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Latest news releases and President's column.

Pontiac students and educators benefit from generous school supply donations

Pontiac Education Association member and Whitman Elementary School teacher Linda Puas said of the supply drive and Saturday’s event, “This is so sad and yet so heartwarming. You really feel ‘not alone’.”

MEA organized supply drive in response to supply shortages caused by education funding cuts

PONTIAC, Mich., Feb. 16, 2013 — On Saturday, MEA members from across Michigan stepped up to help the students and educators of the Pontiac School District. In response to a critical school supply shortage caused by education funding cuts, MEA coordinated the donation and delivery of more than $12,000 in cash and gift cards, as well as thousands of dollars more in school supplies.

A truckload of these donated supplies was distributed to Pontiac Education Association members on Saturday at UAW Local 653 in Pontiac. Donations came from MEA teachers and support staff from around the state, as well as other allies such as the United Auto Workers and even contributions from other public school students, like the student council of Utica’s Flickinger Elementary.

The massive underfunding of public education by Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Legislature has created an untenable crisis for educators and students in Pontiac.  Last year, MEA members conducted a similar supply drive for teachers and students in the Benton Harbor Area Schools.

MEA and others file lawsuit to invalidate illegal ‘right-to-work’ law

EAST LANSING, Mich., Feb. 1, 2013 — Michigan’s new “right-to-work” law should be overturned because the state Legislature violated state and federal open government laws when passing it, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the Michigan Education Association and others in Ingham County Circuit Court.

Without a single public hearing, the state House and Senate passed legislation on the afternoon of Dec. 6 to make Michigan a right-to-work state. Simultaneously that afternoon, state police barred citizens from entering the Capitol, despite state law that requires the Capitol to remain open when the Legislature is in session. In addition, partisan legislative staffers were also ordered to fill the public galleries in the House and Senate to stop regular citizens from observing the votes.

According to the lawsuit, Michigan lawmakers violated the Michigan Open Meetings Act, the state Constitution and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"By allowing state police to block citizens from entering the Capitol, Lansing politicians not only violated the basic American principles of open and transparent government, they also violated specific state and federal laws designed to protect the rights of citizens," MEA President Steven Cook said. "We're confident the courts will agree that the Legislature's actions on the afternoon of Dec. 6 constituted a clear violation of the Open Meetings Act and should be invalidated."

Statement from MEA President Steve Cook on Gov. Snyder’s State of the State address

EAST LANSING, Mich., Jan. 16, 2013 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook, in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address:

 “Governor Snyder claims he wants to build bridges, but he’s already burned them to the ground.

Critical list

 EAST LANSING, Mich.,  December 18, 2012

Conn. school shooting tragedy reinforces need for real discussions on student, employee safety

EAST LANSING, Mich., Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steve Cook in response to today's school shooting in Connecticut and the need for greater focus on student and school employee safety:

"More than 30 times since Columbine, unconscionable acts of gun violence in American schools have either ended or forever changed the lives of students and school employees. Speaking for MEA's 150,000 members, all our condolences go out to the victims and their families, as well as the entire community of Newton, as they deal with the senseless deaths of these children and educators. 

"Regardless of what the details and facts are of today's events in Connecticut, this nation must have a real conversation about guns and the safety of our students and those who care for them.

"I am a gun owner and avid outdoorsman, but something must be done to protect our children from such acts of violence.  Entire school communities -- boards, administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and students -- need to be partners in discussions to ensure our school buildings are safe and protected from these kinds of crimes, using the latest in technology and building design to secure buildings and classrooms from those who would bring harm to students, whether armed or not.

"But we need REAL solutions. Just yesterday, the Michigan Legislature passed SB 59, which allows for concealed firearms in our schools. Those who think that students and teachers will be safer with MORE guns in our schools are just plain wrong.  Thinking that teachers should carry weapons and fire on threats is a recipe for even more death -- not safety. I hope Governor Snyder understands this and vetoes SB 59, not only for the safety of our children but out of respect for those who died today in Connecticut. To sign this bill in light of this tragedy would be unfathomable."

Statement from MEA President Steve Cook on deceptive ’Freedom to Freeload’ bill

EAST LANSING, Mich., Dec. 6, 2012 — Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican leadership today announced they would push so-called “right-to-work” bills that include public and private workers while carving out exemptions for police and firefighters. Swift legislative action on these bills is already underway. The following statement can be attributed to Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook:

Statement from MEA President Steve Cook on Election 2012 outcomes

 

EAST LANSING, Mich., Nov. 7, 2012 — The following statement regarding the outcomes of yesterday’s elections can be attributed to MEA President Steve Cook:

“School employees across Michigan were more engaged in this election than any other I’ve witnessed, with huge numbers of MEA members volunteering for proposals and candidates over the past weeks.  That grassroots activism will continue in communities across this state to advocate for the great public schools that our students and our state need and deserve.

Message from MEA President Steve Cook about Election 2012 results

 


 
Dear MEA members,
 
There's no way to sugar-coat last night's loss on Proposal 2 enough to make it easy to swallow. But I will preface my comments with this -- I have never seen this organization so engaged and united. And I've never been more proud of our Association than I have been these past few months. We organized thousands of members to volunteer throughout this campaign, and that organizing will not be in vain so long as we keep our members engaged in the fight for our schools and our rights. I can only say thank you, but it doesn't seem like enough.
 
The failure to pass Proposal 2 is a bitter disappointment felt not only by you and me, but the other Protect Working Families coalition members as well. Suffice to say, the coalition simply was not able to overcome being outspent by corporate special interests who did everything they could to convince voters that Proposal 2 was about everything but collective bargaining. 
 
But the battle to protect collective bargaining is not over--it's never over.
 
 

 

MEA submits input to Governor’s school finance workgroup

EAST LANSING, Mich., Oct. 16, 2012 – Answering the call for input on education funding reform by the Governor’s Oxford Foundation school finance workgroup, MEA has submitted a comprehensive set of research-based recommendations for how to properly fund an effective public education system in Michigan.     

Statement on the legal impacts of Proposal 2

EAST LANSING, Oct. 10, 2012 —The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook regarding the “MEA memo” being used by opponents of Proposal 2 to scare Michigan voters:

“Last spring the MEA Legal Department circulated an internal memo speculating about the effects of Proposal 2. Since the MEA memo was written, the Michigan Court of Appeals has rejected a broad interpretation of the amendment saying:

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