Feature

STOP EAA EXPANSION! Sign the petition now!

Despite powerful testimony from EAA teachers, education experts and parents yesterday at a special hearing with Senate Democrats at the Capitol, Republicans legislators are refusing to listen and right now are doing all they can to get enough votes to expand the EAA.

You can help stop this dangerous legislation by signing the petition at www.senatedems.com/StopEAA now and tell Republicans to vote NO on EAA.

 

Fellowship recognizes leaders in educational excellence

Have you created a successful Common Core lesson? Has student achievement in your school reached new levels? Are you looking to influence public policy on education?

American Achieves is looking for candidates for its America Achieves Fellowship for Teachers that recognizes successful teachers or principals who have proven outstanding results for students, demonstrated leadership in their school communities, and seek to expand their voice in public policy.

Consider nominating one of your colleagues, administrators or yourself for this honor. Applications must be submitted by May 18.

How should we show our appreciation to school employees?

There’s a lot of news and information out there already in preparation for May 4-11 designated as National Teacher Appreciation Week when teachers and all school employees are recognized for their contributions to public education.

But has anybody asked you lately how we should show appreciation to you for all the time and effort you put in to make sure students receive a quality education? That communities understand what great work is going on in their schools every day—and not just during school hours? That legislators realize you are not the enemy of public education?

More students are taking online classes—is that a good thing?


In the last three years, the number of K-12 students taking online courses has grown to 52 percent, according to a report to the Legislature prepared by the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. The overall number of online courses has also more than doubled in the last three years. In 2011-12, 89,921 courses were taken; in 2012-13, 185,053 courses were taken overall.

The effectiveness of online courses gets mixed reviews. For students taking a blend of online and traditional classes, the completion or passing rate was 60 percent. The completion or passing rate for non-online courses was 72 percent.

The Institute analyzed data from students enrolled in courses through the Michigan Virtual University School, students who did all of their coursework online through a cyber school, and students who took online courses through other sources, such as through their school district. Most of the students taking online courses are students who are academically behind and need to catch up on credits.

Help for Common Core available through MEA Cadre

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has an impact on virtually every facet of education, but there are still members needing assistance putting them into practice in their classrooms. Now, there’s professional development help available with the MEA Leading with Common Core Leadership and Advocacy Cadre (CCLAC). 

Through the efforts of MEA’s Professional Development/Human Rights Department, 26 MEA members were invited to join CCLAC to assist teachers across the state in dealing with the instructional and policy implications of CCSS. The Cadre is made up of teachers from across the state and will be providing professional development through online and face-to-face trainings.

Melanie Waltz, Field Services Consultant and organizer of the program, said, “The Cadre will have the opportunity to work with teachers across the state to advocate and support CCSS in a way that will have a positive impact on teachers and students.”

Dexter custodian receives Leon Brunner Award at ESP Conference

Richard Wines of Dexter is the 2014 recipient of the Leon A. Brunner Award for his contributions to ESP.

Richard Wines, a custodian at Wylie Elementary School in Dexter, was honored with the ESP Caucus' highest award, the 2014 Leon A. Brunner Award at this year’s MEA ESP Statewide Conference. The award is given to an educational support professional who has made significant contributions to ESP and has exhibited a high degree of commitment to ESP issues and concerns.

Wines is president of his local, Coordinating Council Chair, and a Region 3 member of the ESP Caucus Executive Board.

In accepting his award, Wines described MEA and its members as a family and how “the family” is at a crossroads.

“Our family is being hurt. We need to sway our family to have a reunion and start rebuilding this union.  And we can do that by engaging each member of the family,” Wines said. 

Keep children safe while they’re online

Michigan children are inundated with advertisements from alcohol, tobacco, pornography and gambling marketers through the Internet and cell phones.

The State of Michigan offers a free registry to stop adult advertisements from reaching emails, mobile phones, text messages and instant messenger addresses. At www.ProtectMichild.com, parents, educators, schools and families can sign up for this free do-not-contact service that MEA supports.

Help spread the word. Tell your colleagues, friends and school district how they can protect children and families from unwanted adult advertising.

New website shows impact Snyder’s education cuts has on every school district

Kids not CEOs

Thanks to a new online tool unveiled yesterday, parents, educators, teachers, school staff and policymakers can now see exactly how much Gov. Rick Snyder’s school cuts have hurt students in every school district across the state. Since Snyder became governor in 2011, his education cuts have impacted classroom sizes, courses and programs, staffing, and basic school supplies.

Despite Snyder’s proposed 2014-15 budget increase of an average of $111 per pupil, the new website, www.kidsnotceos.com shows that every Michigan child will still be hurt. The shortfall ranges from $129 per pupil in many districts to a high of $770 per pupil in Wayne-Westland schools. But big corporations are still enjoying Snyder’s billions of dollars in tax breaks while classrooms suffer from a lack of vital resources.

“Every Michigan parent, teacher and citizen concerned about the future of our children should go to www.kidsnotceos.com to see the facts for themselves,” said Okemos High School math teacher Lisa Crites. “Gov. Snyder’s fuzzy math shortchanges Michigan children and robs them of the chance to learn and succeed.”

In Okemos, class sizes have almost doubled and staff positions have been lost. The result is students losing out on needed individualized attention from teachers. And since budgets are tight, the district can no longer afford to purchase supplies, so Crites has spent more than $1,400 out of her own pocket to provide resources her students need.

There's still time to register for the MEA ESP Conference

ESP-coverIf you haven't registered yet for the MEA Statewide ESP Conference on March 14-15, there's still an opportunity to take advantage of sessions like "Fighting Privatization," "Grievance Processing," and "Workplace Bullying." 

Registration is $125 and financial assistance is available.

This year's Conference, "Together Everyone Achieves More. . .TEAM MEA ESP," will be held at the Somerset Inn in Troy, MI. The winner of the 2014 Leon Brunner Award will be presented at the ESP Dinner and Award Ceremony on Friday night. Bill Raabe, NEA's Senior Director of the Center for Great Public Schools will be the keynote speaker at Saturday's lunch.

Many of the sessions have been approved for Michigan ESP Center for Professional Learning credits which can be used toward MEA ESP Certification. 

OCC faculty vote ‘no confidence’ in chancellor

“After much consideration, we, as an organization, decided to publicly express our concerns about Chancellor Meyer’s lack of leadership and absence of vision for student success,” said Mary Ann McGee, president of the OCC Faculty Association.

The faculty is particularly concerned with Meyer’s lack of vision when it comes to student success. The College is missing targets on student success measures, such as graduation and retention rates and developmental education success.

The faculty filed a lawsuit to gain access to consultant reports that recommended changes to academic programs, policies, and student support services that address student achievement and future success.

According to McGee, “Meyer’s decisions undercut collaboration and represent an unwillingness to communicate that shows a lack of respect, honesty and transparency which destroys trust.” The faculty points to data which shows the College has the lowest number of instructional staff per 100 students, yet he continues to make financial decisions which negatively impact student learning. 

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