Latest news releases and President's column.

President Steve Cook in the Detroit News: How to invest Michigan's surplus

Gov. Rick Snyder and state legislators find themselves with an unexpected surplus in the state budget this year.

Contrary to Snyder’s spin, this surplus is not the result of a booming Michigan economy. Michigan still has the second highest unemployment rate in the country, and our recovery is anemic compared to other states.

From The Detroit News:

Milken Award Winner

EAST LANSING, Mich., January 14, 2014 -- Rep. Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights) will have a special guest for Gov. Snyder’s State of the State speech Thursday evening.  Mark Julien, an English and Language Arts teacher at Henry Ford II High School and the 2013 Michigan recipient of the Milken Educator Award is the honored guest.

MEA names Nancy Knight as new Director of Communications and Public Policy

MEA and AFT-Michigan form formal partnership to advocate for students and education employees

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 15, 2013 — In an effort to protect and strengthen public education in Michigan, the Michigan Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan have formed a formal partnership, leaders of both unions announced Tuesday.

President Steve Cook in the Detroit News: OK-2-SAY hotline would protect Michigan kids

Recent violent attacks in schools — including last week’s shootings outside Sexton High School in Lansing — emphasize the need for a comprehensive system for addressing threats to student safety.

From The Detroit News:

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.”

6 Michigan teachers chosen for elite U.S. group to build model lesson plans, help kids and educators succeed

EAST LANSING, Mich., Sept. 17, 2013—  Six Michigan teachers have been tapped to share their cutting-edge lesson plans, methods, observations and other tips with other teachers across the nation.

State education cuts help drive financial emergency in Pontiac School District

PONTIAC, Mich., Aug. 2, 2013 — The Pontiac School District faces a state takeover after a review team on Friday found the district to be in a financial emergency.

Pontiac Education Association urges school district to pay its health insurance provider

PONTIAC, Mich., June 25, 2013 — With a critical deadline fast approaching, the president of the Pontiac Education Association is calling on the school district to pay what it owes to its health insurance provider, so that school employees and their families can continue receiving health care.

Michigan Merit Exam is outdated; state leaders must implement new Common Core standards

“The Michigan Merit Exam is outdated and doesn’t reflect the curriculum that is being taught in classrooms throughout the state, yet students and educators are unfairly being evaluated based on MME scores,” MEA President Steve Cook said.

EAST LANSING, Mich., June 25, 2013 — This week’s release of the Michigan Merit Exam results reinforces the need for lawmakers to scrap the obsolete standardized test and instead fully implement the Common Core State Standards, the president of the Michigan Education Association said today.

The MME results showed a slight decline in student test scores this year, yet a trend of improved scores over the last four years. Proficiency scores in reading, writing, social studies, math and science have swung back and forth each year, making the exam unpredictable and unreliable.

“The Michigan Merit Exam is outdated and doesn’t reflect the curriculum that is being taught in classrooms throughout the state, yet students and educators are unfairly being evaluated based on MME scores,” MEA President Steve Cook said. “It’s time for our state’s leaders to get rid of the Michigan Merit Exam and implement the Common Core State Standards.”

Michigan educators, administrators and policymakers began the process of implementing the Common Core State Standards in 2009. States must adopt the national standards in order to receive federal education funds.

Despite the fact that educators have spent the better part of three years preparing for its launch, the Legislature earlier this month irresponsibly stripped funding for Common Core implementation. Legislators left Lansing last Thursday to begin their summer vacations.