Posted on 09/15/14 at 3:12pm

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.

Posted on 09/15/14 at 3:11pm

State Board of Education (SBE) members are looking for someone with experience in education-perhaps a former local superintendent or teacher-to be the next state superintendent of instruction. Their search is expected to be completed by January 2015, well ahead of current Superintendent Mike Flanagan's retirement in July 2015.

Posted on 09/15/14 at 3:09pm

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia is making Michigan a stop on her Back to School Tour! Location details are still being finalized, but put the date on your calendar.

Posted on 09/09/14 at 12:17pm

recent EPIC-MRA poll of 600 likely voters showed that 82 percent of them believe that for-profit management companies should be required to publicly explain how they're spending the $1 billion in taxpayer dollars they're getting from the state.

Posted on 09/09/14 at 12:20pm

NEA's Works4Me is a free weekly newsletter with practical classroom tips written by teachers for teachers. There are tips and best ideas on classroom management, teaching techniques, curriculum, content, and more. When you sign up to receive the newsletter, you'll join other Michigan teachers who have already provided tips and suggestions.  

Posted on 09/09/14 at 12:21pm

The California's Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) have appealed the Los Angeles Superior Court's decision to strip state educators of their tenure rights. The action by the teacher unions follows a similar appeal by the State of California and California Gov. Jerry Brown

Two charter school companies vie for Muskegon Heights schools

By the end of this week, Muskegon Heights Public Schools Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon will have sold the entire school district to one of two for-profit charter school management companies—Leona Group or Mosaica Education. It’s an unprecedented move to eliminate the district’s $12.4 million debt and it signals the end to traditional public education for more than 1,400 students in Muskegon Heights.

The current school district would no longer exist, but would still have to pay off the debt using its local millage, a 3 percent fee from the charter school company, rent from its buildings and whatever other means the state Department of Education and Treasury approve. The charter school would be in charge of educating children and receive the district’s $7,397 per-pupil funding, but the school district would oversee the operations of the charter school company.

Stand Up for Democracy scores a win

The Michigan Court of Appeals has decided the repeal of PA 4—the Emergency Manager law—will be on the Nov. ballot—at least for now. The Court decided against convening a special seven-member panel to determine whether the referendum should be approved.

In its original decision, the Court ruled that Stand Up for Democracy, organizers of the petition drive, didn’t use the correct type size, but they were restricted by another court decision that said the type size had “to be close enough.”

The battle isn’t over. The decision could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Female legislators silenced on House floor

The business of the last day of session was sidetracked when Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) and Rep. Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga) were barred from speaking on the House floor because of their opposition to an anti-abortion bill. The two were singled out for their language and actions that Republicans claimed did not “maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives.”

Senate walks out on MPSERS vote

School districts may be faced with financial uncertainty because the Senate didn’t pass SB 1040 —an unprecedented attack on school employee retirement. When they failed to get the necessary votes, they simply walked away. Now, the supposed savings gained by shifting costs to employees and retirees won’t materialize before the June 30 budget-setting deadline for school districts.

House passes sweeping attack on school employee retirement

 

The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook regarding today’s passage of Senate Bill 1040 in the State House:

“With their passage of Senate Bill 1040 today, most House Republicans went on record in support of the single worst attack on school employee retirement security in history. 

More than 684,000 Protect Our Jobs signatures filed today

It took more than 130 boxes to hold the signed petitions turned in today to the Secretary of State, moving the constitutional amendment protecting collective bargaining one step closer to being on the Nov. ballot. The Protect Our Jobs coalition turned in 684,286 signatures -- more than twice the needed 322,609 valid signatures in advance of the July 9 deadline.

Voters silenced with passage of House bills

House Republicans passed legislation on Tuesday that affects who can vote and what groups can register people to vote. A so-called election reform package SB 751-754893823-825 will make it harder for minorities to vote and give an advantage to Republicans in the November elections.  Republicans call their partisan move “protecting the integrity of elections in Michigan” and voted down all Democratic amendments to the legislation.

SB 1040 still in limbo; contact legislators today

With reports that sides are very close to a deal, the fate of SB 1040 is still in question with only two days left for legislators to deal with the issue. The House needs to act on the bill before the Senate can finalize it.

What to do with new hires remains a point of contention in the bill. The House Republicans want to give new employees the option of the current hybrid pension plan or a plain 401(k), while the Senate Republicans want to require that they move into a 401k only plan. Both sides agree that they want to end retiree health care for new hires.

Another major difference is the House version of the bill includes provisions to pre-fund health costs and start bringing down the $45 billion unfunded liability in the system.

With only two days left before the summer legislative break, time is running out. It’s critical that you contact your Senator and Representative today and let them know the impact this bill will have on current and retired school employees and those new to the profession.

Statement from MEA President on Wisconsin recall election

East Lansing, Mich., June 6, 2012 - The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook in response to yesterday’s gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin:

“Tom Barrett’s loss to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in yesterday’s recall election, while disappointing, sends a strong signal to those who have worked to destroy collective bargaining rights and the voice of working people:  we will not forget.

Preliminary Injunction Granted on Dues Deduction Prohibition

DETROIT, Tuesday, June 5, 2012 – In a federal court hearing today, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood ruled that the Legislature violated the constitutional rights of school employees and their unions by enacting Public Act 53, which would prohibit payroll deduction of union dues for school employees only.  Judge Hood indicated that a written ruling, along with a preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the prohibition on dues deduction, would be issued tomorrow.

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