Posted on 05/26/15 at 12:45pm

Three out of 10 K-12 students failed all of their online courses last year and more than 50 percent failed at least one of their virtual classes, according to Michigan Virtual University (MVU). In the 2013-14 school year, 76,122 students took online classes. 

Posted on 05/26/15 at 12:56pm

With national opposition to the overuse of standardized testing increasing, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) consortium is cutting 90 minutes off its 11-hour-long assessment. It has also decided to start the testing period later in the school year. PARCC’s tests are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Posted on 05/18/15 at 3:02pm

Michigan ranks 29th when it comes to the number of high schools earning gold and silver medals according to U.S. News and World Report. Out of 834 eligible high schools, Michigan has 10 gold medal high schools and 68 silver medal schools. 

Posted on 05/11/15 at 3:02pm

If you’re a local president looking for guidance and support, there’s still time to get the training you and your local need through the 2015-16 Local Presidents Academy (LPA). The deadline has been extended to June 15 and all local presidents—new, experienced, EA, ESP, higher ed, with or without release time—can benefit from the program at little or no cost to participants or to the local.

Posted on 05/11/15 at 3:04pm

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is hosting the last in a series of webinars featuring models of Personalized Learning on May 21 from 4 to 5 p.m. Nicholas Provenzono, a Grosse Pointe Public Schools teacher and MEA member, will be presenting “Creating a Genius in Every Hour.”

Posted on 05/18/15 at 12:10pm

Since 1852, when 20 teachers came together in Ypsilanti to form what would eventually become the MEA, public school employees have joined together to win and protect basic rights that help ensure they are treated with the fairness, respect and dignity they’ve earned. 

Teacher Day/School Family Day is May 8

Each year schools and communities observe Teacher Day/School Family Day with local celebrations that pay tribute to the contributions school employees make to our communities and to society in general.

Constitutional amendment would require full disclosure from universities

What looks suspiciously like more retribution for universities, Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills), Chair of the House Oversight, Ethics and Reform Committee, is proposing a constitutional amendment (HJR PP)requiring state public universities to annually report every expenditure they make. Universities would then have to create an online report showing what was bought from whom and professors’ salaries.

Still no full replacement guarantee for personal property repeal

While reforming the personal property tax (SB 1065-1072) is taking a back seat to budget debates, the Senate Tax Policy Committee continues to take testimony.

Legislature can’t agree on how schools can spend limited new monies

Budget season is in full bloom in the Legislature, with votes being held on budget bills moved by various appropriations committees. In most cases, those committees were stingier in their proposals than Gov. Snyder’s $48.2 billion proposed budget.

A budget must be in place by Sept. 30, but legislators plan on beating that deadline by having one in place by June 1.

While both the House and the Senate want to give more money to K-12 districts than the Governor does, they don't agree on how the money should be spent. Under the Senate proposal, richer districts would get $100 more per pupil and low-funded districts would get $200 more.

CSR defends middle class in SB 1040 opposition

Prior to the Senate Appropriations Retirement Subcommittee’s day-long hearing on SB 1040, the Coalition for Secure Retirement-Michigan (CSR) held a news conference denouncing the legislation for “undermining the retirement security of current and future school retirees and dramatically increasing employee contributions.” MEA is a member of CSR, which represents active and retired school employees, corrections employees and nurses—the middle class.

No guaranteed replacement for funding lost with PPT elimination

This week, the Senate Finance Committee began hearing testimony on SB 1065-1072, a package of bills that would eliminate the personal property tax (PPT) on industrial equipment collected by local governments.

Muskegon Heights schools gets emergency manager

Governor Snyder has appointed Donald Weatherspoon as Muskegon Heights School District emergency manager effective April 23.

Changes coming to proposed retirement legislation

If you’ve wondered whether contacting legislators or providing testimony or attending legislative sessions was important—then yesterday’s Senate Appropriations Retirement Subcommittee decision to work on a substitute for SB 1040 is proof that your actions make a difference.

Update

Pontiac may lose state aid for failing to reduce debt

Even after two rounds of staff layoffs—the most recent on April 13—the Pontiac school district still hasn’t reduced enough of its $24 million deficit to receive its April 20 state aid payment.

The move by the Michigan Department of Education, who is overseeing the progress of the district’s deficit elimination plan, has questions about the district’s progress.  Not only does the district stand to lose $1.25 million in state aid this Friday, future aid payments will also be withheld.

Forty teachers were laid off last Friday with only two days notice. Substitutes were hired to cover those classes.

Walter Burt, Pontiac’s interim superintendent, is looking to staff to bear the brunt of the deficit elimination plan since they are the most costly. However, mismanagement of funds by the administration is the reason the district is so deeply in debt.

Senators get an earful on SB 1040

The Senate Appropriations Retirement Subcommittee heard six hours of testimony yesterday on SB 1040 from a variety of people—current school employees, retired teachers,  community college employees, a student teacher, and a concerned parent. 

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