Posted on 11/25/14 at 10:53am

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that the state has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education to struggling students in Highland Park schools. The court said Michigan has no constitutional requirement to make sure students learn reading skills. It is obligated, however, to establish and finance a public education system.

Posted on 11/17/14 at 2:57pm

Lack of adequate education funding has not only impacted class size, staffing and programs, it has also hit school transportation budgets. The result is more Michigan school buses flunking the latest round of state safety inspections.

Posted on 11/10/14 at 4:38pm

The Senate and the House are both considering legislation which would give high school students certification in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) on their diplomas. If such legislation becomes law, it would make Michigan the first state in the country to offer STEM certification. 

Posted on 11/26/14 at 12:10pm

MEA members entered more than 100 pieces of art for the 2013 MEA/Michigan Art Education Association Art Acquisitions Purchase Exhibition, with the “Best in Show” award going to Colleen Redfield, an education support professional from Stockbridge.

Posted on 11/03/14 at 4:19pm

Eleven Michigan charter schools met the Michigan Department of Education’s (MDE) deadline for fixing administrative issues like posting documents on their websites, but they could still face suspension this month over academic performance. State Superintendent Flanagan plans to meet with the authorizers of those 11 schools before deciding whether authorizers would be barred from opening any new charter schools until all issues are addressed.

Posted on 11/03/14 at 4:20pm

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) are promising to work together to improve assessments at the state and local levels. One of their specific commitments is to evaluate state assessment systems for quality and coherence. The two groups will partner with districts to review their assessments.

School districts turn charter

Highland Park is the second Michigan school district taken over by Emergency Manager intent on turning it into a charter school district. It joins Muskegon Heights in a dangerous precedent-setting move of selling off its staff, students, and buildings to the lowest bidder. 

SB 1040--it's not over yet

The House passed their version of SB 1040 on June 14—the last day of session—and it was expected that the Senate would do the same. But they didn’t. They adjourned without having taken any action because they didn’t have the votes to pass it. Some Senators still oppose the House’s move to keep new hires in a hybrid pension plan. They would prefer new hires be stripped of any pension and be put into a defined contribution 401(k) plan. 

Until July 18, legislators are back in their home district talking to constituents and campaigning to save their seats. It’s a good time to make face-to-face contacts with your legislators and let them know how financially destructive SB 1040 is to current school employees, retirees and future education employees. Tell them using school employees to fix a systemic problem with the retirement system—one they didn’t create—is not fair.

Business groups calls POJ 'radical, deceptive'; wants it off the ballot

Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution (CPMC) wants Michigan's Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to keep the Protect Our Jobs constitutional amendment off the ballot in November. They contend the campaign's petition didn’t identify the 80 laws that would be repealed by such a move, and therefore, duped petition signers.

Highlights of SB 1040

The Senate and House will convene on July 18 and presumably take up SB 1040(H3).   The attached highlights the changes adopted by the House and hopefully will provide some clarity around the issues that may be in play once the legislature convenes in July.   

Read Highlights of SB 1040 as passed June 14, 2012.

Highland Park school district goes charter

Another Michigan public school district has chosen to sell its schools to the lowest charter company bidder. Highland Park school district will become the second charter school district, following the lead of Muskegon Heights schools.

MDE issues changes to teacher certification

On May 18, the state Department of Education (MDE) finalized the implementation of new laws relating to teacher certification. The new laws impact teachers moving from a Provisional teaching certificate to a Professional Education teaching certificate and to those teachers renewing their Professional Education certificate. Both changes are effective Sept. 1, 2013.

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.

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