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announcements

  • MEA-Retired Members March in support of #redfored

  • MEA-Retired Officers March at Headquarters for #redfored

  • Senator Debbie Stabenow With MEA-Retired Members Jack & Jo Ellis

  • Gretchen Whitmer Speaks at MEA-RA

  • MEA-Retired Members at the Capitol

MEA COMMUNICATIONS BRINGS HOME NATIONAL AWARDS

Jun 19, 2018

Submitted by Rachel Beyer

The MEA Public Affairs Department received national recognition at the 2018 State Education Association Communicators Awards. Awards include:

Award of Distinction for Best Photography
Miriam Garcia for A Day in the Life of Brittany and Zack

Award of Excellence for Best Video (externally produced)
MEA for Why Education Support Professionals Matter

Award of Distinction for Best Use of Social Media
Rachel Beyer for MEA Social Media Channels

Award of Excellence for Best Editorial Layout
Shantell Coats for Flint

Award of Distinction for Best Graphic Design
Rachel Beyer for MEA Graphics and Branding

Award of Excellence for Opinion/Editorial Writing
David Crim for Clueless Betsy DeVos

Award of Distinction for Investigative/Analytical Reporting
Brenda Ortega for Digital Literacy in the Fake News Age

Award of Excellence for Best Constituent Newsletter
Brenda Ortega for Capitol Comments

Best in Show-Visual
MEA for Why Education Support Professionals Matter

Public Relations Person of the Year
Doug Pratt

It is a great honor to have been recognized alongside our peers from other state education associations for the hard work we have accomplished in communicating to and on behalf of our members.

 

Help stop controversial changes to social studies standards

Jun 15, 2018

From:  Michigan Education Association

"A committee, which included conservative state senator and gubernatorial candidate Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton), has forwarded recommendations to the State Board of Education for controversial changes to Michigan’s K-12 social studies standards.  Many of these changes remove references to our diverse cultural history that are important for students to learn about, including:

  • References to the Ku Klux Klan are decreased to a single reference in eighth-grade.
  • Five references to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have been cut.
  • The two references to gays and lesbians have been deleted.
  • References to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case legalizing a women’s right to reproductive freedom, are removed.
  • References to climate change are cut in the proposed standards, with the impact of man on global warming limited to an optional example sixth-grade teachers can use when discussing climate in different parts of the planet.  
  • The word “democratic” has been struck from the phrase “core democratic values” 13 times in the standards, in an attempt to be more “politically neutral” according to Colbeck.

The four Democratic members of the 8-person State Board of Education has vowed to block the changes from being implemented. But they need your support!
 
Attend one of the upcoming public meetings around the state to speak out against these changes – or you can comment online on the new standards now through June 30."

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Members Verification of Coverage Surveys

Jun 11, 2018

Many of our members have already received their Blue Cross/Blue Shield Verification of Coverage survey in the mail. You must complete this form for yourself and anyone else covered by your retirement system health plan. You must respond to the survey, even if you don’t have other coverage. If you don’t respond to the survey, your retirement system medical plan and prescription drug coverage will be canceled.

If you have not yet received this survey you should call the 800 number on the back of your BC/BS health card.

The Verification of Coverage survey asks you to identify any other health coverage you or your dependents might have in addition to your retirement system coverage. The information is used to determine your eligibility in the retirement system’s health plan.  This posting does not apply to those members on Priority Health.

DeVos: School panel will not look at role of guns

Jun 05, 2018

Detroit News, June 5, 2018
Maria Danilova, Associated Press

“Washington – Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says the federal commission on school safety set up after a Florida high school shooting won’t be looking at the role of guns in school violence.

DeVos is telling a congressional hearing that’s not part of the commission’s charge.

She adds, “We are actually studying school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school.”  To Read the article click here.

Charlotte Union Members Push for Right to Wear Red You are here:

May 22, 2018

From Michigan Education Association 
Teachers and staff in Charlotte Public Schools will join educators across Michigan wearing red shirts to show support for public education on Wednesday – two weeks after being threatened with disciplinary action for participating in the statewide show of solidarity.

The Charlotte Education Association (CEA) also will take part in a “walk-in” that day – meeting outside before school, wearing red, and walking into school together to promote the message that lawmakers should “value students, respect educators and fund our schools.”

School employees at hundreds of buildings across Michigan have held similar events on Wednesdays this May – often joined by their district’s principals, superintendents and school board members who are also concerned about our state’s broken school funding system.

“This is about a lot more than red shirts,” said CEA President Julie Davis. “This is for the kids, who deserve to receive the funding and the services they need.”

Early this month, local union leaders told Superintendent Mark Rosekrans about plans to wear red shirts during Wednesdays in May – inviting administrators to participate – and he told Davis those wearing a red shirt would get a written warning in their personnel file.

When CEA members went ahead with plans to wear red on Wednesday, May 9, building administrators took pictures of teachers wearing the shirts, some with lettering that read, “Support Charlotte teachers as we support your students,” according to MEA UniServ Director Yvonne Briley-Wilson.

In addition, that day at least two local leaders experienced unannounced classroom observations while wearing the shirts.

By the end of the day, Rosekrans issued a staff memorandum announcing that “political action and/or protest (including wearing certain T-shirts in support of a cause) is not allowed while at work, and the failure to ignore this rule could result in discipline.”

The staff was frightened but undeterred, according to the local president and other teachers interviewed for this story. “We’re unified, we stand together, and we support public education,” Davis said.

Upset by the memo – which constituted an attack on protected union activity – staff members across Charlotte’s five buildings wore blue shirts on Thursday, May 10, but delayed a planned walk-in on the following Wednesday until a general membership meeting could be held to allay fears and gauge interest.

Bolstered by support from MEA, CEA members voted to proceed with the walk-in this week. In the meantime, the superintendent backed away from his earlier memo – sending out an email stating coordinated shirts were allowed as long as they did not contain a “political statement.”

Teachers in the district want to communicate a sense of urgency about issues facing educators in Charlotte and in many schools across the state and country, “so we can work collaboratively to solve them,” Davis said.

Educators in the district say school staffing has been cut to the bone. Without adequate paraeducators, social workers, and counselors, teachers are left without the support they need to manage difficult behaviors and differentiate instruction to the needs of students.

“We have a high-poverty population, and a lot of kids need extra help – a lot of families need help – and they don’t get that because we don’t have a social worker anymore,” one teacher said. “We have oversized classes, and trying to get to all of those kids is impossible.”

Behavior systems that should be developed and implemented school-wide are left to individual teachers to figure out, those interviewed said. In addition, the district eliminated a classroom for students with Emotional Impairment (EI), so those children remain in general education classrooms and resource rooms ill-equipped to address their needs.

Across all grade levels, school employees have seen their supply budgets shrink. Teachers interviewed for this story say they spend hundreds of dollars buying basic items for their classrooms, including books, paper, pencils, crayons, disinfectant wipes, and tissues.

And the substitute teacher shortage means faculty members routinely lose planning time filling in for absent colleagues. Title I specialists and “encore” teachers – who provide classes such as art and physical education – often sub instead of providing targeted services to students.

At the same time, the district has built up a fund equity – or rainy day fund – nearing 20 percent. The state recommends that districts hold at least 5 percent of funds in reserve. The district should not be banking money when needs are high and unmet, Davis said.

“We have a pool of money that’s not being utilized the way it was meant to be,” she said.

The resulting low morale has led to above-average teacher turnover of 15 percent a year in the past several years, she added. “Our new teacher turnover is through the roof, because you can’t keep people under these conditions.”

School employees have creative ideas, and they want to be part of a collaborative effort to solve problems, the teachers said.

“We all want kids to succeed,” said one educator who asked not to be identified. “Why can’t we all be on the same team?”


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