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  • MEA-Retired Members at the Capitol

  • Annual Meeting Delegates at Work

  • MEA-Retired Members at the Capitol

  • Annual Meeting Delegates

  • MEA-Retired Members March Against Arming Teachers

  • Bd of Directors Meeting March 14

MEA-Retired’s Annual Meeting – April 9th

Apr 08, 2018

The 35th MEA-Retired Annual Meeting was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lansing on Monday, April 9th.  Approximately 200 lifetime NEA/MEA members from all over the state were in attendance.

During the business meeting, the Delegates approved the MEA-Retired Budget for 2018-2019, approved the 2017 Annual Meeting minutes, approved changes made to the MEA-Retired Constitution and Bylaws, and elected delegates to represent MEA-Retired on the MEA PAC Council.  Delegates received updated information on current legislative and retirement issues facing retirees.  Several speakers addressed the membership.

ORS Letter

Mar 30, 2018

The Office of Retirement Services {ORS} recently send all retirees a letter which details that they have received a Freedom of Information Act {FOIA} request from the following company.

Steven Schupbach
American Transparency
P.O. Box 970999
Boca Raton, FL 33497-0999

The request specifically asks for: “An electronic copy of any and all retired public school employees which are paid a monthly pension annuity broken down by employee and year, in electronic format and emailed for the year 2017. This data should include the following data items: first name, middle initial, last name, retirement date, year, hire date (or pension start date), last employer name, last employer zip code and monthly annuity amount.” To read the entire letter click here.

Retirees DO NOT have to provide information to this company. You may be contacted by this company, but you have no obligation to respond to them in any fashion. 

 

Bill Would Make Needed Improvements to Evaluation Law

Mar 19, 2018

Bill Would Make Needed Improvements to Evaluation Law

The percentage of a Michigan teacher’s evaluation that is tied to student test scores would remain at 25 percent instead of jumping to 40 percent next fall, under legislation recently introduced at the recommendation of MEA. 

House Bill 5707  was introduced by Republican Aaron Miller  and referred to the Committee on Education Reform. 

Contact your state representative today to support this important change to the evaluation system with our easy-to-use Action Network page!
 

Education experts have long questioned the accuracy and fairness of judging educators based on student test performance. In addition, many parents are pushing back against policies that place a greater emphasis on test scores over creativity, problem solving, citizenship, and other important factors in students’ education.
MEA lobbyists have been working with a handful of Michigan House Republicans to introduce several bills to fix problems in the state’s teacher evaluation system. 
Two related bills have been introduced in recent days, and others are in the pipeline.  

  • HB 5688 would bar an evaluator from conducting the evaluation of a family member. 
  • HB 5689 would remove the existing limit on the number of teachers that can be rated as highly effective in a school district. 

Many states are backing away from stringent requirements for documenting student growth as part of teachers’ scores in formal evaluations, which play an increasing role in teacher layoffs and recalls. 

These changes have been allowed under more flexible rules in the new federal law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind. In fact, several states have backed entirely away from using student growth or standardized test scores in teacher evaluations, recognizing studies that have shown such inaccurate and punitive approaches have not resulted in higher student achievement. 
Contact your state representative now and share YOUR story on why we need these important changes to the evaluation law! 

 

Sign MEA's Online Petition Opposing More Guns in Schools

Mar 15, 2018

Since the Parkland shootings, some politicians have called for arming school employees as a means of addressing this crisis. At the national level, President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are championing the cause.  Here in Michigan, there are already bills in the House to allow concealed weapons in schools and Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, is crafting others. In addition, Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, despite saying there are "some teachers who I wouldn't feel safe around if they had a butter knife, is working on bills that would put handguns in secure, hidden locations in schools for specially trained educators to access.

     MEA's position on this is clear in our Resolutions as adopted by members elected to our Board of Directors and Representative Assembly - a school is no place for a gun.  The cry to arm educators is a distraction from real solutions, like more school counselors and social workers, smaller class sizes, better school security measures and wraparound services to help students and families.

 Please CLICK HERE TO SIGN the online petition to oppose guns in schools and, instead, offer real solutions that school employees should be armed with to help students succeed in a safe environment.

A-F Plan Deserves Failing Grade

Mar 07, 2018

MEA is strongly opposing a bill that would attach A-F letter grades to schools – a move that would only serve to worsen the current over-emphasis on standardized test scores and slap stigmatizing labels on schools in high-need communities.

Schools with high concentrations of poverty, English language learners, and special education students require additional supports – not labels. Letter grades won’t help schools better meet student needs. Labels do not lower class sizes, hire additional staff, or increase targeted programming.

“Is there anyone who truly believes we do not already know the schools, the districts, the students that need help?” said MEA Lobbyist Christina Canfield. “Now we need legislation that solves the problems creating the achievement gap.”

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has spent nearly a year developing an alternative to A-F letter grades for schools to communicate with parents – a “school transparency dashboard” that will provide information to communities on every school building in the state, including charters. The dashboard meets the requirements of the new bipartisan federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

More than 20 different factors or measures of school quality will be reported in the dashboard, which was rolled out in November for public input, including indicators such as graduation rates, advanced course offerings, student achievement, and attendance rates.

Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Education Reform Committee last week passed HB 5526 to create an A-F grading system. Amendments to the bill removed language that would impose sanctions on the lowest-ranked schools, including possible closure.

The bill would create a 13-member commission of political appointees – including only one educator – to study how student growth is measured in schools.
Continue reading . . .

Democrats Unveil Education Priorities

Mar 04, 2018

In the face of a growing teacher shortage largely caused by attacks on public education, Michigan Democrats recently unveiled a sweeping plan to restore respect and invest in supports for educators through a variety of avenues – salaries, pensions, health care, and more.

The “TeA+chers for Michigan” education plan introduced recently into the state Senate sets out to reverse Republican-led attacks on teachers and education support professionals in order to improve the state’s ability to attract and retain high-quality educators.

The plan unveiled at a press conference would address some long-held complaints of Michigan school employees by removing the hard cap on health care insurance for all school employees, eliminating MPSERS cost sharing, and amending the tiered teacher evaluation system. 

Continuing reading . . .

MEA President: We Must Force Policymakers to Act

Feb 21, 2018

PARKLAND, FL—FEBRUARY 14: People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that killed and injured multiple people. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The bravery of school employees in one tragic school shooting after another is beyond measure, MEA President Paula Herbart points out in today’s Detroit News. Educators consistently think more about protecting students than the well-being of their own children at home, Herbart writes in her monthly “Labor Voices” column

“Blocking doorways with their bodies, hiding children in closets, and serving as human shields to take bullets for their students.

“Why, in the greatest country on earth, is any of this necessary?

“Reasonable gun laws. Better access to mental health care. More school counselors and social workers to help students deal with issues they’re facing both at school and at home. More safety officers and security for schools. All these things need to be part of a comprehensive, common sense solution.

“To get real solutions to end these massacres, we must force policymakers to act. On the heels of every mass shooting — from Columbine to Sandy Hook to Orlando’s Pulse nightclub to the Las Vegas strip — there’s a temporary hue and cry to act. And then, our attention is pulled elsewhere.

“Not this time. Our children can’t afford us to be distracted from our most important responsibility: keeping them safe.

 


Come Meet Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Paul Herbart, and Gretchen Whitmer

Feb 12, 2018

Meet and Greet with Whitmer & NEA President

Many MEA members and leaders got their first close-up look at Gretchen Whitmer, MEA’s recommended gubernatorial candidate, at last week’s Bargaining, Public Affairs & Professional Development conference.  Now it’s your turn.  
Whitmer will be joined by MEA President Paula Herbart and NEA President Lily Eskelsen García at a meet and greet tomorrow, Tuesday Feb. 13, from 3-5 p.m. at MEA’s Plymouth office. RSVP for the event here.

Kevin Grammens, a teacher in Anchor Bay School District for 20 years, said “It was a relief” to hear Whitmer commit to supporting educators and investing in public education during her keynote address at MEA’s biggest conference of the year at Detroit’s Cobo Center.  “It was inspiring to hear from someone who’s going to back up students and teachers,” Grammens said.

Amy Graham, a teacher from Wayland Union Schools, called Whitmer’s speech invigorating. “I’m ready for change and excited by her enthusiasm,” Graham said.

In a personal speech touching on her beliefs and motivations, Whitmer pledged support of public education as the “backbone of our economy.” The first woman to be chosen as Democratic leader in the state Senate, Whitmer is the daughter and granddaughter of educators and a former county prosecutor.

She has fought tough battles in her political career, including fighting diversions of money from the School Aid Fund and voting against the law that allowed the state to illegally seize 3 percent of school employees’ wages to pay for retiree health care.  

“It is time for us to start setting the agenda again,” she told the conference crowd last Thursday. “It is time for a governor who cares about the work that you do, recognizes how important it is, and empowers the people on the front line.”

Conference goers were asked to submit their education priorities to Whitmer in writing after the conference. All MEA members can share their education policy ideas with Whitmer through this Action Network page.

With so much at stake in the 2018 election, NOW is the time to get excited and involved.  Please RSVP now to meet Gretchen, Lily and Paula and learn how you can help us win for public education this year.  

 

Lifetime NEA/MEA Members will be Able to Vote on Tuesday February 6th

Feb 05, 2018

MEA's on-line voting polls became functional, Tuesday, February 6, 2018, MEA-Retired members may cast their ballots for MEA-Retired delegates to the MEA Representative Assembly, the NEA Representative Assembly, and the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting as well as Region Directors, if needed.

On-line voting will begin at 8 a.m. EST on February 6, 2018 and will continue until 4 p.m. February 16, 2018.

HERE'S HOW: You can use any computer with internet access-your own computer, your neighbor's, your grandchildren's or one at your local library.  

1.   Go to the MEA website at www.mymea.org/onlinevoting

2.   Follow the Login instructions:

First Name (often your legal first name)         

Last Name

Last four digits of your social security number 

 3.  Click the "Login" button.

4.   If your record is found and the polls are open, your ballot will be displayed.

5.   Select the people for whom you wish to vote. Clicking the "Additional Info" link next to a ballot item will allow you to read biographical information on the candidate if it has been submitted.

6.  Once you have made your selections, click the "Confirm Ballot" button.

7.     A preview of your ballot selections will be shown. To modify any of your selections, click the "Modify Ballot" button.

8.   To cast your ballot, click the "Cast Ballot" button. Once your ballot is cast, you will see a confirmation page. 

9.   Click the "Sign Out" link to log out of the system.

If you have any problems using the MEA Online Voting application, please contact the MEA IT Department at 517-337-5440 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you call after hours, please leave a voicemail and personnel will return your message as soon as possible.

MEA questions interest amounts in retiree health repayments from state

Jan 25, 2018

Detroit Free Press, January 24, 2018
"The Michigan Education Association wants teachers and other school employees to receive more interest from the $550 million the state improperly deducted from their paychecks from 2010 to 2012 to help fund retiree health care.

Teachers last week began receiving emails from the Michigan Office of Retirement Services notifying them how much money they would receive. Almost immediately, there were complaints about how much interest was included. In one instance, a teacher receiving $5,400 back is getting nearly $43 in interest.

For the most part, the interest received is less than one percent of what was deducted from teacher paychecks. The MEA, in the motion it plans to file, is seeking the Michigan statutory interest rate, which is 2.9%, said Doug Pratt, spokesman for the MEA.

"We strongly believe that our members deserve more interest than the meager amounts that have been communicated to them," Pratt said. He said that's based "on the fact that this money should have been theirs for the last seven years.""  To read the entire article click here.  Detroit Free Press, January 24, 2018

Charter School Money Grab Approved by House

Jan 21, 2018

The state House yesterday narrowly approved a controversial measure that would give money from voter-approved enhancement millages to for-profit charter schools. SB 574 now returns to the Senate for a final vote. 

"This bill is forcing public dollars into unaccountable for-profit charter schools, pushed by corporate special interest backers like Betsy DeVos," MEA President Paula Herbart said in a statement released after the vote. "Voters should be able to use regional enhancement millages to ensure their neighborhood schools have the funds necessary to provide a quality education for their children."
This change to school funding is opposed by numerous school groups and many parents, who argue that 90 percent of Michigan school children attend traditional public schools, which are held to higher standards of financial transparency and performance.

About 83 percent of Michigan charter schools are for-profit entities with no elected representation or public oversight in how tax dollars are spent - which means no guarantee additional public money would benefit students instead of furthering corporate profits. 

"Communities who choose to pay more to help their schools shouldn't have to see their hard-earned tax money pad the bottom line of for-profit charter companies," Herbart said.

MEA Updates Frequently Asked Questions in the 3% Case

Jan 14, 2018

December 20th, marked a major victory for Michigan school employees, as the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously ruled to return more than a half billion dollars illegally taken from school employees in the long-running 3 percent case.
 
In a dramatic December conclusion to a nearly 8-year-long legal battle, the Court ruled 6-0 to uphold lower court rulings that found the withholding to be illegal on a variety of constitutional grounds.
 
“I cannot imagine a better pre-holiday gift to Michigan’s school employees than getting their hard-earned money returned to them,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “This is the culmination of years of work by both AFT Michigan and MEA on behalf of our members.  This reinforces why being a member of a union matters – working collectively, we won this case that no individual could have fought for themselves.”

MEA General Council, Michael Shoudy, has updated a set of Frequently Asked Questions to assist members who have questions in regards to the 3% refund.  Please click here to review these FAQ's.

MEA-RETIRED ON-LINE VOTING INSTRUCTIONS

Jan 06, 2018

Beginning February 5, 2018, MEA-Retired members will begin casting their ballots for MEA-Retired delegates to the MEA Representative Assembly, the NEA Representative Assembly, and the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting, as well as Region Directors, if needed.

ON-LINE VOTING WILL BEGIN ON FEBRUARY 5, 2018 AT 8 AM EST AND WILL CONTINUE UNTIL 4 PM EST ON FEBRUARY 16, 2018.    For specific voting instructions click here.

If you are interested in receiving a paper ballot you will need to fill out the form below and return it to Dan Rudd c/o MEA-Retired, 1216 Kendale Blvd, PO Box 2573, East Lansing, MI   48826-2573.  The request MUST be postmarked no later than January 8, 2018.  Please use the address you will be at after December 31, 2017.


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