Posted on 12/16/14 at 12:49pm

The Michigan Department of Education's (MDE) special education rule changes did not make it through a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) and will have to be reintroduced next year. MDE wanted the rule changes to clarify language and help carry out federal law.

Posted on 12/16/14 at 12:52pm

How charter management companies spend more than $1 billion dollars in state taxpayer dollars is again the focus of a news article in the Detroit Free Press. "Public money for schools buys private property" uncovers the arrangement National Heritage Academies (NHA) has with its schools. NHA, not the school, owns the school buildings and the contents, even though that's all been purchased with taxpayer money.

Posted on 12/01/14 at 11:59am

The University of Michigan's College of Education received a $1.1 million grant to improve how teachers are trained. U-M will use the money to work with other states to change what's required of new teachers and how they receive mentoring once they're in the classroom. Hopefully, Michigan will be one of those states. 

Posted on 12/04/14 at 12:21pm

In a letter to members of the House of Representatives today, MEA President Steve Cook and AFT-Michigan President David Hecker are urging members of the House of Representatives to oppose HB 5111 if it continues to require retention of third grade students who are not reading at grade level. Both MEA and AFT are instead recommending early intervention with a reading improvement plan that is adequately funded on a long-term basis.

 

Posted on 12/08/14 at 2:50pm

Too much time and too little money keep most college students from earning a degree in four years according to Complete College America’s report, “4-year degrees now a myth in American higher education.” 

Posted on 12/08/14 at 2:51pm

Don’t be taken in by a message to “coaches, teachers, and other interested parties” from a “Scholarship Selection Committee” offering scholarships to “Michigan High School Seniors.” MEA is not involved with nor endorses this program.

No retirement contribution refund for public school employees

As of right now, public school employees will not be getting a refund of their 3 percent retirement contribution that state employees are getting. We are still awaiting a decision on our issue from the Michigan Court of Appeals who heard oral arguments on Oct. 19.

Legislature goes home for the holidays

Legislature goes home for the holidays

After lifting the cap on charter schools, the Legislature finished its business for the year today without doing any more harm to public education, students and public education employees and their unions.

The Senate did not take up HB 4929, legislation to end payroll deduction for union dues, or any of the litany of other anti-union bills under consideration.  And the House took no action on SB 619 (unlimited expansion of cyber schools).  But rest assured the debate over further attacks on public education, unions and the middle class will restart in the New Year.

The Legislature will be back in session January 11, 2012. For now, there is peace in Michigan.

SB 618 on its way to Gov. for signature

SB 618—the bill to lift the cap on charter schools—is on its way to Gov. Snyder for signature and it is no gift for public education or the students of Michigan.  The bill, with changes, passed the House last night on a 58-49 vote, and today with the Senate’s concurrence, the bill heads to the Governor who is expected to sign the bill into law.

Call your state rep NOW to oppose SB 618

The pressure is building in the state House to pass SB 618, the bill allowing for unlimited expansion of charter schools.  There are still several Republican representatives who are opposed to the bill's provisions that remove the cap on charters without increasing accountability measures.  But they are under intense pressure to vote in favor of SB 618.

Call your state representative right away -- contact information can be found at http://bit.ly/sBEt9 . Urge them to vote no on SB 618.  Tell them that unchecked expansion of charter schools will hurt your district and your students, siphoning even more resources away from our neighborhood schools.

Take action now!

It’s going to be a busy week at the Capitol!

This week represents that last legislative days for 2011 and there are issues which could see action this week.

  • SB 618 may be up for a vote in the House, but so far there don't seem to be enough votes to support it. The idea of removing the cap on charter schools is meeting resistance from legislators who are concerned about the impact that throwing open the doors to charters will have on traditional public schools. President Cook has sent a letter to state representatives urging them to vote "no" on SB 618 and reaffirming our opposition to the bill. That letter, along with messages to your representatives seems to be having an effect, but we can't stop the efforts. Contact your representatives. Find out where they stand on SB 618. If they oppose it, thank them for their vote and ask what kind of support they need. If they agree with taking the cap off charter schools, tell them true education reform is based on sound research that says small class sizes, more and better teacher training, greater parental involvement and adequate resources for student earning yield the greatest results for our students.
     

State Board of Education skeptical of SB 619

The state Board of Education has passed a resolution opposing SB 619, which lifts the cap on cyber schools.

Ban on domestic partner benefits passes House

With the House’s passage of HB4770 today, the state, public schools, counties and other local governments cannot provide medical benefits for domestic partners.

MEA General Counsel advises Council on Educator Effectiveness

MEA’s General Counsel, Arthur Przybylowicz, was one of several speakers today at the first meeting of the Governor’s Council on Educator Effectiveness.

Prohibition of payroll PAC deduction moves to House floor

The House Redistricting and Elections Committee reported out HB 5085 and 5086 with substitutes to the House floor on party-line votes. The bills would prohibit school districts from payroll deducting employee’s political action contributions.

Cook cautions legislators to 'tread lightly' on cyber school movement

 

For two days, the House Education Committee has heard testimony on SB 619, the legislation to lift the cap on cyber schools. While what most of what the Committee has heard came from parents, teachers, students and providers of cyber schools who fully endorse the legislation, today MEA submitted written testimony from President Cook along with research showing that cyber schools are not the great educational miracles many legislators are claiming and calling for more accountability in their operation.

“Our state leaders should tread very lightly when deciding whether to divert scarce educational resources into virtual schools. And they should tread very lightly before turning our kids into guinea pigs for corporate education experiments,” warned Cook.

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