By Brenda Ortega Editor Like many mid-career teachers in Michigan today, English teacher Maureen Horan can document the decline of her income starting in 2011. Not only did her salary decrease that year, but new state laws deducted more money from her paycheck for health care premiums and retirement which ate into her take-home pay.…Details
Editor’s Note: Much has been written about educator demoralization in Michigan and across the country. Politicians have simultaneously cut education funding while increasing demands on schools and educators. The resulting effects have led to growing staffing difficulties, from K-12 teachers, to bus drivers, paraeducators, and higher education faculty. Declining pay and benefits. Large class sizes.…Details
By Brenda Ortega Editor Four years ago, MEA member Brady Crites returned to teach at his high school alma mater in Rochester after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Germanic Languages and Literature and obtaining secondary teaching certification at University of Michigan. But he couldn’t return to live in Rochester. He can’t afford it. Instead 26-year-old…Details
By Brenda Ortega MEA Voice Editor Gov. Gretchen Whitmer listed education funding along with fixing roads and other infrastructure as the top two priorities facing Michigan policymakers during her first State of the State address on Tuesday night. Everyone can see the terrible condition of the state’s roads, and the average motorist spends $562 per…Details
Editor’s Note: For anyone worried about the state of public education—especially if worry is accompanied by a feeling of powerlessness—today’s guest post accomplishes two different goals remarkably well: It entertains and inspires.
Ken Ferguson is a husband, dad, West Bloomfield School Board trustee, and a teacher/consultant for visually impaired students in Grosse Pointe Public School System. He also is a committed MEA member who signed on to be a Political Action Leader in his region.Details
By Brenda Ortega
I remember in June 2013 when Republican lawmaker – now candidate for lieutenant governor – Lisa Posthumus Lyons stood on the floor of the state House of Representatives and derided school employees with an offensive animal metaphor to portray them as greedy and lazy.
A bill was under consideration to dissolve two financially struggling school districts in cities hard hit by job and population losses – Inkster and Buena Vista near Saginaw – and disperse those students to neighboring districts.
Parents and children were about to lose their community schools, and school employees were poised to lose their jobs. None of them got much compassion or understanding from Rep. Lyons, then chair of the House Education Committee.
Lyons was opposed to a Democratic-sponsored amendment, supported by MEA, to require the neighboring districts receiving the students to interview displaced school employees for job openings and pay them according to their years of experience if hired.Details
By Brenda Ortega MEA Editor Sarah Foster easily spends $500 out-of-pocket every year buying supplies and teaching materials for her students at Andrew G. Schmidt Middle School in Fenton. “So do the other 39 other teachers here; we all do it,” the eighth-grade math teacher says. “We shouldn’t have to, but we do.” They do…Details
By Brenda Ortega
I’m appalled, angry and saddened by recent news stories and editorials about teacher absences – bashing educators again – based on one nakedly faulty and politicized “study.”
Where do I begin? By pointing out the falsehoods and misrepresentations? Explaining why teachers need sick days? Shouting from the rooftops how the public must demand an end to political attacks that continue to drive dedicated educators out of the classroom?
In my last job as an English teacher, I asked my senior honors students to grapple with Jonathan Swift, the 18th-century political satirist who combined sharp wit and intellectual courage to challenge political corruption and dishonesty among the wealthy ruling class. Think Jon Stewart in 1700s Europe.Details
By Brenda Ortega
Never underestimate the importance of a great secretary.
I already knew that was true, but a recent interview with Joan Crampton – an office secretary at Greenfield Elementary in Birmingham Schools – confirmed it a thousand times over.
Few people know the full scope of Crampton’s job as the school’s gatekeeper, enrolling students, ordering supplies, handling the budget, operating as school nurse, coordinating substitutes, and working for the principal.Details