State news roundup for October 17, 2015

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Massachusetts – Adverse effects of charter schools are focus of State House hearing

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Juan Cofield, president of New England Area Conference of the NAACP, and MTA President Barbara Madeloni listened to the testimony of Marlena Rose of the Boston Education Justice Alliance.

A steady procession of advocates for public education — including parents, educators, administrators, legislators, civil rights activists and labor leaders — underscored the destabilizing effects that Commonwealth charter schools are having on district public schools during testimony at the State House on Tuesday, Oct. 13 [ed note: pictured above and at left].

The MTA and its community partners in the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance are among those supporting Senate 326, one of the many charter-related bills heard by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education. The bill, filed by Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), would place a moratorium on any charter school expansion for three years and require all teachers in charter schools to be fully certified.

Members of MTA locals from around the state waited several hours in Gardner Auditorium before being able to testify on behalf of S. 326 and against legislation filed by Governor Charlie Baker that would expand charter school growth.

Learn more at MassTeacher.org.

New Jersey – Teacher leader law strengthens the profession, schools

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NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan (r) testifies in favor of A-3989 before the Assembly Education Committee on May 13. With Blistan is NJEA Associate Director of Government Relations Fran Pfeffer.

Thanks to a new law, New Jersey teachers will be able to earn a teacher leader endorsement to their instructional certificates. Teacher leadership provides a model for schools that will allow teachers to lead from their classrooms. Teacher leaders are not doing the job of administrators; they will be advocates for the profession and student learning. They will serve in positions where they help improve teacher practice and create a collaborative culture where decisions about schools and learning can be made with teachers, not above them.

The endorsement will be based on national teacher-leader standards. NJEA believes a teacher leader endorsement will:

  • Improve teacher quality and student learning, as teachers learn from other teachers.
  • Create collective leadership in a school, which helps both the school culture and student achievement.
  • Create a career ladder to help keep highly effective teachers in the classroom.
  • Help ensure schools remain focused on instruction.

Visit NJEA.org to find out more about the new teacher leader endorsement.

Illinois – TRS: Retirees won’t be affected by state’s budget problems

Illinois IEA logoIt was recently reported that the budget impasse/revenue shortfall will cause the comptroller to temporarily delay the state’s statutorily required pension payments to all of the five state-funded pension systems beginning in November. The pension systems impacted are the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), the State Universities Retirement System (SURS), the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS), the Judges Retirement System (JRS), and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS). The IEA, TRS, SURS, and the comptroller are 100 percent confident that retirees in these affected retirement systems will continue to receive their retirement annuity. The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) is not impacted.

With the state entering the fourth month of a budget impasse, the IEA continues to closely monitor how the state will manage and prioritize budgetary items since there is clearly an imbalance between state expenditures, such as education funding, and the actual revenues coming into the state’s coffers to meet those budgetary commitments.

The IEA was aware that this was an option being explored by the comptroller for some time. The delay of the state’s pension contribution to the state retirement systems is a budgetary tool previously utilized by comptrollers to manage the state’s cash flow needs. We will continue to work with the comptroller’s office and other state policy makers to ensure that the required pension payments that are being delayed will be paid in full to the respective pension systems. Additionally, the IEA is committed to finding the revenue needed to resolve the inadequacy of the state’s current revenue system.

Read the complete article at IEANEA.org.

Michigan – Professional issues in higher education will be the focus of Fall Conference, Oct. 23

Higher-Ed-Barg-AnncRegister now for the Fall 2015 Higher Education Professional Issues in Higher Education Conference, “Creating Great Places to Learn and Work,” at MEA Headquarters on Friday, October 23 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lunch speaker will be Rep. Tim Greimel, Michigan House Democratic Leader. Along with a legislative update and an MEA officers’ roundtable, there will be “flash sessions” on Financial Analysis for Bargaining, the Affordable Care Act for Adjuncts, Retirement Security in Education, Title IX Implications in Higher Education and more.

Find the complete conference schedule and register to attend at MEA.org.

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