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.

SB 1040 Talking Points

  • The latest assault on public school employees, SB 1040, comes under the guise of fixing the problems with the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS).
  • In reality, SB 1040 makes dramatic cuts to employee pension benefits while drastically increasing the out-of-pocket costs for both active and retired members.

Whitmer blasts Republican Senators for SB 1040 vote

No Democratic amendments made it into SB 1040 as passed by the Senate yesterday--not even Minority Leader Sen. Gretchen Whitmer's proposal to prefund the retirement system.

House committee to take up SB 1040 on Monday--Come to the Capitol!

After passing through the Senate, SB 1040 is on a fast track through the House.

Senate passes SB 1040

On a 20-18 vote, the Senate passed SB 1040 today stripping new hires of a retirement and forcing them into a defined contribution plan. The bill also puts merit pay back into final average compensation calculations. Other changes previously reported remain in the bill.

Join the Protect Our Jobs Blitz on Saturday

The Protect Our Jobs (POJ) coalition will be out in full force Saturday, May 19 gathering signatures in various locations across the state from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will be doing door-to-door canvassing, petition-gathering in public locations, and hosting a drive-thru signature gathering. Contact Debby Buckland at 810-599-2128 to volunteer.

Pontiac Education Association, school district reach tentative contract agreement

After 18 months of extremely contentious negotiations, bargaining teams for the Pontiac Education Association (PEA) and the Pontiac School District reached a tentative agreement on a new contract late Friday evening.

New CSR study says MPSERS problems fixable

The Coalition for Secure Retirement (CSR) released a study today examining the current state of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) and analyzing the reasons why the system is experiencing financial problems. MEA is a partner in the coalition.

Senate takes no action on SB 1040 -- keep lobbying!

Contrary to speculation, SB 1040--legislation that attacks school employee retirement benefits--saw no action on the Senate floor today.

Amended SB 1040 moves to Senate floor

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee discharged a substitute version of SB 1040 on a 10-5 vote, but the changes do little to help out current and future school employees or retirees. Contrary to earlier reports from lawmakers and the media, many positive changes were left out of the bill.

Senate committee considers ending full-time release practice

HB 4059 hasn’t seen much action since it was first introduced by Rep. Knollenberg (R-Troy) in January 2011 and passed by the House in April, but the bill to prohibit public employers from paying for full-time release union officials will again see the light of day at tomorrow’s Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee meeting.

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