State news roundup for May 9, 2015

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Washington – Eastern Washington teachers vote to stage one-day strikes, list grows to 40

IMG_2297Eastern Washington teachers have joined the growing list of educators approving one-day strikes against the Legislature over school funding.

Teachers in Wenatchee, Kennewick, Pasco and Richland are walking out [ed note: pictured above] to protest budget plans that fail to fully fund smaller class sizes in all grade levels and that fall far short of funding the professional pay and benefits needed to attract and keep qualified educators for our kids. Click here to see a budget comparison.

“The target of this action is the state Legislature,” said Kris Cameron, president of the Wenatchee Education Association. “Thousands of teachers in districts across the state have taken similar action, and we are proud to join them.”

Get the full story and see the complete list of participating locals at OurVoiceWashingtonEA.org.

Illinois – Madigan schedules vote on Rauner’s “right to work” plan

RaunerReportGraphic2_19_2015Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced on Thursday that he’s scheduled a House vote on Gov. Rauner’s anti-middle class “right to work” proposal for Thursday, May 14.

IEA President Cinda Klickna released the following statement:

“Next Thursday, the Illinois General Assembly can tell Governor Rauner to drop his attack on the middle class and start focusing on our state’s real problems.

Despite his proposal’s repeated failure to be adopted by local governments statewide, the governor has refused to acknowledge that “right to work” is an idea no one wants that is intended to address a problem Illinois does not have. Lawmakers can end this charade next Thursday.

We urge the members of the House to say with a loud voice that “right to work” is wrong for middle class families and wrong for Illinois.

By voting no, on “right to work” lawmakers can tell Gov. Rauner to get back to work by sitting down with the legislative leaders to develop real solutions to the very real problems of our state.”

Find out more and get involved in the fight at IEANEA.org.

Michigan – Snyder proposes two separate school districts for Detroit

Michigan MI logoGov. Snyder’s K-12 education plan to restructure Detroit splits the district into two separate ones—one to pay off the $483 million debt, and one to oversee enrollment and other district functions.

The current school district, its emergency manager and school board would be in charge of paying off the debt. Snyder proposes that an 18-mill levy on non-homestead property generating $72 million a year would go to the debt. The state would fund the $72 million to make sure the new district would continue operations until it is debt-free in six to seven years.

The new school district would be renamed, “City of Detroit Education District” under the authority of a seven-member school board. Four of the members will be Governor-appointees; the remaining three will be appointed by Detroit’s mayor. Both the Governor and the mayor would appoint a Detroit Education Commission that would hire an education manager to oversee all Detroit schools—current city schools, charter schools and those in the Education Achievement Authority (EAA). The new enrollment system would give parents the chance to choose the school they want for their children.

Visit MEA.org to learn more about the proposal.

Pennsylvania – Proposed bill ties educator furloughs to evaluation scores

Pennsylvania-PSEA-logo[1]State representatives just advanced a bill that would make it easier to furlough experienced educators and based high-stakes furlough decisions on a new, untested educator evaluation system.

The House Education Committee voted (14-9) to advance House Bill 805, which would allow school districts to disregard teachers’ seniority and experience in the classroom and tie high-stakes furlough decisions to educators’ teacher evaluation scores.

HB 805 is now on a fast-track for a full vote in the House of Representatives.

“It’s inappropriate, insulting, and ironic that legislators would take a vote like this during Teacher Appreciation Week,” said PSEA President Mike Crossey. “I can’t think of a worse way to honor educators’ work in our schools and classrooms than to vote on a bill like this one.”

Learn more at PSEA.org.

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