House Bill 4625 would institute a merit pay system for teachers and administrators based on student growth measured by tests and cannot include any other factors like length of service or advanced degrees. Evaluation systems - how, when, criteria - is a prohibited subject of bargaining so this is not somehting we will be able to "fix" later. All of this is happening while the Governor's Council for Educator Effectiveness, which is designing and field testing a teacher evaluation system, has not even issued its report about the best way to evaluate teachers. Please send an email today to your State Representatives asking them to vote NO on HB 4625. Please feel free to personalize your letter.
The bill to expand the Education Achievement Authority (House Bill No. 4369) has passed House and is now being taken up in the Senate Please take a minute right now and send an e-mail to your State Senator. Please feel free to personalize your email with your experiences with the EAA, or your questions about how it might affect your neighborhood schools.
A bill permanently establishing the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) and expanding it to include schools from around the state is moving again in the Michigan Legislature. This afternoon the legislature is taking testimony at a committee hearing. It is important they hear from you even if you can’t attend the hearing. Please take a minute and send your legislator an email message and feel free to personalize the email, or give them a call.
Please tell President Dunn that you will support him if he will stand up for WMU students and employees and for the right of Michigan’s universities to operate free from the influence of special interest politics.
The Detroit Free Press announced their ballot proposal endorsements today. The editorial board is urging a NO vote on Proposal 2. Even more disappointing and surprising, THEY REFUSED to meet with the supporters of collective bargaining rights before making their decision.
Now we must make sure that the Free Press hears from outraged working families.
Send an email to the the Publisher. We have prewritten an email for you to use, but please feel free to personalize your letter.
Yesterday, May 17, the MI Senate took a bad retirement bill (SB 1040) and made it terrible by adding an amendment that eliminates the pension system for all school employees hired after next year. This bill would still reduce benefits and increase costs for current employees and retirees, but would now add a huge cost for school districts as well!
The Office of Retirement Services estimates that eliminating MPSERS for new hires and moving them to a 401k would cost taxpayers $2-3 billion, including $400 million next year- talk about sucking money out of the classroom!
SB 1040 moves to the House Appropriations Committee Monday morning and is on a fast track, so we must make sure our State Reps hear what a bad idea this is. Republican legislators are split on this bill, so our voices can have a real impact.
This morning the Michigan Senate will be holding a committee hearing on SB 1040, the retirement bill, at 10am in Lansing. AFT Michigan will have many members at the hearing but we know everyone can’t get to Lansing in the middle of the morning so we want you to participate by emailing your Senator the comments you would have made if you were at the hearing!
We have prepared some short emails but we would like you to personalize them with your story –
how much you already pay for retirement (they think you don’t pay anything)
do you even have retirement? (They believe everyone who works in the public sector has retirement benefits)
if you are retired how much are you receiving per year? (it is a lot lower than they believe)
Send your email today! Be a part of the Senate Hearing, let your Senators know what you think of this bill!
AFT Michigan retirees worked many years to earn our retirement benefits and now some legislators in Lansing are threatening to decrease them.
SB 1040 proposes a substantial increase in what you currently pay for your retiree health benefits in some cases, it nearly doubles it. For pre-Medicare retirees, the amount deducted from your pension every month would increase as follows:
JUST YOURSELF: DEDUCTION WOULD INCREASE FROM $99.90 TO $129.04
SELF AND SPOUSE: DEDUCTION WOULD INCREASE FROM $155.25 TO $239.74
SELF AND CHILD(REN): DEDUCTION WOULD INCREASE FROM $124.25 TO $177.38
SELF, SPOUSE & CHILD: DEDUCTION WOULD INCREASE FROM $179.59 TO $288.43
These amounts do not even include the additional $12 per month that those in the Master Health Care Plan pay for prescription drug coverage and they fail to reflect the increases in costs that have happened nearly annually, such as the $100 annual increases this year in both your medical coinsurance maximums and your deductibles! It is unprecedented for legislators to change laws regarding retirement benefits for those who are already retired and on fixed incomes.
Please take a minute now to send an email to your State Senator and State Representative and tell them these changes are unfair. The email is prewritten, but feel free to change it to better express your feelings. Once you enter your zip code in the box below the system will automatically find your legislators.
Senate Bills 622 (H-2), 623 (H-2), 709 (H-1), and 710 (H-2), have passed the Senate and is in front of the full Michigan House. These bills would broaden the current guidelines for dual enrollment participation by amending the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act and the Career and Technical Education Act. AFT Michigan supports dual enrollment for High School Students, but these bills have some serious flaws. We urge you to send an e-mail to your State Representative asking them to vote NO on these bills.
Senate Bill 619 (H-3), has passed the Senate and is currently before the House. It seeks to expand enrollment in online learning for Michigan’s children without regard for past success or sustainability. These Cyber schools would get the full foundation allowance with no oversight or accountability, and would not have to comply with the same transparency, curriculum, or grade level content standards. We oppose SB 619 (H-3) and urge you to send an email to your legislators asking them to vote NO on the bill.
In Lansing, the Republican majority continues to try and silence your voice. They could be working on issues that actually encourage job growth, stabilize the budget and make it easier for you to provide for your family; instead they continue to attack our ability to come together and bargain with our employers over wages, working conditions and due process. Please take a minute right now and send an email to your State Representative and ask them to stop trying to take away your voice!
We opposed Senate Bill 618, which expands the number of charter schools. SB 618 only serves to increase profits for special interest groups and does not do enough to increase student achievement or require charter school accountability. There were five Republican Representatives, including yours, who took a stand against lifting the cap on university-backed charter schools and they deserve our thanks. Please take minute now to send an e-mail to your State Representative.
Legislators in Lansing are continuing their attacks on our health care benefits and are now trying to prohibit employers from bargaining and providing insurance for unmarried partners of public employees. These bills, HB 4770 and 4771, are heading to the governor for his signature. We need you to send an email urging the governor to VETO these bills.
Legislators in Lansing are continuing their attacks on our health care benefits and are now trying to prohibit employers from bargaining and providing insurance for unmarried partners of public employees. These bills are heading to the governor for his signature. We need to urge him to VETO House Bills 4770 and 4771
This week the Michigan House will be taking up the Charter/Choice Expansion package of bills. These bills would remove the university cap on charter schools; require schools of choice; establish a new type of charter school called “conversion schools”; expand cyber schools; and expand dual enrollment. Most of the bills have already gone through the Michigan Senate. AFT Michigan is opposed to these bills because they have more to do with increasing profits for special interest charter organizations, and less to do with increasing student achievement or charter school accountability.
Please take a minute now and send your Representative an email asking them to vote NO on these bills.
They cut your pay. They cut your benefits.
Now they want your voice!
The Republican plan for Education Reform has reformed your paycheck and benefits, put more children in classrooms, and limited your collective bargaining rights. And, while the current attacks are aimed at K-12, higher education employees are not far behind.
Please take a minute right now to send an email to your State Senator and State Representative asking them to stop the attack on education employees and to vote “NO” on these proposals.
The Michigan House is taking up a bill, HB 4929, which would prohibit school districts from collecting union dues through payroll deduction. This is just another attack on our ability to come together as a union and exercise our voice at the workplace. This legislation does nothing to enhance education, nothing to create jobs, nothing to help our students. It is just another attack on us – the women and men who work in schools.
This bill is moving very fast! It was introduced on Thursday (9/8), referred out of committee today (9/13), could be passed by the House by the end of the week. Tell your State Representative you are tired of being attacked.
The Michigan legislature is poised to vote on a proposal regarding public employee health care on Wednesday morning, August 24. The conference committe will be reporting out SB 7 for an up or down vote, meaning there will be no amendments. we need you to send a letter to your State Representative and State Senator today asking them to oppose this bill.
Last week four bills (HB 4625, HB 4626, HB 4627, HB 4628) that will seriously cut your collective bargaining rights and tenure passed the Michigan House. The bills are now being considered by the Michigan Senate and will be heard by the Senate Education Committee on June 15. The full Senate will then take up the bills. Please send an email to your Senator asking him/her to vote NO on this package of bills.
Last week four bills (HB 4625, HB 4626, HB 4627, HB 4628) that will seriously cut your collective bargaining rights and tenure passed the Michigan House. The bills are now being considered by the Michigan Senate and will be heard by the Senate Education Committee on June 15. The full Senate will then take up the bills. Please send an email to your State Senator asking them to vote "NO" on these bills.
A four-bill package (HB4625-4628), expected to be voted on in the Michigan House on Wednesday, would revise Michigan's Teacher Tenure Law, the Revised School Code, and the Public Employment Relations Act. These bills will effectively eliminate collective bargaining and teacher tenure.
Please email your Representative today and ask them to vote NO on HB4625, 4626, 4627, and HB4628.
The Senate Reforms Committee took substantial testimony today (5/10) on HB 4361, the tax bill that includes taxation of pensions on an age-related sliding scale. The committee is slated to meet again tomorrow morning and take a little more testimony before reporting the bill to the floor. We have been told that the Senate plans to vote on it on the Senate floor on Thursday, telling members to be prepared to stay all night.
The Governor and the legislature are taxing the pensions of retirees, raising the taxes on low-income working families and cutting education in order to fund a tax cut for large corporations! This is not shared sacrifice!
As an AFT Michigan retiree you worked hard to help your students achieve academically, and you supported your union because you understood that collective bargaining at the local level was how we best protected wages, benefits, and due process rights. Now all of those things are under attack from the Governor’s office and the legislature. We need you back in the fight!
The Governor is proposing a huge tax break for large corporations paid for by increasing taxes on low-income working families and retirees, and by cutting funding for K-12, community college and higher education students. In addition to the budget cuts facing education, there are numerous bills which seem designed to “punish” our members – no use of school facilities for union meetings, no dues deduction, for example – and other bills meant to put more of the burden of paying for the state budget like the proposal that employees must pay 20% of their health care premium.
Please take a minute now to send an email to your State Senator and State Representative. The email is prewritten, but feel free to change it to better express your feelings. Once you enter your zip code in the box below the system will automatically find your legislators
Yesterday, April 27, the Michigan Senate passed the K-12 Budget for the Fiscal Year 2012. The budget contains a cut of $340 per-pupil. All of the Democrats in the State Senate voted against it, as did your Republican State Senator and five others. The vote was tied, and Lt. Governor Calley broke the tie by voting for the bill. The bill is now on its way to the State House where the two versions of the K12 budget will be negotiated into a single agreement. They are both bad bills that contain unnecessary cuts to education and we will continue to try and make them better.
Please take a minute right now to email your Republican State Senator and thank him for voting NO on the K12 School Aid budget yesterday, and to encourage him to keep opposing cuts to education.
Thousands of citizens are participating at a rally in front of the State Capitol today, if you can't join in person you can join in the effort by sending an email to the Governor and your State Senator and State Representative. At the rally we will be sending people to go visit their legislators in person, please join with them by paying a "visit" by email. Let they know you are in Lansing in spirit. We ARE the People!
HB 4306 (Rep. David Agema, R- Grandville) mandates that every district obtain competitive bids for food service, custodial, and transportation services. Although described as a “competitive bidding” bill, the language appears to state that districts must use the result of the competitive bidding for each of these services, even if the district would prefer to employee people directly. Right now, school boards already have the right to competitively bid for these services. HB 4306 is being heard by the House Education Committee. Let your state representative know that HB 4152 interferes with local control of elected school board members and that you hope they vote “NO” on HB 4306.
HB 4152 freezes school employees’ wage and benefit levels during contract negotiations and prohibits wages and benefits under new contracts from being made retroactive. The bill also requires that any increase in the cost of maintaining current insurance benefits be borne solely by the employees. HB 4152 (Rep. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy) was reported out of the House Education Committee and may come up for a vote at any time. Members are urged to ask their House members to vote “NO” on this “anti step increase” bill. Let your state representatives know that this bill will eliminate any incentive to negotiate on the parts of school boards. HB 4152 infringes on the right of collective bargaining!
We had a great Emergency Lobby Day in Lansing on Tuesday. Over 1,000 union supporters lobbied their State Representatives and Senators on the Emergency Financial Manager legislation, the elimination of Prevailing Wage, and other collective bargaining issues. If you were able to join us on such short notice let me say “thank you.” If you couldn’t get there, don’t worry, I suspect there will be plenty of opportunities over the next few months. You can see photos from the day on the AFT Michigan Facebook page..
I have studied the budget Governor Snyder has proposed, and while this will play out over the next few months, I would encourage you to send an email to the Governor and your State Senator and Representative right now by entering your zip code in the box below.
Tomorrow, Thursday, February 17, the wait will be over. We will know the answer to our questions – what does Governor Snyder have planned for education funding and how he will treat public employees? Thursday the Governor will propose his budget.
In his State-of-the-State Address he stated his support for investing in education and especially supporting early childhood education. The Governor has expressed his concept of shared sacrifice as he tries to get Michigan back on the right track. We will be looking over his budget to see if it contains both those concepts.
The Legislature has not been waiting for the Governor, they have introduced 113 bills, as of last week, that deal with public employee wages and benefits, taxes and financing, labor unions and working conditions, health care and insurance, schools and higher education, and other issues.
Two bills in particular are troublesome – SJRB would reduce base pay for all public employees by 5% for three years; and, SB7 would increase the amount public employees have to pay for health care premiums to 20 percent.
Next week we will give you a detailed analysis of what is contained in the Governor Snyder’s budget, but take a moment now and send an email to your State Senator and Representative and let them know the proposals for 5% and 20% is unfair to the folks who education children, drive school busses, put out fires, keep our drinking water safe, and risk their lives keeping our communities safe.
Yesterday, the Senate passed a teacher evaluation bill; the bill now moves to the House for consideration. Under the bill at least 45 percent of public school teachers' evaluations would be based on academic achievement growth of the students in their classrooms. Student achievement would be measured by standardized state tests and local evaluations. It is aimed at “fixing” teacher tenure. AFT Michigan opposes this bill. Please e-mail your State Representative ASAP and ask them to vote “NO” on this bill.
Recently State Representative Fred Durhal (D-Detroit) introduced a package of bills calling for Renaissance School Districts (HB 6576, 6577, 6578, 6579). Basically, school districts in a deficit situation would have their debt forgiven in exchange for making "reforms" including eliminating seniority systems, eliminating work-rules, and allowing the Superintendent to determine professional development, work schedules including length of day and year, merit pay and more.
These Bills are another attempt to lay blame on school employees and further isolate us away from decisions affecting our students and our work. They will create yet another layer of bureaucracy and paperwork, while containing no structural changes at the leadership level of a school district.
Please send a letter to your State Senator and Representative asking them to vote "NO" on HB 6576-6579, or on any similar legislation that comes before them.
The Senate Education Committee approved two bills last week that will seriously affect teacher tenure. The bills are awaiting action when the Senate comes back into session, currently scheduled for November 30. In the remaining few days of the legislative session it is possible these bills, or similar bills dealing with tenure, could move through the legislative process quickly. Please take a minute right now to send an email to your State Senator and State Representative asking them to vote “NO” on these bills.
Senate Bill 1581 (Kuipers, R-Holland) would do the following:
• Allow a school board to require a tenured teacher to serve an additional four-year probationary period if he or she is rated as “ineffective” for two consecutive years.
• Requires that a teacher in the final year of a 4-year probationary period, must be rated as “effective” to be considered to have successfully completed the probationary period, and he or she cannot be employed for the ensuing year unless he or she is rated as “effective.”
• Establishes a teacher as “ineffective’ if the administrator fails to evaluate them.
• Require teachers on continuing tenure to be given a performance evaluation at least annually, rather than at least once every three years.
Senate Bill 1582 (Kuipers, R-Holland) would do the following:
• Require a school board's performance evaluation system to rate a teacher as "effective" or "ineffective" and ensure that at least 50% of an evaluation is based on student growth.
• Require the evaluation be used for teacher tenure decisions.
• Require the evaluation system provide for an undefined appeal process for teachers to their local superintendent.
Senate Bills 1581 and 1582 are currently awaiting action on the Senate floor.
Higher Ed and Community College Budget Bills Still Undecided
Members are urged to contact their State Representative and State Senator to encourage them to pass the Higher Education Budget Bills with no cuts to public postsecondary education and no language designed to dampen academic freedom.