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  • MEA-Retired President Conclave Nov 14

  • MEA-Retired President Conclave Nov 14

  • MEA-Retired Board of Directors Meeting Nov 13

  • PR & LPIC Committee Meeting October 11

Whitmer, GOP clash on Michigan ban on public funds for private schools

Jan 10, 2020

Bridge Magazine January 10, 2020

“LANSING – What began as a partisan fight over modest school reimbursements may morph into a major battle over Michigan’s ban on public funding for private education.

And the state’s highest court this year could decide the case that is being closely watched nationwide by all sides of the schools of choice debate.

Religious and non-public school groups in late December asked the Michigan Supreme Court to strike down the 1970 state constitutional amendment prohibiting taxpayer funding for private schools, arguing it was motivated by anti-Catholic bias and violates the free exercise clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The ban “covertly suppresses particular religious beliefs,” attorneys for the Michigan Catholic Conference and the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools wrote in a court filing. “There is no compelling state interest to justify its prohibition against secular education to religious schools.”

The ban applies to all private schools, and supporters say even small funding opens the door to the kind of school voucher programs Michigan voters rejected in 2000 despite an aggressive campaign backed by Betsy DeVos, who now serves as U.S. secretary of education. 

“Michigan voters keep reaffirming that they want public tax dollars to go exclusively to public schools,” said Dan Korobkin, legal director for the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case. He called arguments against the state constitution a “side issue” in a lawsuit over specific spending plans.

“There’s no reason why states should not be able to say we're dedicated to public education, so we're going to use tax dollars for public schools," Korobkin said. “And that's all that Michigan is doing here.”” Continue Reading Bridge Magazine January 10, 2020

Medicare Plus Blue Group PPO 2020 Changes

Dec 30, 2019

Medicare Plus BlueSM Group PPO

MPSERS plan members with Medicare Plus Blue Group PPO can see any doctor in our network—the largest in Michigan. You won't need a referral, as long as you stay in the network.

Find out more about your plan


Funding, Literacy Top Launch Michigan Recommendations

Dec 28, 2019

“Amid a contentious political scene nationally, a diverse group of Michigan leaders from the education, business, civic, and philanthropic realms – often at odds in the political arena – have spent the past 18 months seeking common ground on education policy.

On Wednesday, the unusual coalition known as Launch Michigan released its first set of recommendations for rebuilding a public education system battered by years of underfunding and punitive accountability approaches.

The phase-one agenda for 2020 includes a focus on elementary literacy and increased funding based on need, commonly referred to as weighted funding, in which all schools receive the same base amount with additional money allocated for at-risk and underserved students.

Beginning the coalition’s advocacy work with an emphasis on providing adequate and equitable resources is an important start, said MEA President Paula Herbart, a co-chair of Launch Michigan’s steering committee.

“To be successful we must fund our students, we must fund our educators, and we must value and respect what they do for our economy in the state of Michigan and for the global society at large,” Herbart said – echoing themes from her Detroit News column about Launch’s focus on literacy and poverty published Wednesday.”  Continue Reading

To address literacy, understand link with poverty

Dec 19, 2019

Detroit News December 18, 2019
Paula Herbart, President MEA

"Some of us remember the old “Reading is Fundamental” ad campaign, which encouraged parents to read to their children. Today, that fundamental is even more critical, especially in light of how poverty and lagging literacy levels intersect.

Too often, lawmakers look for “silver bullet” solutions — like the reading law that threatens to retain third graders who do not meet literacy benchmarks this spring — rather than understanding more complex needs, like building a strong foundation of literacy skills to ensure future success.

Front-line educators have a deep understanding of the problem. Colby Sharp, a nationally-recognized literacy expert and a fifth grade teacher in Jackson County, put it this way:

“We have a poverty issue more than anything. Children from high poverty areas are less likely to live in homes with 100 or more books, or to attend schools with rich library collections. Research shows that kids surrounded by books are more likely to succeed at reading than those who are not.”" Continue Reading

Education Funding in Flux

Dec 08, 2019

National Education Association

"Fiscal year 2019 ended on September 30, 2019, without Congress having passed the FY2020 budget bill. Instead, Congress punted on a yearlong funding bill by instead passing a short-term continuing resolution or CR that funds the government at FY2019 levels through November 21, 2019.

In June, the U.S. House of Representatives succeeding in passing a FY2020 funding bill that included an increase of $11.8 billion or six percent increase for Labor-HHS-Education. Notable funding increases for education over FY2019 levels included Title I and IDEA both receiving $1 billion increases, Title II funding was increased by $500 million, full-service community schools was increased to $40 million – more than double the current funding level, and the maximum Pell grant award was increased by $150.

In sharp contrast, the Senate attempted to take up appropriations bills in September with little success. In fact, the Labor HHS-Education bill was pulled from the schedule the day it was to be marked up by the committee. Instead, the bill was released without an opportunity for committee members to offer changes. The overall allocated increase to the bill was only an estimated .01 percent – essentially freezing most education funding. Notable changes in education funding from FY2019 levels included flat funding (or no increase) for Title I, Title II and IDEA, a $50 million increase for Title IV, a $20 million increase for Charter Schools, elimination of the full-service community schools program, and the maximum Pell grant award was increased by $135."National Education Association.

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