Posted on 07/28/14 at 5:45pm

According to the latest KIDS COUNT Data Book published by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, Michigan ranks 32nd when it comes to a child's overall well-being compared to other states. Michigan dropped one slot in ranking from last year, making it the worst-performing state in the Great Lakes region. 

Posted on 07/28/14 at 5:46pm

Michigan isn't the only state looking to establish stricter guidelines for charter school authorizers. A policy brief by the Education Commission of the States (ECS), reports that while 42 states have charter school legislation, only  33 states have authorizing bodies that are responsible for approving and overseeing charters schools. But only 15 of those states have set standards for authorizers.

Posted on 07/28/14 at 5:47pm

More families will be able to qualify for free and reduced-priced meals with the new household income guidelines established by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). The guidelines will determine eligibility for the 2014-15 school year and will be effective through June 30, 2015.

Posted on 07/21/14 at 11:40pm

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is advising teachers not to change their lesson plans, despite the fact that the MEAP, instead of Smarter Balanced assessments, is being used next spring. The Legislature made that choice when they passed a state budget that requires the MEAP. MDE previously recommended Smarter Balanced.

Posted on 07/21/14 at 11:51pm

The Great Lakes Center annually releases a recommended "summer reading list" for educators. The list evaluates the so-called education reform movement and whether or not those reforms really work.

Posted on 07/15/14 at 11:23am

The Sunday, July 13 edition of the Lansing State Journal covered the issue of teacher evaluations in its "A Greater Lansing Outlook" section. Included is a column by MEA President Steve Cook, "Teachers support bills for fair evaluations," highlighting MEA's involvement in writing HB 5223 and HB 5224. 

What is Quality Professional Development

Professional development is defined as those processes and activities designed to enhance the professional knowledge, skills and attitudes of educators to improve the learning of students.  In order to accomplish this, professional development should be deliberate and intentional based on a clear vision of purpose and planned goals.

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

MEA Headquarters closed

‘Dear Gov. Snyder: Here’s my holiday wish for public education. . .’

What suggestions for improving public education would you offer Gov. Rick Snyder?

Well, MEA members from across the state wrote their ideas in special holiday gift messages that were delivered to him last week. Just some of the ideas teachers and support staff recommended included reducing class sizes, providing enough funding for schools and classroom supplies, and addressing social issues such as poverty and nutrition.

Michigan report shows increase in assistance for hungry students

Key to strengthening education is ending poverty among students. After all, children can’t devote their full attention to their studies if they’re too busy worrying about where their next meal will come from or whether they’ll have basic supplies like winter coats and soap. 

MEA members take action to combat student poverty

Michigan teachers and support staff serving on the frontlines of education are increasingly seeing poverty among school kids as a direct obstacle to improving performances in the classroom. When school kids can’t adequately clothe themselves in winter or fill their bellies so they are prepared to learn, they will struggle to fill in the right answers on standardized tests. 

All across the state MEA members have been involved during this holiday season to make sure poverty doesn’t keep a student from getting a quality education.

MEA members in the Traverse City area are donating hundreds of food and care items to the student-run food bank at Traverse City High School, with the donations earmarked for local students and their families.

“For too many children in our community, learning is a challenge when they don’t have enough to eat in the morning or lack basic personal and school supplies,” said Mary McGee-Cullen, MEA’s UniServ Director. “Local teachers and education support professionals are stepping up to help those most in need this holiday season, because we all have deep roots in our community and we strongly believe in doing our part to make sure everyone in this community can succeed.”

MEA staff and members have been accepting donations for weeks at its Traverse City office, and have received contributions of everything from cereal to soap and shampoo.

Kids are the Key

Senate approves EAA expansion

After being discharged today from committee and taken up under general orders, the Senate voted 20-18 to expand the Education Achievement Authority. HB 4369 now allows persistently low -achieving schools to be operated by another public school or “reform/redesign district” as opposed to a private educational management organization as the EAA currently operates. The bill still allows the EAA to remain in place.

The EAA currently oversees the operation of 15 Detroit schools. While the original House version allowed the EAA to take over an additional 50 persistently low-achieving schools, the Senate’s substitute calls for a moratorium on expanding the EAA’s jurisdiction until January 2015.  After that, there is no cap on the number of schools that can be placed in the EAA and no schools would be functioning under the EAA until the 2015-16 school year.

Defunding Higher Education

The combination of lower state appropriations and higher tuition is forcing Michigan’s colleges and universities to look elsewhere, primarily to corporations, for funding. As a result, middle class families struggle to afford what used to be a widely available option. Defunding Higher Education - Privatization Through Neglect? examines whether this trend is effectively privatizing higher education.

Educators raising their hands on National Day of Action

Parents, students, educators and community leaders across the country are raising their hands and demanding more for America’s children. 

Dec. 9 is the National Day of Action, with the slogan of "Raise Your Hand for our Schools and our Solutions." Communities are demanding that those who know students best devise and implement community-driven solutions to tackle the opportunity gaps in American education.

The day of action is an outgrowth of ongoing collaboration among the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and several key community partners to mobilize support for public education, pushing back against the corporate takeover of our public schools and lifting up the voices of practitioners and communities about what is best for our students.

Together, the groups have developed "The Principles that Unite Us"—a common vision for public education. It stands in sharp contrast to the corporate agenda for public schools, market driven reform that attempts to impose a system of winners and losers. More than 100 community groups and unions have already endorsed the principles.

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