Posted on 04/21/14 at 4:43pm

This month, university students looking to teach in Michigan took a new, more rigorous teacher certification test. It was first administered last October and pass rates fell from 82 percent to 26 percent. All education majors have to take the test to become student teachers.

Posted on 04/07/14 at 11:30am

We’re moving into the last months of the legislative session before policymakers take a summer break.

Posted on 04/21/14 at 4:46pm

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4-11 when teachers and all school employees are recognized for their contributions to public education. Last week, we asked for your suggestions on how best students, parents, the community and the media can show their appreciation for all that you do.

Posted on 04/14/14 at 1:39pm

The Michigan School Safety and Bullying Prevention Summit will be held at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing on Monday, April 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Posted on 04/14/14 at 1:37pm

If the Legislature provides the funding, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will implement a new plan to help school districts with budget deficits. The plan is part of Gov. Snyder’s budget recommendations. Currently, there are 46 school districts with budget deficits.

Posted on 04/14/14 at 1:40pm

If you’re looking to get involved in a community event that promotes safety and a healthy habit, consider signing up for the National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 7. In Michigan, the event is sponsored by the Michigan Fitness Foundation to make communities more walkable and “bikeable.”

Leon A. Brunner Award

The Leon A. Brunner Award was established in 1988 by the MEA/ESP Caucus Executive Board to recognize Michigan’s Educational Support Professional (ESP) who have made significant contributions to ESP and have exhibited a high degree of commitment to ESP issues and concerns while promoting ESP and having dedication to ESP members.

Nominations for ESP award due Feb. 7, 2014.

Download a nomination form.

 

Volunteer your time for the repeal of EM!

We're in the home stretch. Efforts to gather petition signatures for the repeal of the Emergency Manager Law continue. There are still opportunities to volunteer to make sure there are enough certified signatures.

How will Indiana influence RTW in Michigan?

It would be in our best interest to monitor the "Right To Work For Less" (RTW) movement in neighboring Indiana since several Republican legislators have already said, "As Indiana goes, so goes Michigan." Indiana would be the 23rd state to impose RTW, which allows workers to benefit from negotiated contracts without paying their fair share.

In 1995, the Indiana Legislature passed a RTW law for teachers. The current proposal would expand to include all workers.  Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is leading the charge on the issue now with commercials. Hearings on the proposed bill are currently underway. On the first day of session, House Democrats protested the legislation by choosing not to attend sessions and denying a quorum for voting. Thousands are expected to protest at the Statehouse despite the imposition of new security regulations and capacity limits. In addition to other labor groups, the NFL Players Association has come out in opposition to the legislation--the Super Bowl will be played in Indianapolis on Feb. 5.

Two views of teacher compensation

As long as there are continued education funding cuts and tight budgets, teacher salaries will be scrutinized and debated. Two new studies add fuel to both sides of the issue.

Workgroup to review quality of charters and all public schools

Quality and accountability were key issues during the debate on SB 618 to lift the cap on charter schools. The only amendment to pass dealing with the issues created a bicameral, bipartisan workgroup focusing on “improving the educational quality in all public schools for all pupils.”

Appeals court rules therapists can’t be privatized

By a 2 to 1 majority, the Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) decision that occupational therapists and physical therapists are not subject to the privatization provisions of PA 112, which makes bargaining over the privatization of non-instructional employees a prohibited subject. Court of Appeals Judges William Murphy and Donald Owens offered the majority opinion with Judge Kathleen Jansen offering the dissenting opinion.

Right to Work may surface as Labor Freedom Act

Look for the Labor Freedom Act to surface in January if the Michigan Freedom to Work (MIFTW) group has any say. Their goal is to turn Michigan into a right-to-work state and they are encouraging Republicans to take up the legislation.

Changes to school retirement among legislative goals

Changing the retirement health benefits of school employees is one of the legislative goals House Republicans have set for this year.

More changes to public education in Snyder’s new proposals

Last year’s legislative onslaught of so-called education reform proposals shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In his April 2011 special message on education reform, Gov. Snyder gave marching orders to legislators to lift the charter school cap, overhaul teacher tenure, tie teacher evaluation to student performance, encourage unchecked growth of cyber schools and tie funding to student achievement.

Now, eight months later, Snyder has updated his list of education reform proposals to reflect legislative changes. He’s also added some new initiatives which give us a glimpse into this year’s political agenda. His emphasis is still on alternative forms of education—especially cyber schools—which dismantle public education and sell it off to private companies.

No education funding cuts next year?

Given the legislative attacks of the past year, it's hard not to be skeptical when we get news that Gov. Snyder says that his next budget won't include funding cuts to public schools and universities. He wants to roll out his budget proposal sometime in Feb.

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