Issues and legislation

Information on the current legislation and legislative news.

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Hyper-partisanship leads to House passage of EAA bill

The overly partisan atmosphere in the Michigan Capitol led to the state House narrowly passing legislation yesterday to expand the Education Achievement Authority — without protections for students, teachers and education support staff.

House Bill 4369, which passed by a 57-53 margin, allows the EAA to take over up to 50 public schools across the state that are deemed to be in the state's bottom 5 percent — without so much as conducting an educational audit to determine the specific problems facing the schools in question. The EAA would also be allowed to create new charter schools within two miles of a so-called "failing" school.

In addition, public school employees transferred to EAA schools would lose their collective bargaining rights. An amendment to the bill late Thursday allows current school employees hired by an EAA school to remain members of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System – but new EAA employees would not be in the system.

House could vote this week on EAA school takeover legislation

The state House may vote this week on House Bill 4369, which would create a statewide "takeover" district called the Education Achievement Authority that would take over local schools, eliminate employees' collective bargaining rights and silence the voices of local citizens.

 
MEA members are urged to contact their state representative and tell them to oppose the EAA legislation. Click here to find contact information for your legislators.
 
The EAA would be allowed to take over up to 50 public schools across the state that are deemed by arbitrary and flawed rankings to be in the state's bottom 5 percent. The bill would also allow the EAA to create new charter schools within two miles of a so-called "failing" school.

MEA supports Schor bill closing dangerous loophole in Michigan’s gun law

MEA President Steve Cook (right) addresses media at the state Capitol on March 14 about the MEA’s support for House Bill 4104, which would close a dangerous loophole that allows concealed pistol license holders to openly carry firearms in Michigan schools. With Cook is the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing.

The Michigan Education Association endorsed legislation Thursday that would close a dangerous loophole in Michigan’s gun law that allows a concealed weapons license holder to openly carry a gun in gun-free zones such as schools.

UPDATE: House committee passes EAA legislation

 

The state House Education Committee today passed House Bill 4369, which would create a statewide “takeover” district called the Education Achievement Authority. The bill will next come up for a vote before the full House of Representatives, although analysts don’t yet know when.

All of the Republicans on the committee voted in favor of the bill, with the exception of Rep. Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, and Rep. Tom Hooker, R-Byron Center, who voted “present.” All Democrats voted no, except Rep. Thomas Stallworth III, D-Detroit, who also voted “present.”

MEA members are urged to contact their lawmakers and urge them to oppose the EAA legislation. Click here to find contact information for your legislators.

Contact your legislators now — House panel could take up EAA legislation today

The state House Education Committee may vote Wednesday on House Bill 4369, which would create a statewide “takeover” district called the Education Achievement Authority.

MEA members are urged to contact their lawmakers and urge them to oppose the EAA legislation. Click here to find contact information for your legislators.

The committee is meeting at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room 519 of the Anderson House Office Building, 124 North Capitol Ave. in Lansing.

Currently a pilot program in Detroit, the EAA would be allowed to take over up to 50 public schools across the state that are deemed by arbitrary and flawed rankings to be in the state’s bottom 5 percent. The bill would also allow the EAA to create new charter schools within two miles of a so-called “failing” school.

Contact your lawmakers and tell them:

  • Rather than addressing specific problems facing local school districts, House Bill 4369 would eliminate the time-honored tradition of neighborhood schools, allowing state government bureaucrats to impose their will over local parents and communities.
  • Proponents tout the Detroit EAA’s alleged effectiveness, even though it has only been in place for a few months and has already demanded a government bailout. Under this legislation, taxpayers could be forced to bail out the statewide EAA at the expense of their own local schools.
  • The Legislature just took steps to stabilize the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System, but House Bill 4369 would destabilize the state’s pension plan by reducing the number of employees paying into the system.
  • The bill strips away basic employment rights of school employees in buildings put under EAA control, taking away their ability to provide meaningful input on issues like curriculum, class sizes and school safety. In addition, school employees transferred to an EAA school would unfairly lose the retirement benefits they’ve already paid for.

EAA school takeover legislation re-introduced

 

Months after similar bills died in the Legislature’s lame duck session, Michigan House Republicans have reintroduced legislation to create a statewide “takeover” district called the Education Achievement Authority, or EAA.

MEA members are urged to contact their lawmakers and urge them to oppose the EAA legislation. Click here to find contact information for your legislators.

House Bill 4369, introduced Tuesday by Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, would allow the EAA to take over up to 50 public schools deemed by arbitrary and flawed rankings to be in the state’s bottom 5 percent. It would also allow the EAA to create new charter schools within two miles of a so-called “failing” school.

HB 4369 would allow Lansing bureaucrats to assume many of the responsibilities currently entrusted to local school board members, parents, teachers and education support staff — all while essentially eliminating the time-honored tradition of “neighborhood schools.”

The bill fails to include an in-depth audit of existing issues in both the school building and district that are causing the lack of performance.  Rather than finding and addressing specific problems through audits, the bill simply assumes that a board and bureaucrats appointed by the governor can simply do a better job than those already doing the work – regardless of the challenges they face.

The bill removes local communities’ ability to establish education policy, direct curriculum and manage community resources, by shifting power to state and federal bureaucrats. It also does not provide any substantive local controls to establish standards, create missions and goals, monitor performance, or audit finances of new schools created by this legislation.

School employees and employers attempt to blunt negative effects of upcoming 'right-to-work' law

Three weeks remain until Michigan officially becomes a so-called “right-to-work” state and, despite interference from Republican politicians, MEA members are doing everything they can to minimize how this new law will hurt school employees and local unions

"Real State of Our State" tour coming to Lansing, Detroit and Flint

The Michigan House Democrats are continuing their listening tour throughout Michigan to garner input from citizens on ways improve public education in the face of continued political attacks against teachers and education support staff.

StudentsFirst lobbyist testifies in Lansing on same day academic review slams group’s ‘state report card’ on education

An academic review out Wednesday criticizes StudentsFirst for grading state education policies based on ideology and not hard research – the same day former state Rep. Tim Melton, now a lobbyist for the advocacy group, testified before the Michigan House Education Committee and advocated for test-based teacher evaluations.

MEA presents specific education reforms to increase student outcomes and strengthen workforce

Testifying before the House Education Committee on Wednesday, MEA Vice President Nancy Strachan outlined three specific education reforms to help improve Michigan schools: increasing investment in early childhood education; strengthening vocational, agricultural and technical education; and enhancing professional development opportunities for educators.

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