Posted on 06/01/15 at 3:53pm

Six intermediate school districts (ISD) are sharing $2 million in state grants to help with their efforts to consolidate local districts and services. The funds come from the School Consolidation Grants. Districts had to apply for the money and the six were chosen from 21 applications.

Posted on 06/01/15 at 3:52pm

NEA’s Works4ME is a weekly newsletter full of tips and ideas on a variety of topics from classroom teachers across the country.  Sign up is free and you’ll have it delivered right to your inbox. This week, the tips show how to end the school year on a positive note and what you can do now to get ready for the start of school in the fall.

Posted on 06/01/15 at 3:50pm

Register now for an Education Week webinar showing how to teach new words in context, rather than memorizing vocabulary word lists. The webinar will be held on Thursday, June 4, from 3 to 4 p.m. Literacy researchers from the University of Michigan and Michigan State’s schools of education will discuss their findings on vocabulary acquisition in the content areas. 

Posted on 05/11/15 at 3:02pm

If you’re a local president looking for guidance and support, there’s still time to get the training you and your local need through the 2015-16 Local Presidents Academy (LPA). The deadline has been extended to June 15 and all local presidents—new, experienced, EA, ESP, higher ed, with or without release time—can benefit from the program at little or no cost to participants or to the local.

Posted on 05/26/15 at 12:32pm

The Senate passed its version of a teacher and administration evaluation bill last week. SB 103 is very different from the 2014 House bills (HB 5223 and HB 5224) which received wide support, but those bills did not make it through the Senate Education Committee last year. 

Posted on 05/26/15 at 12:45pm

Three out of 10 K-12 students failed all of their online courses last year and more than 50 percent failed at least one of their virtual classes, according to Michigan Virtual University (MVU). In the 2013-14 school year, 76,122 students took online classes. 

See the video; sign the petition

If you’ve had enough of the attacks on public school employees and their unions and the middle class, the Senate Democrats want you to go www.miworkers.com to sign a petition that tells Republicans, “Enough is enough!”

Earlier this year, Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer sent out an appeal asking Michigan families to let legislators know they oppose any attempts to eliminate collective bargaining rights of our workers. Given the legislation introduced just this week, this appeal is more important than ever.

Will Richardville and Snyder clash over "right to teach?"

At a televised town hall meeting in Grand Rapids, Gov. Snyder repeated his message that Right to Work isn't on his agenda but this time in what in response to a question about Rep. Richardville's "right to teach" legislation.

Bill to prohibit payroll dues deduction on a fast track

HB 4929, which prohibits the deduction of union dues by public school employers, is on a fast track since it was moved from the House Oversight, Ethics and Reform Committee yesterday. It has been referred to second reading on the House Floor and may move to third reading today with final passage on Thursday.

 Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) introduced a similar bill--SB 636--on Sept. 8.

Introduced by Rep. John Haveman (R-Holland), HB 4929 was approved on a 4-2 party-line vote. In support of his own bill, Haveman testified that schools shouldn’t be in the business of collecting dues. The bill specifically says the dues deduction is a “prohibited contribution to the administration of a labor organization.” The Michigan Chamber of Commerce endorsed the bill but did not testify.

The anti-union attacks continue -- bills attacking dues deduction, retirement introduced

In addition to Senate Bills 618-624, which would increase the number of charter schools, privatize teachers and allow for back-door school vouchers, both chambers have introduced legislation that would prohibit school districts from automatically deducting union dues from members' paychecks.

MEA response to Richardville political attack on public education, middle class

 The following statement in response to Sen. Randy Richardville’s appearance on “Off the Record” can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook.

Richardville singles out public school employees for Right to Work FOR LESS bill

In what is probably one of the most blatant examples of anti-union, anti- school employee legislation yet, Sen. Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) says he supports right-to-work legislation that only affects public school employees and will have legislation ready soon.

In support of what looks like political payback for MEA’s recall efforts, Richardville said on PBS’s Off the Record, “The teachers union—specifically the Michigan Education Association—have lost their way and public school employees should no longer be forced to join them.”

Richardville singled out teachers unions because he claimed they haven’t recognized the state’s tough economic times like other unions have.

MEA President Steve Cook responded in a press statement this morning, “Republican leaders have slashed school funding, increased taxes, stripped collective bargaining rights from school employees, forced them to pay more out-of-pocket for retirement and health insurance. They’ve completely undermined and demoralized the educators of this state.”

President’s jobs plan to repair schools and keep educators in classrooms

 In last night's speech to a Joint Session of Congress, President Obama unveiled his American Jobs Act and further underscored his belief that investing in the American middle class is the surest path to economic recovery.  Read press release.

More of the same -- Senate introduces anti-public education bills

With the Legislature back in session, they are wasting no time pushing their so-called “education reform” agenda.

Today, Senate Republicans introduced a package of seven bills focusing on the expansion of charter schools, school choice, dual enrollment, and cyber schools; privatization of instructional staff; and siphoning of school aid funds to nonpublic school students.

Michelle Rhee hires Melton

Rep. Tim Melton (D-Auburn Hills) is resigning as a Michigan lawmaker to lead the national lobbying efforts of StudentsFirst, the supposed education reform group set up by Michelle Rhee, the controversial former Washington, D.C. chancellor.

State employees’ retiree health care deduction unconstitutional

The 3 percent deduction—or pay cut—state  employees pay for their retiree health care is unconstitutional according to the state Court of Appeals. Affirming a lower court decision, the court ruled that the deduction bypassed the state Civil Service Commission which has jurisdiction over state employees.

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