Posted on 02/23/15 at 3:31pm

More Michigan children are living in poverty according to the annualKids Count report by the Michigan League for Public Policy and  funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The number of children in poverty increased by 35 percent with one in four children living in poverty and one in three qualifying for food assistance because their families’ incomes are $23,600 or less a year.

Posted on 02/23/15 at 3:32pm

The U.S. House is expected to pass a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this Friday. Unfortunately, this rewrite does nothing to help students learn or teachers teach. The focus has shifted to more testing, labeling of schools and then punishing them for their “failure,” while doing nothing to close achievement gaps.

Posted on 02/25/15 at 9:21am

If you believe our schools and safer roads are important to the quality of life in Michigan, circle May 5 on your calendar. On that day, voters will be asked to vote on a proposal that would raise over $1 billion to repair Michigan’s dangerous roads and bridges, while raising $300 million in new revenue for Michigan public schools, funded by a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax.

Posted on 02/18/15 at 3:01pm

MEA members Marcia Hudson and Linda Maniago of Avondale were awarded a $5,000 Learning and Leadership Grant from NEA for their Teacher Lab project. In this latest round, NEA awarded 16 Learning and Leadership Grants. 

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

Michigan State University scholars have created a financial health-indicator system for school districts that could be facing financial stress. The proactive system uses research and information from other states to analyze the fiscal health of school districts and is outlined in a white paper, “Knowledgeable Navigation to Avoid the Iceberg.”

Posted on 02/18/15 at 3:06pm

When you find yourself in a hole, the first step to getting out is to stop digging.

The hole I am referring to is the $1 billion taxpayers spend each year on Michigan’s experiment with charter schools. A recent report by a pro charter school group ranks Michigan’s charter school accountability law last among similar states. 

Cyber school bill moves to House floor

This morning, the House Education Committee reported out SB 619-623 and 709-710 with amendments that differ from the original Senate-approved bills.

House committee passes more anti-union bills--Call your state representative!

On a party line vote, the House Oversight, Reform and Ethics Committee passed on Tuesday House Bills 5023-5026, a package of anti-union bills meant to curtail the powers of labor unions:

  • HB 5023--fines striking public employees one day's pay and their union $5,000 for each day of the strike, expanding the penalties beyond the current rules that only apply to public school employees.

  • HB 5024--sets fines and restrictions on members and their unions for mass picketing.

  • HB 5025--requires an employee's annual written authorization to have their union dues deducted from their paycheck by employers.

  • HB 5026--eliminates the prohibition against employers advertising for strike breakers.

Scores of districts request teacher evaluation waiver

More than 344 public and charter school districts across the state are already asking the Governor's Council on Education Effectiveness for exemptions from adopting a uniform teacher evaluation system by 2013. The deadline for filing was Nov. 1.

The Council is charged with making recommendations for a new state evaluation system that includes a student growth component. Now they'll also be deciding which school districts will be granted a waiver.

'Stoplight' would rate schools under waiver request

Next month, the Department of Education (MDE) will submit a waiver request that proposes changes to how adequate yearly progress (AYP) is measured in Michigan.

New data lets districts link student performance to teacher

Through the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), school districts now have access to data that links students, their courses and the teacher of that course through the Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL). Currently, the data only reflects spring 2011 high school tests.

Nominations due for Human Rights and Excellence Awards

It's time to recognize outstanding achievement through the 2012 Human Rights and Excellence Awards. The awards honor outstanding programs, performance and service MEA members provide in meeting student needs.

Indiana likely to become a right-to-work state

Valiant efforts by Indiana House Democrats couldn’t stop their Republican majority from getting their way with anti-union, economy-killing, right-to-work legislation. 

Anti-union bills still in House Committee

The House Oversight, Reform and Ethics Committee heard testimony this week on HB 5023-5026, a package of anti-union bills meant to curtail the powers of labor unions. HB 5025—which requires annual written consent from employees to have union dues deducted from their paychecks—was the topic of most of the testimony.

Debate continues on cyber school expansion

With a committee room packed with cyber school supporters in yellow scarves in honor of National School Choice Week, the debate over SB 619—whether unlimited cyber schools is an element of sound education reform—continued in the House Education Committee. 

While the lineup of those testifying may change, the arguments don’t. Supporters continue to claim that cyber schools will provide more and better choices for a child’s education than a traditional school can. 
 
Critics aren’t necessarily condemning cyber schools, but they point to the lack of data to warrant the unlimited expansion of what is really an education experiment. They want the Legislature to wait until the two Michigan cyber schools have been in place for two years to study the effectiveness. The state Department of Education and the Governor agree.

Snyder gives himself an 'A' despite attacks on education

Governor Snyder used much of his State of the State address to pat himself and fellow Republicans on the back for their efforts to reinvent Michigan last year.  But his call to “finish what we started” lacked specifics—especially when it came to education.

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