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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.

MDE ‘Tiger Teams’ are ready to provide support during M-STEP window

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) says it’s ready to help schools with administration of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) as schools across the state begin the testing schedule today. Students in grades 3-8 will be tested online during a three-week window and students in grade 11 will have eight weeks to complete their tests.

MDE has set up statewide “Tiger Teams” to quickly respond to and support school districts needing help. The Team includes staff from MDE, selected ISDs, Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grants (TRIG), and Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), one of the companies which won a three-year contract to continue administering the test. The teams will respond by phone, or depending on the situation, report to schools whenever possible.

The state has been providing other supports to make sure the testing goes smoothly. Over the past three years, schools received $145 million in technology readiness grants to use to develop or improve their technology infrastructure. During that same time, more than 120,000 students have been a part of an online testing pilot. And DRC has been working with ISDs to run technology diagnostics on schools within their regions. 

Is it easy for Michigan students to find career information?

Take the online survey

The Center for Michigan, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, is looking for information from educators like you about improving career outcomes for Michigan students after high school. It’s critical that you share your ideas and opinions in an online survey they’re conducting.

The survey is part of the Center’s Community Conversations to better understand career navigation, college affordability and the opportunities and hurdles students face in getting a good job and pursuing a successful career in Michigan. 

Your responses will be confidential and not linked to you in any way. The data will be used to create a report summarizing what Michigan citizens feel about these issues. 

Go online now to complete the survey. The survey will be available until April 6.

2015 M-STEP vendors win three-year contract

The two vendors who are currently administering the 2015 M-STEP assessments won a three-year contract to continue their work. Data Recognition Corporation and Measurement, Inc. were awarded the contract by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB).

This year, the Smarter Balanced consortium content is being used for the math and English Language Arts portion of M-STEP, with Michigan-developed content aligned to state standards provident questions the for science and social studies questions. That will be the same combination for the 2016 statewide assessment.

Five companies submitted bids for the statewide testing contract. The three-year $103.7 million contract for Data Recognition Corp. and Measurement, Inc. still needs to be approved.

Whiston chosen as new State Superintendent

The State Board of Education has picked Brian Whiston, Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent, to replace current State Superintendent Mike Flanagan who retires at the end of June.

Before becoming Dearborn’s superintendent, Whiston spent 11 years as a lobbyist for Oakland Schools. He was also a school board member for Waterford Schools and taught at Wayne State University.

During his interview, Whiston expressed concern that teachers are being targeted and that needs to change. “We do need to celebrate the great things our teachers are doing. We have to celebrate the career, the field of education.”

Whiston said his first priorities will involve proposing a plan to improve student achievement and a plan to change how schools are funded.

Whiston was selected over Vicki Markavitch, Oakland Schools Superintendent, and Scott Menzel, Washtenaw Intermediate School Superintendent, for the position.

Flanagan: 'Poverty is a tough nut to crack.' Tell MEA how you're doing it!

poverty

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan told the audience gathered at the Governor's Education and Economic Summit last week that, "Poverty is a tough nut to crack," and challenged them to help underprivileged children learn.

The recent Kids Count report from the Michigan League for Public Policy  revealed that more Michigan children are living in poverty. The number of children in poverty increased by 35 percent with one in four children living in poverty and one in three qualifying for food assistance because their families' incomes are $23,600 or less a year.

The statistics on childhood hunger are equally as disheartening. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 16 million students are victims of childhood hunger.

While he acknowledged that teachers and staff see firsthand every day the impact poverty and hunger has on their students and their ability to learn, he said, "It's our collective job together."

To raise the awareness of poverty and hunger in our schools, Flanagan encouraged the audience to tell their stories. 

Tell us your story of how poverty is impacting your classroom and you on our MEA Facebook page. How are you dealing with it?

2015 MEA ESP Conference – March 13-14

You still have a chance to register for this great event with sessions designed for ESP and the chance to earn credits toward an ESP Certificate. The program includes a keynote and guest speaker and the announcement of the Leon A. Brunner winners. Limited financial help is available if you want to go. Go to www.mea.org/esp-conference to register.

Nominate an innovative program for MASB’s Education Excellence award

Friday, March 13 is the deadline for administrators to nominate teachers and their programs within your school district for an EDEX 21—21st annual Education Excellence Award. Since 1994, the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) has recognized local and intermediate public school district programs that positively reflect the innovation spirit in today’s schools and measurably improve student achievement with these awards.

Each year the Education Excellence Award recognizes 20 teachers and their programs, and this year, an overall winner will be named based on a total score. Winners receive a cash award and statewide recognition at a luncheon in their honor. They also are invited to present their program at MASB’s annual fall leadership conference.

Watch the video promotion and then download the application and encourage your school district to recognize the outstanding work going on every day. 

Happy Read Across America Day!

However you’re celebrating reading today, you’re joining more than 45 million other readers across the country who are honoring Dr. Seuss and appreciating the joy and fun of reading.

This is NEA’s 18th year of promoting reading with a special one-day celebration that also kicks off March as Reading Month. This year’s featured book is the Dr. Seuss classic, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”

And today is also the start of a nationwide search for students 5 to 18 years of age who excel in STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts and math. In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the book, Dr. Seuss Enterprises and NEA will offer a $10,000 STEAM scholarship through its “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains” promotion. Go to www.nea.org/grants to learn more.

And finally, let us know what you’re doing in your school to promote reading today, this month and all year. Share your ideas on MEA Facebook or send them to rcarey@mea.org

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