It’s not easy finding solid footing in the early years of teaching. The job is demanding and difficult—if not impossible—to entirely master. Solving problems can feel like playing that Whack-a-Mole game. The classroom can be isolating, and it’s hard to find a work-life balance. That’s the rationale behind MiNewEd—an innovative pilot project that brings on-the-spot…
Jennifer Schwein taught kindergarten for 14 years in Riverview Community School District, where she earned an “effective” rating on every year-end evaluation she received. Yet she was pink-slipped in 2015 ahead of others—including a less experienced teacher who also scored “effective” but with lower numeric scores. Schwein, 51, still has not been recalled to a…
Changes to evaluations and tenure in Michigan over the past several years—supposedly intended to get rid of ineffective teachers—have created a culture of fear that discourages teachers from taking risks, advocating for students, and collaborating together. That is one point of consensus gleaned from thousands of MEA member responses to a survey about the evaluation…
She’s worked at Greenfield Elementary in Birmingham schools for 18 years since transitioning from her first career as a mom—a role that served as great preparation for her current job, she says. What does your job entail? My job is taking care of people. Everything else is secondary, although my responsibilities are great. I take…
By Brenda Ortega
MEA Voice Editor
The financial situation in Ypsilanti’s Lincoln Consolidated School District was dire when school employees stepped up to take hits for the team – absorbing job cuts, insurance premium hikes, pay reductions, and more in the hopes of restoring stability over a five-year period.
An old card catalog cabinet on its way to the scrap heap presented an opportunity for MEA member Deborah Lynch to start a fresh new program at Grosse Pointe Public Library, where she works as assistant circulation manager at the Ewald Branch.
By Brenda Ortega
Certified school librarians are an endangered species in Michigan.
Even as politicians have toughened academic standards and passed a strict new third grade reading law, school districts across the state have cut professional library staff to balance budgets under pressure from state per-pupil funding cuts.
Little do her Michigan friends know, but MEA-Retired member Ruth Westbrook – who worked at schools in Pontiac, Highland Park, and Troy – has lived out scenes similar to the Academy Award-winning movie Hidden Figures. Westbrook, 76, followed in the footsteps of African-American women depicted in the film, human math computers at NASA who fought segregation and discrimination to build trailblazing careers at the space agency.
Editor’s Note: A critical shortage of substitute teachers in Michigan is severely straining school districts across Michigan. Here is one teacher’s detailed accounting of the one-day impact of a missing “guest teacher” in a general education first grade classroom.