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MEA urges state Legislature to take swift action on Student Safety Act

EAST LANSING, Mich., Sept. 19, 2013 — The Michigan Education Association is urging state lawmakers to take immediate action and pass the Student Safety Act, which would establish a new tip line and an online interface to allow students to anonymously report safety threats.

This week’s shooting near Lansing’s Sexton High School emphasizes the need for a comprehensive program to address threats to student safety.

The state Senate in June unanimously passed legislation to create the program, dubbed “OK-2-SAY.” Since then, Senate Bill 374 has sat dormant in the House Appropriations Committee.

 “Safety is one of the most pressing issues facing our schools, and indeed our society,” MEA President Steve Cook said. “Teachers and education support professionals can’t help students reach their full academic potential without a safe learning environment in place. MEA strongly supports the Student Safety Act and urges Michigan lawmakers to make its passage a top priority.”

Cook in Detroit News: Proposed evaluation system can work if it’s fully funded

A proposed new system for evaluating teachers can be a major step forward to achieving fair and reliable evaluations, but only if proper funding is in place, MEA President Steve Cook wrote in a column published Wednesday in the Detroit News.

State Senate finally passes Medicaid expansion, benefiting students and working families

After months of delay and political threats by Tea Party extremists, the state Senate on Tuesday narrowly passed a Medicaid expansion plan that will extend health care to about 400,000 low-income Michigan citizens.

Action alert: Congress set to vote on ESEA reauthorization next week

 

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote next week on re-authorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known it is current incarnation as “No Child Left Behind,” and MEA members have an opportunity to make their voices heard.

Senate passes legislation to dissolve Buena Vista and Inkster school districts

The state Senate narrowly passed legislation Wednesday to dissolve the Buena Vista and Inkster school districts and leave employees in those dissolved districts without jobs in the receiving districts.

House rams through bills to dissolve school districts without transferring employees

House Education Committee Chairwoman Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, referred to school employees as “hogs” in a floor speech late Thursday night.

After the chair of the House Education Committee referred to school employees as “hogs,” Republicans in the state House rammed through legislation late Thursday night that would dissolve the Buena Vista and Inkster school districts and leave employees in those dissolved districts without the right to a job in the receiving districts.

Under House Bill 4813 and House Bill 4815, the state superintendent and state treasurer could decide to dissolve a troubled school district if the district fails to submit a deficit reduction plan or is financially incapable of implementing such a plan; lacks the funds necessary to run a K-12 program for a year of required instructional hours; and has 2,500 students or fewer and lost at least 10 percent of its students over the course of a year.

The legislation is crafted so that only Buena Vista and Inkster qualify for dissolution. Initially, it would have applied to any school district in the state, but MEA successfully fought to have it narrowed.

A dissolved district’s students and property would be transferred to one or more nearby districts.

School employees in the dissolved districts would not have rights to jobs in the receiving district — even though their district dissolved through no fault of their own. The legislation initially protected school employees in the dissolved districts by providing them with the right of first refusal for jobs in the receiving district, but an amendment by state Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama, stripped away all employee protections.

Franz’s amendment was fully supported by House Education Committee Chairwoman Lisa Lyons, R-Alto. In response to school employees’ concerns, Lyons said from the House floor: “Pigs get fat — hogs get slaughtered.” 

Lawmakers demand Snyder put brakes on EAA expansion

State lawmakers are calling on Gov. Rick Snyder to step away from his plan to expand the Education Achievement Authority, following a series of startling revelations about the corporate-backed school district.

Snyder must veto proposed ban on Common Core or every school will fail to meet AYP

Every school in Michigan will fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress and will lose federal aid unless the governor vetoes a part of the budget passed by the Legislature that strips funding for implementing the Common Core State Standards.

MEA members are asked to contact Gov. Rick Snyder immediately and urge him to restore funding for Common Core implementation. Call him at (517) 373-3400 or email him via the form on his website.

School employees have spent the better part of three years preparing for the launch of Common Core. Unless Snyder vetoes the Legislature’s budget language and restores funding for Common Core implementation, all of the prep work put in by educators will be for naught.

Education budgets go to governor’s desk for approval

The House and Senate this week passed education funding bills that provide slight increases for K-12 schools, community colleges and universities — but still fall short of providing proper funding for public education.

Education budgets go to governor’s desk for approval

The House and Senate this week passed education funding bills that provide slight increases for K-12 schools, community colleges and universities — but still fall short of providing proper funding for public education.

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