $100,000 grant in Farmers Insurance "Dream Big Teacher Challenge." The grant is challenging educators from across the country to submit innovative proposals that would help students. Winners will be chosen based on the number of votes they receive. Your vote can help make Amanda's vision become a reality for her students.

Posted on 10/14/14 at 9:08am

NEA President Lily Eskelsen has finished her Back-to-School Tour and talks about "What I Saw, Who I Met and What You Should Know About My Back to School Tour" in her blog at LilysBlackboard.org.  She talks about her visit to Northwestern High School in Flint where students and staff worked hard to move the school off Michigan's Priority Schools list. Read what she learned from members across the country.

Leon A. Brunner Award

The Leon A. Brunner Award was established in 1988 by the MEA/ESP Caucus Executive Board to recognize Michigan’s Educational Support Professional (ESP) who have made significant contributions to ESP and have exhibited a high degree of commitment to ESP issues and concerns while promoting ESP and having dedication to ESP members.

Nominations for ESP award due Feb. 7, 2014.

Download a nomination form.

 

Volunteer your time for the repeal of EM!

We're in the home stretch. Efforts to gather petition signatures for the repeal of the Emergency Manager Law continue. There are still opportunities to volunteer to make sure there are enough certified signatures.

How will Indiana influence RTW in Michigan?

It would be in our best interest to monitor the "Right To Work For Less" (RTW) movement in neighboring Indiana since several Republican legislators have already said, "As Indiana goes, so goes Michigan." Indiana would be the 23rd state to impose RTW, which allows workers to benefit from negotiated contracts without paying their fair share.

In 1995, the Indiana Legislature passed a RTW law for teachers. The current proposal would expand to include all workers.  Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is leading the charge on the issue now with commercials. Hearings on the proposed bill are currently underway. On the first day of session, House Democrats protested the legislation by choosing not to attend sessions and denying a quorum for voting. Thousands are expected to protest at the Statehouse despite the imposition of new security regulations and capacity limits. In addition to other labor groups, the NFL Players Association has come out in opposition to the legislation--the Super Bowl will be played in Indianapolis on Feb. 5.

Two views of teacher compensation

As long as there are continued education funding cuts and tight budgets, teacher salaries will be scrutinized and debated. Two new studies add fuel to both sides of the issue.

Workgroup to review quality of charters and all public schools

Quality and accountability were key issues during the debate on SB 618 to lift the cap on charter schools. The only amendment to pass dealing with the issues created a bicameral, bipartisan workgroup focusing on “improving the educational quality in all public schools for all pupils.”

Appeals court rules therapists can’t be privatized

By a 2 to 1 majority, the Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) decision that occupational therapists and physical therapists are not subject to the privatization provisions of PA 112, which makes bargaining over the privatization of non-instructional employees a prohibited subject. Court of Appeals Judges William Murphy and Donald Owens offered the majority opinion with Judge Kathleen Jansen offering the dissenting opinion.

Right to Work may surface as Labor Freedom Act

Look for the Labor Freedom Act to surface in January if the Michigan Freedom to Work (MIFTW) group has any say. Their goal is to turn Michigan into a right-to-work state and they are encouraging Republicans to take up the legislation.

Changes to school retirement among legislative goals

Changing the retirement health benefits of school employees is one of the legislative goals House Republicans have set for this year.

More changes to public education in Snyder’s new proposals

Last year’s legislative onslaught of so-called education reform proposals shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In his April 2011 special message on education reform, Gov. Snyder gave marching orders to legislators to lift the charter school cap, overhaul teacher tenure, tie teacher evaluation to student performance, encourage unchecked growth of cyber schools and tie funding to student achievement.

Now, eight months later, Snyder has updated his list of education reform proposals to reflect legislative changes. He’s also added some new initiatives which give us a glimpse into this year’s political agenda. His emphasis is still on alternative forms of education—especially cyber schools—which dismantle public education and sell it off to private companies.

No education funding cuts next year?

Given the legislative attacks of the past year, it's hard not to be skeptical when we get news that Gov. Snyder says that his next budget won't include funding cuts to public schools and universities. He wants to roll out his budget proposal sometime in Feb.

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