Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:58pm

You only have until July 14-next Tuesday-- to register for MEA's 2015 Summer Leadership Conference, "Power from the Past-A Force for the Future." The Conference is scheduled for July 28-30 at Lake Superior State College in Sault Ste. Marie.

Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:57pm

Public Sector Consultants, a non-partisan public policy research firm in Lansing, has released a report offering financial recommendations and policy proposals to move Michigan forward. This comes on the heels of new State Superintendent Brian Whiston's goal of making Michigan one of the top 10 states in the next 10 years.

Posted on 07/06/15 at 2:56pm

The Senate's version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) will finally get a hearing on the full U.S. Senate floor starting tomorrow on July 7. In mid-April, the Senate Education Committee approved the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) a week after it was introduced by co-sponsors Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). 

Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:25pm

Two weeks ago, Gov. Snyder's education advisor led House Education Committee members to believe that the Governor opposed SB 103, the teacher evaluation bill sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), chair of the Senate Education Committee. Under direct questioning, Karen McPhee replied that Snyder did not support the bill in its present form. 

However, last week his media spokesperson said that Gov. Snyder has taken no position on SB 103, but would support some changes to the bill. So far, the bill has had four hearings in Committee that still has not voted to discharge the bill.

Pavlov's bill emphasizes local control with districts allowed to choose whatever evaluation tool they wish. There are no provisions for training and no standards by which to judge those evaluation tools. MEA lobbyist Christina Canfield spoke in opposition to the bill, saying the bill is not in the best interest of teachers or children.

Last year, the House plan for teacher evaluations was very different from SB 103. That set of evaluation bills never made it through lame duck last year. Those bills set standards for the evaluation tools districts use; emphasized training for evaluators; and created a much fairer evaluation system for teachers. The MEA remains hopeful this year's House Education Committee will introduce similar amendments to SB 103.

Posted on 06/29/15 at 12:26pm

This Wednesday, Brian Whiston takes over as the new State Superintendent. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, he talks about standardized testing, school funding, charter and cyber schools, deficit schools and teacher evaluations.

Posted on 06/30/15 at 9:19am

With the passage of Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act in 1965, teachers finally went from begging to bargaining. Thanks to PERA, all public school employees have the right to negotiate for fair wages, quality health care benefits and decent working conditions.

New school safety initiative now in place

OK2Say, the new student safety reporting system, was rolled out this month across the state. The new program will give students and adults a confidential way to report threats of violence in schools.  

NEA President tells Michigan, ‘I’m proud to tell your stories!’

Thanks to NEA members in Flint, at MSU, and in Livonia, Plymouth, and Wayne-Westland, NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia left Michigan on Sept. 24 with a pretty good idea of the successes, the challenges, and the future of education in the state. Lilly made Michigan one of her last stops on her three-week Back-to School Tour which has given her a chance to connect with members across the country.

President Steven Cook in the Detroit News: Under GOP, Pure Michigan is in decline

Pure Michigan in pure decline. That is how one prominent writer described the state of our state.

After reading the facts spelled out in a report released by the East Lansing-based nonprofit group Prima Civitas, it would be hard to argue with that assessment. The group, which promotes competitiveness and innovation in government and industry, analyzed several aspects of Michigan’s economy. The report, “Michigan Dream at Risk,” should serve as a wake-up call to policymakers and voters in the fall election.

Read the entire article.

Schools falling victim to scam involving CCSS and fraudulent book orders

Schools across the country, including Michigan, are falling victim to a scam by a Las Vegas company sending phony invoices to schools for workbooks they never ordered. The company is called Scholastic School Supply, similar to Scholastic, Inc., which is a well-known publisher for educational books, magazines and other materials. Michigan is one of 22 states that have received the phony invoices.

Use your NEAMB discount to order classroom items

One of the advantages of your MEA/NEA membership is being able to order classroom items from Smile Makers, an official partner of NEA Member Benefits (NEAMB).

Free Press editorial calls for putting children first with charter school reforms

On Sept. 21, the Detroit Free Press published an editorial, “Put our children first,” urging lawmakers to consider reforms on how charter schools are authorized, operated and managed. Legislation has just been introduced which calls for a moratorium on the creation of any new charter schools until those issues are addressed.

NEA President making Michigan a stop on her Back-to-School Tour

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia will be stopping in Flint, East Lansing, at MSU, and Plymouth. She is starting off her new term as president with visits to states to connect with members.

In Flint, Lily will be visiting Northwestern High School, once labeled a Priority School. Thanks to the efforts of the staff and students, and the partnerships with MEA, NEA and the school district, Northwestern no longer ranks in the bottom 5 percent when it comes to student achievement.  

At MSU, Lily will have the chance to meet with future educators to carry NEA’s message of “Degrees not Debt” that addresses the escalating cost of a college education. She will also meet with MEA members to discuss NEA’s role in fighting for more higher education funding.

Lily will finish her day with a meet-and-greet with Mark Schauer at the Plymouth MEA office. Members from Livonia, Plymouth and Wayne-Westland will hear from Lily and have the chance to learn more about Schauer, MEA’s recommended candidate for governor, and his plans for investing in public education.

You can follow Lily’s tour at “Lily’s blackboard”, on Twitter @lily NEA, or read her blog.

The Role of Standardized Testing

Teachers need tests to determine if students have learned what was expected of them and if it is the right time to move on to the next objective. 

The data gathered from tests identifies areas of difficulty, which can help teachers adjust instruction for subsequent cohorts of students. Tests show teachers which students are achieving and the instructional strategies that are effective. Results from standardized tests can help inform educational policy, school improvement, or instructional practice and develop an action plan.

Culture of Reading program offers free books to promote literacy

This year's Michigan Reads! Book of the Year, "Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band" is available for free to early childhood education and elementary school teachers through the Culture of Reading grant program. Students in selected early childhood through third grade will receive their own classroom copies.

 

Michigan Youth Arts offering grants for school art supplies and equipment

Grants of up to $2,500 for arts-related equipment or supplies to be used in schools are available through Michigan Youth Arts with assistance from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). "Art Equipment & Supplies Grant" applies to performing arts subjects like instrumental music, vocal music, theatre, dance, creative writing, media arts, special education and more.

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