State news roundup for February 14, 2015

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Washington – Senate education chairman focuses on the wrong thing for our kids

The Supreme Court is holding the Legislature in contempt over school funding. Voters have passed laws requiring smaller K-12 class sizes and higher educator pay. The economy is improving.

Clearly, now is the time for the state Legislature to step up and fully fund our public schools.

So what is Sen. Steve Litzow, chairman of the Senate education committee, doing to ensure the Legislature finally funds the quality public schools our kids deserve?

He’s sponsoring bills that mandate the use of state tests in teacher evaluations – even though there’s no research or evidence that doing so helps kids or their teachers. That’s the wrong focus, say WEA members.

Visit OurVoiceWashingtonEA.org to learn more.

Montana – Join us! State pay plan day of action February 16

webbutton_feb16_300State employees will once again converge on the state capitol Monday, Feb. 16, for the second State Pay Plan Half Dollar Day of Action.

We’ll give Montana legislators the message: Passing our state pay plan is good for Montana’s communities and economy. It’s good for state employees and their families. It’s the right thing to do.

Buses will be bringing state employees from Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Anaconda, and Deer Lodge.

Day of Action details:
WHERE: Meet at Jefferson School, 1023 E. Broadway, Helena. From there we’ll go to the state capitol.

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 16 (Presidents Day)

TIME: 10:30 a.m. SHARP to 1:00 p.m.

Find out more and get involved at MEA-MFT.org.

Massachusetts – MTA holds collective bargaining summit

MTA bargaining summitOrganizing, bargaining and working to build stronger unions are the pathways to better public schools for students, their families and educators.

That was the clear message from an MTA Collective Bargaining Summit on February 7 that featured activists from educator unions in Chicago, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon.

Nearly 200 MTA members from 44 locals, plus Legislative and Political Action Team leaders, attended workshops and discussion groups over the course of the day.

“We are taking our first steps in reclaiming public education here in Massachusetts and nationally,” said MTA President Barbara Madeloni.

Chicago Teachers Union member Jen Johnson discussed the makeover of her union through internal organizing and elections that brought in new leadership.

Read more about the summit at MassTeacher.org.

Illinois – Rauner attacks fair share for state employees

IL Gov Rauner Report squareIllinois Governor Bruce Rauner today signed an executive order intended to eliminate “fair share” for about 6,500 State of Illinois employees. It appears the governor’s intention is to eliminate the requirement that these unionized employees pay dues to their union.

Whether the governor’s action is legal is far from clear, but he has hired high-profile attorney Dan Webb to handle this case.

Webb is working “pro bono.”

According to the Chicago Tribune:

Rauner said a legal team headed by former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb and colleagues at the law firm of Winston & Strawn will handle a case in which the state will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the governor’s position, a move known as a declarative judgment. Unions also could try to go to court to block Rauner’s move and state lawmakers have the power to overturn executive orders if they can muster the voters.

Visit IEANEA.org to get the full story.

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