State news roundup for August 22, 2015

New Hampshire – More than 100 educators rally in Londonderry

More than 100 educators and supporters from across New England converged on the lawn at Londonderry High School on Wednesday in response to the Education Summit hosted by Campbell Brown and featuring six republican presidential candidates. [ed note: pictured at top]

“We are here because we are not allowed inside,” said Scott McGilvray, NEA-New Hampshire President. Earlier in the day, NEA-NH member Penny Culliton was denied entry, even though she held a valid registration entry form. She was told, “It’s a private event and we can deny access to anyone we want” by event organizers.

All 17 Republican candidates ignored invitations from NEA-NH to sit down and meet with them to discuss their education policy and to try to secure NEA-NH’s recommendation for the Republican primary. In 2008, Mike Huckabee earned NEA-NH’s recommendation for their Republican members in that primary.

“They have disqualified themselves by barring us from entering the Summit and by refusing to sit down and discuss policy. These are not policy decisions, these are personal attacks on our profession,” continued McGilvray.

Read more about the rally at

Connecticut – CEA members join colleagues to rally for public education

Penny Culliton
Penny Culliton

“It was disappointing that teachers were not allowed to participate or attend a summit on education today—go figure,” said Westport librarian, Association president, and NEA Director John Horrigan.

Horrigan was one of nearly 40 CEA members and staff, and more than 100 teachers from around New England, who rallied in Londonderry, New Hampshire, where Republican presidential candidates were participating in an education summit.

“Republican presidential candidates need to seek teacher input, not turn us away,” said New Hampshire teacher Penny Culliton, who was refused entry to the GOP Education Summit (watch video), despite having a ticket to the event and driving an hour and a half to get there.

“I was shocked and disappointed,” she said. “It’s an education summit, and, as a teacher, I wanted to hear what the candidates have to say about education. It’s where I needed to be.”

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Michigan – Are schools of choice negatively impacting a student’s academic success

Michigan MI logoA new study by Michigan State University Professor Joshua Cowen on the state’s school choice policy reveals that only fewer than half of students who moved out of their schools to a neighboring school district stayed there. And the instability is having an impact on their academic achievement.

The policy allows parents to move their children to a school which they believe provides a better education than the one they currently attend. The school choice program began in 1994 as part of Proposal A, and today 80 percent of school districts follow the policy.

In the study, “Dynamic Participation in Inter-district Open Enrollment: Evidence from Michigan 20015-13,” Cowen’s research found that the students who switched schools were more likely to have academic issues because of the move. The study also found that low-income students were more likely to switch schools and students struggling academically were more likely to switch than those earning good grades.

Find out more about the study at

Illinois – Illinois Senate overrides Rauner veto of fair arbitration bill; House vote coming

IL Gov Rauner looking sadBy a vote of 38-15, a super-majority of state senators from every part of Illinois voted on Wednesday to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the fair arbitration bill, Senate Bill 1229. (Download the Senate roll call)

Applauding the action was the Illinois AFL-CIO and many unions that represent state workers and other public employees, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31, the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), the Illinois Nurses Association (INA), the Laborers International Union of North America-Midwest Region, the Police Benevolent & Protective Association (PB&PA), SEIU Healthcare Illinois and the Illinois Education Association (IEA).

The legislation offers to state employees (such as child protection workers, nurses and caregivers) the option of the same fair arbitration process provided to state and local police, fire and prison security personnel in Illinois for more than 30 years.

The bill would help avert the potential conflict, hardship and disruption of a statewide strike or lockout by offering arbitration as an alternative means of resolving contract disputes between state employees’ unions and the Rauner Administration if ongoing negotiations fail to produce agreements.

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