Posted on 02/23/15 at 3:31pm

More Michigan children are living in poverty according to the annualKids Count report by the Michigan League for Public Policy and  funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The number of children in poverty increased by 35 percent with one in four children living in poverty and one in three qualifying for food assistance because their families’ incomes are $23,600 or less a year.

Posted on 02/23/15 at 3:32pm

The U.S. House is expected to pass a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this Friday. Unfortunately, this rewrite does nothing to help students learn or teachers teach. The focus has shifted to more testing, labeling of schools and then punishing them for their “failure,” while doing nothing to close achievement gaps.

Posted on 02/25/15 at 9:21am

If you believe our schools and safer roads are important to the quality of life in Michigan, circle May 5 on your calendar. On that day, voters will be asked to vote on a proposal that would raise over $1 billion to repair Michigan’s dangerous roads and bridges, while raising $300 million in new revenue for Michigan public schools, funded by a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax.

Posted on 02/18/15 at 3:01pm

MEA members Marcia Hudson and Linda Maniago of Avondale were awarded a $5,000 Learning and Leadership Grant from NEA for their Teacher Lab project. In this latest round, NEA awarded 16 Learning and Leadership Grants. 

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

Michigan State University scholars have created a financial health-indicator system for school districts that could be facing financial stress. The proactive system uses research and information from other states to analyze the fiscal health of school districts and is outlined in a white paper, “Knowledgeable Navigation to Avoid the Iceberg.”

Posted on 02/18/15 at 3:06pm

When you find yourself in a hole, the first step to getting out is to stop digging.

The hole I am referring to is the $1 billion taxpayers spend each year on Michigan’s experiment with charter schools. A recent report by a pro charter school group ranks Michigan’s charter school accountability law last among similar states. 

Kidsnotceos.com has data for higher ed funding losses

Since Gov. Snyder took office, higher education has had to deal with a loss of $623,235,000 in funding. In addition to employees feeling the hit of wage and benefit cuts, students at Michigan’s colleges and universities are also being impacted with hikes to their tuition. According to the House Fiscal Agency, approximately 60 percent of the tuition increases students have experienced are due to legislative-directed budget cuts. 

MEA and Ed Trust call for more training and resources for teachers

MEA President Steve Cook and Amber Arellano, Education Trust-Midwest Executive Director, agree on what Michigan students need—teachers are the key to student success and they need resources and training to be most effective. That’s just one of the issues the two organizations support; the other issues are outlined in a Bridge magazine guest commentary, “Teachers need more training and resources to teach to higher standards.”

It’s National Teacher/School Employee Appreciation Week! Thank you for all you do!

This week is a celebration of all school employees and their contributions to public education, students, the community and society in general. 

“Each year schools and communities observe Teacher Day/School Family Day with local celebrations that pay tribute to the contributions school employees make to our communities. We at MEA invite you to observe this important date by continuing the traditions of celebratory activities,” said MEA President Steve Cook.

Several days this week are set aside to recognize specific groups of school employees. Tuesday, May 6 is designated Teacher Day/School Family Day and May 7 is National School Nurse Day. 

We asked MEA members to submit their suggestions for ways schools and the public can honor schools employees. Here’s what we heard:

Cathryn Therese, from Walden AGS Fenton Schools said, “I’d like to have people—students, parents, the media—ask candidates for governor if they support teacher retirement and medical coverage; allowing teachers to have their seniority back for jobs within their schools; union rights restored, and do away with taxing teacher retirement. Not just discuss restoring funding to schools. Teachers have taken huge hits while teacher certification requirements continue to demand high levels of education and skill.”

Spring RA delegates see premiere of new MEA video

“The Truth About School Funding” was a hit with the 2013 Spring RA audience. Delegates were the first to see the production narrated by MEA Labor Economist Ruth Beier.

New guide shows how school boards can help students and families

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is a partner in the release of released a report called“Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success” which highlights specific models of how school boards can better support students.

Use NEA’s GPS to get education updates, resources and promotional materials

The Great Public Schools Network (GPS) is NEA’s free tool where members can share educational resources, create and read blogs on educational issues like Common Core and leadership, and get updates on education news.

It’s MEAP vs. Smarter Balanced; state aid vs. NCLB waiver

Battle lines are being drawn between state lawmakers and State Superintendent Mike Flanagan over the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests. Lawmakers want the test to be given next year; Flanagan says it’s not an option.

What do teachers really do? Let the public know May 5-9

It’s not too late to make plans to honor you and your colleagues’ contributions to public education during May 5-9, National Teacher Appreciation Week and on Teacher/Day School Family Day, May 6.

Schauer, Brown put education funding first

Last week, Mark Schauer, the Democratic candidate challenging Gov. Snyder in the November election, unveiled his education plan and this week he got the chance to see public education in action when he visited West Bloomfield High School. Lisa Brown, his running mate for lieutenant governor, joined him on the tour.

President Steven Cook in the Detroit News: Michigan schools aren't moving forward

Michigan schools have been far too slow to adapt to the changing world, Cook writes. (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)

The nonpartisan advocacy group, Education Trust-Midwest recently issued its “State of Michigan education report.” The findings are disturbing.

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