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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. 

Special members-only discounts for Valentine’s Day (Yes…it’s this Friday!)

As an MEA member you have access to members-only discounts that can save you big when you need it most.

Like when you (or someone you love) forgets that Valentine’s Day is coming up this Friday!

By logging into our members-only MEA Advantage Discount Search, you can order online and save up to 25% on flowers to be delivered on Valentine’s Day.  Other big savings are available on chocolates and other sweets for your sweetheart, as well as discounts for a romantic dinner for two at local restaurants. Check it out today – or share the info with someone you love (we’re sure they’ll appreciate your suggestion)!

If you haven’t logged in before, use your six-digit member number from your MEA membership card to log in.  If you don’t have your member number, you can sign on to Update Your Information in the Members Only area of www.mea.org to get a temporary membership card.  You can also get assistance and take advantage of the savings today by contacting the MEA Help Center at 866-MEA-HELP (866-632-4357) or through the live chat in the upper right corner of the website.

Final tweaks being made to new Members-Only interface for eDues

System outage extended until Wednesday, Jan. 29

While MEA’s membership system is back online and the automatic payments for January dues were taken on schedule this past Saturday, final changes to the members-only online interface are still being made to ensure our members have a good experience.  MEA technical staff are hard at work to get the new system online so you can access it to make changes and experience the upgraded eDues experience, including more payment options and customized monthly statements.

At this time, we expect the system to be online on Wednesday, Jan. 29.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Please come back later to log in and see the changes for yourself.  In the meantime, you can download this flyer to learn more about the new eDues system or check out our Frequently Asked Questions page about the changes coming soon.

Online registration for Bargaining Conference currently unavailable

Online registration for the Bargaining, Public Affairs & Professional Issues Conference, Feb. 6-7, at the Cobo Center in Detroit, is currently unavailable. This only affects online registration. The deadline for the $290 rate is still in effect and registrations for that rate must be received by midnight on Friday, January 24. 

Credit card payments may be faxed or emailed to Rebbecca Ernst at 517-336-4024 or rernst@mea.org. Checks with registrations may be sent to MEA Accounting Department, 1350 Kendale Boulevard, PO Box 2573, East Lansing MI 48826-2573.

After January 24, all registrations will be processed onsite at the rate of $310.  Onsite registration will be held at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center on Wednesday, February 5 (7-9 p.m.) and at COBO Center on Thursday, February 6, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

If you have any questions regarding registration, please contact Rebbecca Ernst, Registration Coordinator, at 517-332-6551, ext. 6250.

Michigan awarded grant for early childhood education

Michigan will receive $51.7 million in a federal grant in the third round of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. Five other states—Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont—are also benefitting from the $280 million total being awarded.  So far, 20 states have received grants.

This is the first time Michigan has been awarded any money from Race to the Top.  The grant, jointly operated by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, supports the education of children from birth to five years old.

In October 2013, the state submitted its grant application which set goals for the money: providing scholarships to early childhood education programs for families eligible for child care subsidies; promoting health and nutrition standards in child care facilities; and increasing participation in the state’s preschool ratings system.  It’s expected that more than 182,000 children from ages three to kindergarten from low-income families will benefit from the money.

MEA members take action to combat student poverty

Michigan teachers and support staff serving on the frontlines of education are increasingly seeing poverty among school kids as a direct obstacle to improving performances in the classroom. When school kids can’t adequately clothe themselves in winter or fill their bellies so they are prepared to learn, they will struggle to fill in the right answers on standardized tests. 

All across the state MEA members have been involved during this holiday season to make sure poverty doesn’t keep a student from getting a quality education.

MEA members in the Traverse City area are donating hundreds of food and care items to the student-run food bank at Traverse City High School, with the donations earmarked for local students and their families.

“For too many children in our community, learning is a challenge when they don’t have enough to eat in the morning or lack basic personal and school supplies,” said Mary McGee-Cullen, MEA’s UniServ Director. “Local teachers and education support professionals are stepping up to help those most in need this holiday season, because we all have deep roots in our community and we strongly believe in doing our part to make sure everyone in this community can succeed.”

MEA staff and members have been accepting donations for weeks at its Traverse City office, and have received contributions of everything from cereal to soap and shampoo.

Senate approves EAA expansion

After being discharged today from committee and taken up under general orders, the Senate voted 20-18 to expand the Education Achievement Authority. HB 4369 now allows persistently low -achieving schools to be operated by another public school or “reform/redesign district” as opposed to a private educational management organization as the EAA currently operates. The bill still allows the EAA to remain in place.

The EAA currently oversees the operation of 15 Detroit schools. While the original House version allowed the EAA to take over an additional 50 persistently low-achieving schools, the Senate’s substitute calls for a moratorium on expanding the EAA’s jurisdiction until January 2015.  After that, there is no cap on the number of schools that can be placed in the EAA and no schools would be functioning under the EAA until the 2015-16 school year.

Educators raising their hands on National Day of Action

Parents, students, educators and community leaders across the country are raising their hands and demanding more for America’s children. 

Dec. 9 is the National Day of Action, with the slogan of "Raise Your Hand for our Schools and our Solutions." Communities are demanding that those who know students best devise and implement community-driven solutions to tackle the opportunity gaps in American education.

The day of action is an outgrowth of ongoing collaboration among the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and several key community partners to mobilize support for public education, pushing back against the corporate takeover of our public schools and lifting up the voices of practitioners and communities about what is best for our students.

Together, the groups have developed "The Principles that Unite Us"—a common vision for public education. It stands in sharp contrast to the corporate agenda for public schools, market driven reform that attempts to impose a system of winners and losers. More than 100 community groups and unions have already endorsed the principles.

School employees explain why they’re sticking with MEA

MEA recently announced that despite Michigan’s so-called “right-to-work” law’s taking effect, 99 percent of MEA members have decided to remain with their union.

Teachers, education support professionals and higher-education employees who remain members enjoy numerous member-only advantages for their careers, for their rights, for their wallets and for public education.

MEA Voice asked members to explain why they decided to stick with their union. Here is a sample of responses:

  • Julie Brill, Kentwood Public Schools: “To me, my union is my family. I will stick with them through thick and thin. I also believe that collective bargaining rights are the only way to keep education strong and solid as we move forward. Having my working conditions protected means that the learning conditions for kids are protected.”

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