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  • Jessica Lumbreras, UniServ Consultant speaks at Jan 9, 2019 Board Meeting

  • MEA President Paula Herbart & officers

  • Board of Directors Meeting January 9 2019

  • Gretchen Witmer Speaks to over 50 Michigan Union Leaders at MiARA Meeting at MEA

MESSAGE FROM NEA PRESIDENT LILY ESKELSEN ABOUT THE NATIONAL TEACHERS HALL OF FAME'S NATIONAL MEMORIAL TO FALLEN EDUC

Apr 15, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

It's with mixed emotions that I write to tell you that our partners and colleagues at the National Teachers Hall of Fame's National Memorial to Fallen Educators received the official designation by Congress on April 30, 2018 as a national memorial.  https://nthfmemorial.org/fallen-educators/

While I am thrilled that Emporia University campus in Kansas which houses The National Teachers Hall of Fame will be home to a nationally recognized memorial, I am heartbroken that there is a need for such a monument - to educators who lost their lives in the line of duty while serving their students and colleagues.  This one-of-a-kind national memorial includes teachers, ESPs, and administrators by individual names on two large marble stones.  Sadly, violence has claimed so many of our colleagues that it is time to purchase a third marble stone.

There are currently 129 names of American educators (teachers, education support professionals, and administrators) etched on the two six foot by six-foot black granite books.  A donors' wall, benches, and walkway create a memorial plaza, adorned with landscaping and illumination.  Names of the fallen include those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, Chuck Poland, the school bus driver hero killed in in Alabama, Dave Sanders who died at Columbine, as well as teacher Robert Bailey, who was killed in Illinois in 1882, Christa McAuliffe who perished in the Challenger explosion, and Principal Jim McGee of Goddard, Kansas.  Too many more names have been added in the past year.

I am asking any individual, local or state affiliate to consider a contribution to maintain our country's only memorial to fallen educators.  No amount is too small.

Specifically, we ask you to consider helping by:

1) Supporting the fundraising efforts as a Local or State Affiliate by sending a financial donation.  The Hall of Fame is a 501 c3 non-profit organization, and your donation is fully tax-deductible.  Any donation is appreciated. CLICK HERE to make a donation

2)     Promoting the fundraising efforts within your state. The Teachers Hall of Fame is encouraging classrooms to have change jars to collect change for the #no more names campaign, to take photos of the children with their collection; turn the coins into a check; and mail the check to the National Teacher Hall of Fame. Each school participating will receive a certificate and have their school honored on the NTHF website.

3)  Providing your voice for local, state and national funding of mental health services, counselors, social workers and community resources rather than arming educators so that we focus on prevention rather than reacting to the next tragedy.  

4)   Planning to attend the Memorial re-dedication ceremonies and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, June 21st in Emporia.

We are so proud of our relationship with The National Teachers Hall of Fame.  I hope that you will also consider supporting them by encouraging someone you know to apply for consideration to be included as an honoree or applying yourself.  They seek a diverse pool of applicants who serve a diverse pool of students and who will shine as examples of the dedication, talent and leadership of today's educators.

We salute The National Teachers Hall of Fame for their inclusion of a permanent exhibit on the importance of Education Support Professionals and for highlighting our NEA ESP of the Year each year, inducting our winner with the teacher inductees.

In short, there is much to do, and I hope that many of you will step up and find a way to show your appreciation for this physical and permanent tribute to examples of the best and bravest amongst us.

For more information, feel free to contact Carol Strickland, Executive Director of The National Teachers Hall of Fame, at (620) 341-5660 or nthfdirector@emporia.edu.  She will be happy to work with you in any way possible. 

Gracias por todo,

Lily

Report: State took $4.5 billion from K-12 funds to plug budget holes

Apr 12, 2019

MichiganRadio.org 
"Michigan has shifted $4.5 billion from K-12 education funding to universities and community colleges since 2010. That's according to a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The funds have been appropriated from the School Aid Fund, established in 1955 as an amendment to the Michigan Constitution. The School Aid Fund is used exclusively to fund K-12 schools. Funds for post-secondary education, on the other hand, come from the General Fund.

The fund shifting started under Governor Jennifer Granholm's administration as a one-time appropriation of $208 million to plug a hole in the budget created by the Great Recession.

It was supposed to be paid back. The bill included language requiring funds to be repaid to the School Aid Fund to the General Fund between fiscal years 2011/12 and 2015/16.

[Support great journalism like this by making a contribution to Michigan Radio]

But the legislature never paid it back. Instead, starting with his first budget in 2012, Governor Snyder removed language requiring the funds to be repaid and made the appropriation a regular part of the state budget. The state took $400 million from the School Aid Fund that year, and cut per pupil school funding by $470, and that same year, the legislature passed a $1.6 billion tax cut that was only partially covered by increased individual income taxes"  Continue Reading

Coming Soon: 2019 Verification of Coverage Survey

Apr 02, 2019

The 2019 Verification of Coverage survey will be mailed to all retirees in May. 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.

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.

Questions about the Verification of Coverage survey?

Check out the Verification of Coverage survey webcast at www.bcbsm.com/mpsers. To view the webcast, click on the For Members tab, then click Webinars.

Michigan teachers: Standardized tests are useless and classes are too big

Mar 26, 2019

Bridge Magazine March 20, 2019    www.bridgemi.com  

"Michigan’s standardized tests don’t accurately measure student learning, schools aren’t ready for third graders who will flunk because they are poor readers, and there are too many kids stuffed into classrooms.

Oh, and only one in four educators would recommend the profession to others.

That’s according to a survey of more than 16,000 Michigan educators, released today by Launch Michigan, an education reform alliance of business, education, labor, philanthropy and community organization leaders.

The online poll, which included teachers, administrators, support staff and para-professionals, may be the largest ever conducted of Michigan educators.

It demonstrated that many priorities of front-line teachers differ from the policies pushed by Michigan politicians, but also some areas of agreement with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

(Editor’s note: The Center for Michigan, the parent organization of Bridge Magazine, is a participating organization of Launch Michigan)

Related Michigan education stories:

For example, the survey found support for expanding high-quality early childhood education and for allocating state funds based on student need – both priorities of the first budget of Whitmer, a Democrat.

About 65 percent of survey respondents said more high-quality early childhood education would make a “large impact.” Whitmer is pushing to increase the family income level to qualify for taxpayer funded pre-K for 4-year olds. Whitmer wants the income cap raised to 300 percent of the federal poverty line, or $77,000 for a family of four.

About 5,000 more 4-year-olds would qualify for the program with the increased income cap, according to the Whitmer administration"  Bridge Magazine

 

Whitmer budget would triple literacy coaches to help Michigan students read

Mar 13, 2019

Bridge Magazine March 5, 2019

"The number of literacy coaches working in Michigan schools would triple under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed budget, a change that could yield huge benefits for Michigan school children, school officials said.

Whitmer’s budget plan, unveiled Tuesday, proposes a $24 million increase in spending for literacy experts to work with classroom teachers to improve reading methods.

That money would increase the number of literacy coaches in the state from 93 to 279. Under the proposed budget, the state would pick up the full tab for those coaches, instead of the current system in which local districts pay half the cost.

Analysis: Whitmer's budget banks on Michigan GOP backing one historic tax hike

The proposal is just that - a proposal. What happens to the Democratic governor’s budget when it reaches Michigan’s Republican-controlled Legislature is yet to be seen.

But efforts to improve early literacy have been a bipartisan priority in recent years. Former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder began the literacy coach program. And both Whitmer and her Republican opponent in the gubernatorial campaign, Bill Schuette, pitched additional support for early reading efforts.

“This is great news,” said Naomi Norman, assistant superintendent of achievement and system support at Washtenaw Intermediate School District and a member of the Michigan PreK-12 Literacy Commission.

“It’s really valuable because it’s going to ensure every corner of the state has access to high-quality support for literacy.”

Early literacy is seen as a key to turning around Michigan’s flailing public schools. Only 44 percent of third-graders are reading at a proficient level. Next school year, third graders whose reading level is more than one grade behind state standards face the possibility of being held back a grade" Bridge Magizine


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