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 06/29/15 at 12:27pm

Michigan delegates to NEA's Representative Assembly will join more than 7,000 educators on their way to Orlando to help set education policy and talk about what's best for students. The annual meeting starts July 3 and runs through July 6.

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:38pm

SaveOnEnergy.com is looking for the best lesson plans for teaching students about energy. By submitting your plan, you have a chance to win a $500 Teacher Grant for your classroom. Save On Energy.com will be awarding six $500 grants in the form of Visa Reward Cards to be used toward classroom materials and activities. SaveOnEnergy.com is a resource for consumers on all aspects of energy and sustainability.

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:25pm

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is holding meetings around the state with parents of special education students to gather input on their experiences with the state’s special education system. To reach even more parents, Calley also launched an online survey which will be available through August. 

Posted on 06/22/15 at 5:31pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that teachers and educators should not be put in law enforcement roles when they carry out their duty of reporting suspected child abuse or neglect. The National Education Association (NEA) filed an amicus brief in the case, Ohio v. Clark, stating that “educators’ valuable role as mandatory reporters and caregivers should not be compromised.”

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.

Changes to SB 1040 address some concerns

Late Friday, Gov. Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, and House Speaker Jase Bolger announced some significant changes to SB 1040—the bill to drastically change school employee retirement benefits.

Attend the Michigan Summit on Saturday, May 12

The Michigan Summit, an annual gathering of progressive organizations and individuals to discuss important policies critical to our state, will be held Saturday, May 12, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Sessions will emphasize the theme, "Energizing, Engaging and Winning". The program begins with registration at 8 a.m. and ends with a closing session at 3 p.m.

Amid questions, cyber school bill moves to Gov. for signing

SB 619 is on its way to Gov. Snyder for his signature after the Senate concurred with the House on the expansion of cyber schools. The vote was 23-14. Just as in the House, the bill did not receive immediate effect so SB 619 won’t go into effect until April 2013.

House Education Committee hears presentation denouncing common core standards

The House Education Committee heard a presentation this week by Lindsay Burke of the Heritage Foundation regarding common core standards. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative research and educational think tank, has become a frequent policy source for some lawmakers.

MEAP replacement debuts in spring 2014

Student testing will look and feel very different in the 2014-15 school year. That’s when the Smarter Balanced testing kicks in and students will be taking computer adaptive assessments in the spring, instead of the MEAP in the fall.

Council recommends pilot for new statewide evaluation system

The Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness—charged with developing an evaluation system for Michigan teachers—is recommending that the state start with a pilot program for the 2012-13 school year, rather than rushing into a new, untested program. The pilot will cost the state approximately $6 million.

SB 1040 remains unchanged

So far, no substitute has been offered to SB 1040--a sweeping attack on school employee retirement benefits.

Senate K-12 budget is more of the same: CEO’s not kids

What a difference a day makes in the Legislature when it comes to the education budget!

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $12.7 billion K-12 budget on a 25-13 vote that made changes to the Appropriations Committee version in school aid and funding for standardized testing.

Emergency Manager repeal likely headed to court

In a split 2-2 decision, the Board of State Canvassers failed to approve the Public Act 4 referendum that would have put the repeal of the controversial Emergency Manager law on the November ballot.  That tie likely means the proponents of the repeal –which MEA supports –will be taking their case to court for a final ruling.

House passes cyber school bill, other “ed reforms”

Update: Rep. Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) lost her request to reconsider the vote on SB 619 to expand charter schools, but she was successful in her request for a roll call vote on the immediate effect of the bill. The 57-52 vote failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority, so SB 619 will not go into effect until next spring.

April 26, 2012—House Republicans managed to strong-arm enough votes to barely pass SB 619—legislation to expand cyber schools—on a 56-54 vote. Thanks to intense lobbying efforts from MEA members and many other groups, the bill was vastly improved from the original passed by the Senate.

Fifteen amendments were offered, but only six Republican ones were adopted. There was no debate or explanation of any of the amendments. 

With the amendments, the bill now reads:

  • Through Dec. 31, 2013, there can only be five statewide authorizing bodies for cyber schools. The number can double the following year, but there can be no more than 15 after Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Cyber school enrollment can’t exceed 2,500 in the first year; not more than 5,000 in the second year; and no more than 10,000 in the third year and beyond.
  • The Department of Education can stop the authorization of any new cyber schools if the number of students enrolled is more than 1 percent of the total student enrollment in public schools for the 2012-13 school year. In 2014, the limit is 2 percent.

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