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. 

Posted on 05/26/15 at 12:56pm

With national opposition to the overuse of standardized testing increasing, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) consortium is cutting 90 minutes off its 11-hour-long assessment. It has also decided to start the testing period later in the school year. PARCC’s tests are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Posted on 05/18/15 at 3:02pm

Michigan ranks 29th when it comes to the number of high schools earning gold and silver medals according to U.S. News and World Report. Out of 834 eligible high schools, Michigan has 10 gold medal high schools and 68 silver medal schools. 

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 05/11/15 at 3:04pm

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is hosting the last in a series of webinars featuring models of Personalized Learning on May 21 from 4 to 5 p.m. Nicholas Provenzono, a Grosse Pointe Public Schools teacher and MEA member, will be presenting “Creating a Genius in Every Hour.”

Posted on 05/18/15 at 12:10pm

Since 1852, when 20 teachers came together in Ypsilanti to form what would eventually become the MEA, public school employees have joined together to win and protect basic rights that help ensure they are treated with the fairness, respect and dignity they’ve earned. 

Some charter school authorizers at risk of suspension

Fallout is still being felt two months after the release of the Detroit Free Press' report on the state's charter schools. The investigative report uncovered a general lack of accountability and transparency in how charter schools spend the more than $1 billion in state taxpayer money they receive.

One third of Priority Schools no longer ranked in the bottom 5 percent

The 2014 School Accountability Scorecard released last week by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) provided good news for the 34 percent of 2013 Priority Schools which were removed from that list of lowest-performing schools. According to the Scorecard, more than 1,000 schools met targets in all areas, such as proficiency, participation, attendance, and graduation rates. 

There are 60 new Priority Schools which by law are placed under the authority of the State School Reform Office. The schools will be required to create and implement an intervention model to improve student achievement. The federally defined intervention models include transformation, turnaround, restart and school closure.

The color-coded Scorecard gives schools, districts, parents and the public a way to identify strengths and weaknesses of a school's performance. Colors are determined by points accumulated for goals met or by demonstrating improvement. Green is the highest level, indicating that most goals were met. The next level is lime, followed by yellow and orange. Red is the lowest level, indicating that few goals were met.

MEA Matters!

It is important to be an MEA member. Our communities need an organization that will challenge school budget cuts, stand up for students, and inform the public on the status of bills in the legislature.

The E-Newsletters, MEA Voice Magazine, and other communications keep members alert! We continue to challenge educational issues such as charter school accountability, '”toxic testing”, and teacher retention.

Mackinac Center is Not Your Friend!!

By now, many of you have may have received an email from an individual named Peter Boyd, who is affiliated with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The email provides information about how you can drop your membership in the union. This email went out to school employees statewide. I have talked with other local presidents whose members received the same email.

Let me remind you of who the Mackinac Center really is.

Schools get money to try out a year-round calendar

Seven schools will benefit from a $2 million pilot program established in the new state education budget that helps them switch to an alternative school calendar. The State Board of Education is expected to approve five schools and two more schools will receive money through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to offset costs. All seven schools are moving to a year-round calendar.

New book on teacher preparation features the Michigan approach

Schools across the state will be starting a new school year in less than a month, but there’s been no further legislative action on the adoption of a statewide teacher and administrator evaluation system. And the MEAP will still be used this school year since no new statewide student assessment has been chosen that will measure student growth—a measurement that will impact teacher and administrator evaluations.

Having problems with Common Core?

While MEA members support the concept of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), many are finding it difficult to effectively implement it in their classrooms because of a lack of training or adequate resources. If you’re an MEA/NEA member, there is help.

What MEA membership means

I come from what I consider a relatively unique background.  My father is a Democrat and union organizer.  My mother is a Republican whose father didn’t see the need for a wife and mother to go to college, so as an elementary student, I witnessed the drive for and benefits of higher education.  My mother became a CPA who passed the CPA exam on her first sitting and eventually represented management.   I am a second career teacher who was in risk management for a private sector property management company before a divorce led me to teaching.  These life experi

Flanagan wants more accountability from charter school authorizers

In a meeting last week, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan made it clear to Michigan's state school authorizers that he's going to hold them accountable-especially when it comes to poor performing authorizers opening up any new schools. In Michigan, local and intermediate school districts, community colleges and public universities can authorize charter schools.

Science students can now opt out of doing animal dissections

If the State Board of Education has its way, students won't have to dissect animals in their science classes if they have moral or religious objections or other reasons. The State Board adopted the policy in May and has since gained strong support from the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 

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