State news roundup for March 21, 2015

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Montana – Tax dollars for private schools?

mea logoCheck out this report from the Montana Public Education Center regarding school privatization proposals pending before the 2015 Legislature. MEA-MFT is a member of MT-PEC.

Montanans are clearly opposed to tax benefits for private schools, particularly once they realize that tax credits divest citizens of their rights to vote, know and have input into decisions of and be informed regarding the performance of schools receiving public support, including support through tax credits.

The Oklahoma Legislature recently dropped similar legislation there upon the release of polling numbers showing opposition to such proposals among Oklahoma voters. Montana Legislators have had access to similar polling numbers showing overwhelming opposition in Montana since release of our public opinion poll in September 2014, conducted by widely-respected polling firm Zogby Analytics.

Read more and see the complete report at MEA-MFT.org.

Illinois – TAKE ACTION: Fight education funding cuts

Illinois-IEA-logo-06-30-12Proposals being debated in Springfield right now would cut $150 million from K-12 public education during the current school year.

Cutting $150 million equates to the cutting of three teachers in every district for the entire school year.

IEA members are urged to make sure their legislators voices hear the voices of education employees.

It’s easy to email your legislator. Do it now!

Find out more at IEANEA.org or click here to email your legislators!

Connecticut – Fair testing expert tells CT legislators about value of CEA proposal

fairtestguy“Parents, students, and teachers are currently rising in rebellion against the overuse and misuse of standardized tests,” Dr. Monty Neill, executive director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, told the legislature’s Education Committee this afternoon.

Neill said,”CEA has proposed a rich, flexible yet strong set of proposals that would take the state well beyond the limitations and problems caused by the near-sole reliance on standardized tests as the indicator, indeed definition, of the quality of education. The evidence is that the state’s educators could build these new systems and that the result is likely to be improvement in schools, teaching and learning.”

Visit BlogCEA.org to find out more and read Dr. Neill’s complete testimony.

Washington – The truth about ESSB 5748: State test scores tied to teacher evaluations

Washington WEA our voice logoEarlier in March, the state Senate approved Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5748, which mandates the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations.

WEA members staunchly oppose this bill and any proposal that mandates test scores in teacher evaluations. The Senate’s own bill report shows WEA’s lead lobbyist and several WEA leaders testified against the bill. WEA lobbyists met with many senators to explain our opposition. Nearly 1,000 WEA members emailed their senators in opposition to 5748. Multiple WEA blog posts and member emails expressed WEA’s objections to the bill, as did many newspaper and radio stories.

Six Republican senators and 17 Democratic senators listened to the concerns of WEA members and voted against ESSB 5748. Yet seven Democratic state senators joined 19 Republicans and voted for the bill, and it passed. Several of the Democrats who voted for the bill are now claiming WEA supported it.

This is false. WEA opposed ESSB 5748 before the Senate passed it, and we continue to oppose it.

Read the complete story at OurVoiceWashingtonEA.org.

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