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FAQ on MPSERA Litigation

For Members Only

We answer some of your Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement Act Litigation.

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Free to MEA members: WebEx on Certification this Wednesday

Considering the changes in the law regarding certification, there is nothing more important than keeping your certification up-to-date. Whether your certificate expires this summer or in five years—you need to develop a plan to protect your certification.

MEA can help!

Join the free WebEx workshop for MEA members on Wednesday, May 21 at 5 p.m.  (EDS). “What Every Teacher Needs to Know about Certification” will cover how to keep your certification current; how to renew and/or progress your certificate using the new certification rules; how to use District-Provided Professional Development and SCECHs; and how to use MOECS to complete the renewal process.

You can join the online workshop for free by going to https://mea.webex.com/mea/j.php?MTID=ma224c260e491ced484d1a33039bd8f74. When asked, enter your name and email address. If a password is required, enter 12345 and then click “Join.” The WebEx will also be recorded so MEA members can view it at a later date.

CCSS Cadre available to train MEA members

The MEA Common Core Leadership and Advocacy Cadre is prepared to present five training sessions on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to Coordinating Councils, individual school staff, school board meetings, or staff on professional development days. All of the trainings are free of charge for MEA members.

The courses cover an introduction to CCSS, Common Core Literacy in the classroom; ELA and math Common Core; helping students with IEPs keep pace with their peers; and a CCSS resource session.

UniServ Directors can contact Melanie Waltz, MEA Professional Issues Organizer, at mwaltz@mea.org or at 1-800-292-1934 to arrange training for MEA members.

Want the truth about funding cuts? Ask educators!

Poll: 4 out of 5 educators have witnessed
school funding cuts in past four years
                                                                         

EAST LANSING, Mich., Oct. 15, 2014 — Roughly four out of five Michigan educators have experienced funding cuts at their school in the past four years, according to a member poll released today by the Michigan Education Association.

“If you want to know the truth about what’s really happening with education funding in our state, the people to ask are Michigan’s educators,” said MEA President Steven Cook.  “Cuts to K-12 and higher education aren’t just campaign rhetoric – they are reality experienced every day by MEA members across the state.”

In response to the question, “Thinking about the last four years, have you witnessed funding cuts to your local school district and school?", 78 percent responded that they had witnessed cuts, with 11 percent saying they had not and another 11 percent saying they were unsure. 

NEA President making Michigan a stop on her Back-to-School Tour

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia will be stopping in Flint, East Lansing, at MSU, and Plymouth. She is starting off her new term as president with visits to states to connect with members.

In Flint, Lily will be visiting Northwestern High School, once labeled a Priority School. Thanks to the efforts of the staff and students, and the partnerships with MEA, NEA and the school district, Northwestern no longer ranks in the bottom 5 percent when it comes to student achievement.  

At MSU, Lily will have the chance to meet with future educators to carry NEA’s message of “Degrees not Debt” that addresses the escalating cost of a college education. She will also meet with MEA members to discuss NEA’s role in fighting for more higher education funding.

Lily will finish her day with a meet-and-greet with Mark Schauer at the Plymouth MEA office. Members from Livonia, Plymouth and Wayne-Westland will hear from Lily and have the chance to learn more about Schauer, MEA’s recommended candidate for governor, and his plans for investing in public education.

You can follow Lily’s tour at “Lily’s blackboard”, on Twitter @lily NEA, or read her blog.

Ann Arbor teachers invite you to a rally for public schools

What does the largest class size in the world look like? Come to the Rally for Public Schools in Ann Arbor on Thursday, Aug. 28 and find out!

It's a chance to celebrate teachers, students and a new school year with Ann Arbor teachers and the Michigan Teachers and Allies for Change (M-TAC) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in downtown Ann Arbor. There will be something for the whole family-music, dancing, face painting and ice cream.

In addition to a good time, it's a chance to let legislators know about the good things going on in schools despite cuts to funding, pay freezes and increased class sizes. Lisa Brown, Mark Schauer's running mate, Rep. Jeff Irwin, and Ann Arbor EA President Linda Carter-all strong supporters of public education-will be guest speakers.

RSVP on Facebook. Come out and show your support for public education!

One third of Priority Schools no longer ranked in the bottom 5 percent

The 2014 School Accountability Scorecard released last week by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) provided good news for the 34 percent of 2013 Priority Schools which were removed from that list of lowest-performing schools. According to the Scorecard, more than 1,000 schools met targets in all areas, such as proficiency, participation, attendance, and graduation rates. 

There are 60 new Priority Schools which by law are placed under the authority of the State School Reform Office. The schools will be required to create and implement an intervention model to improve student achievement. The federally defined intervention models include transformation, turnaround, restart and school closure.

The color-coded Scorecard gives schools, districts, parents and the public a way to identify strengths and weaknesses of a school's performance. Colors are determined by points accumulated for goals met or by demonstrating improvement. Green is the highest level, indicating that most goals were met. The next level is lime, followed by yellow and orange. Red is the lowest level, indicating that few goals were met.

Evaluation bills pass the House

On a 95-14 vote today, the House passed HB 5223, the bipartisan effort to establish a statewide teacher evaluation process. And with a 96-13 vote, the House also passed HB 5224 which creates an administrator evaluation system.

The bills represent several years of work and address the teacher tenure reforms the Legislature passed in 2011. Under that legislation, 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation would be based on student growth in the 2015-16 school year.

But thanks to the work of MEA lobbyists and other work group members, 25 percent of student growth will continue to be part of teacher evaluations through the 2016-17 school year. Beginning in 2017-18, the percentage would increase to 40 percent. That represents a significant change.

On the House floor today, the only change to the bill came in an amendment requiring the Department of Education to provide a report to the Legislature in 2018 that describes the impact of this new statewide evaluation process.

The bills will now go to the Senate for consideration.

An invitation for you: BE IN OUR PICTURE!

Have you ever had a secret desire to see your face on the cover of a magazine? Or how about having thousands of people see your picture every day?

If you have—we’ve got an opportunity to make you dreams come true!

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, we are shooting the picture that will be on the cover of the 2014-15 MEA calendar. This year’s theme, “We believe in  public education,” will be brought to life with a group shot of as many MEA members and their children who want to be a part of MEA history. We want to showcase you and your commitment to public education and students.

We need bright, shiny faces of members wearing bright colors—please no T-shirts with slogans or pictures—and dressed in your regular work clothes or uniforms. Diversity is our goal.  We want a representation of all of our MEA members—from gender to race to age to job classifications.

We also want to include students, so please bring your children with you to the photo shoot.

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.”

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