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Detroit school teachers vow to fight yet another pay cut, increased class sizes, and 24 school closings

[NOTE: Edited to clarify that the DPS budget was created by the DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin, not the School Board.]

When Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin put together the Detroit Public Schools budget for the coming year, it included revenue from a $14.8 million county-wide school millage that did not pass in the August primary election. Because of this blunder, now the district finds itself having make huge changes. In an updated budget and deficit-elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education last week, we found out just how huge:

  • DPS teachers, who took a a 10% wage cut in 2011, will see their wages cut by 10% again
  • The district will lay off people to eliminate 1,381 positions from this year through 2019
  • 24 additional schools will close starting next year
  • Teachers will pay as much as $13.1 million more for their health insurance coverage
  • Golf and tennis will be ended for both boys and girls

Unsurprisingly, teachers are not taking this sitting down, not especially surprising since they are facing a loss of a fifth of their salary while working in one of the most difficult and challenging teaching environments in the entire country.…

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Proof that Eastern Michigan University’s EAA affiliation is hurting College of Education student teachers

The faculty and students of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education have been actively seeking to end the institution’s affiliation with the Education Achievement Authority, Gov. Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit students. Among the many horror stories coming out of the EAA, we learned this past week that they are literally experimenting with 100-student kindergarten classes.

I’m not kidding.

There has been a protest rally, a petition, and open letters which I have posted HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Each time, the students and faculty have been rebuffed by their Board of Regents.

Things have gotten so bad that nearly a dozen school districts refuse to accept EMU College of Education students as student teachers.…

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Mackinac Center continues its efforts to encourage freeloading & destroy teachers union with mass mailing

Last week I wrote about how the corporatist front group Mackinac Center had sent a mass email to teachers in over 50 school districts in Michigan encouraging them to leave the Michigan Education Association, one of the two largest teachers unions in the state.

Their effort didn’t stop there. This week, teachers across the state received postcards in the mail urging them to freeload off the work their union does on their behalf to secure reasonable wages and benefits by leaving the union. This shameless effort to destroy the MEA is transparent in its intent: starve the MEA of the funds it needs to operate to help teachers work with the dignity they deserve and to be adequately compensated for the essential service they provide to society.…

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AUDIO: Mackinac Center staffer claims emails urging teachers to leave union aren’t “political” (UPDATED)

po·lit·i·cal – /pəˈlitikəl/ – adjective: of or relating to the government or the public affairs of a country

Updated with video of Rachael Siemen asking her question.

Yesterday at a forum at the Michigan House Office Building, the Mackinac Center brought in a representative from another notorious corporatist front group, The Heritage Foundation, to spew propaganda regarding the raising of the minimum wage. During the question and answer period following the presentation, UAW Local 6000 member Rachael Siemen asked Mackinac Center staffer Vincent Vernuccio a simple question regarding a recent email sent spammed out to thousands of public school teachers in Michigan urging them to leave the Michigan Education Association teachers union.…

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BREAKING: Mackinac Center using public school email system to encourage teachers to leave their union (UPDATED)

NOTE: Updated to clarify the restriction on unions using official school emails to conduct business.

NOTE 2: This post has been updated HERE.

The anti-union corporatist group the Mackinac Center is using public school email systems to encourage teachers to leave the Michigan Education Association, one of two major teachers unions in the state. I have confirmed that at least five teachers in the Livonia school district received the following email in their school email accounts:

From: Peter Boyd
Date: Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Subject: August Opt-Out
To: [NAME REDACTED]@livoniapublicschools.org

Dear Colleague:

My name is Peter Boyd, and I’m a high school science teacher in the Martin school district.

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UPDATED: Who gets held responsible when kids violently fight in schools? – The EAA vs. public schools

Last week, a vicious fight broke out between two students at the Education Achievement Authority’s Pershing High School. With a non-functional walkie-talkie and no other adults around to help, teacher Tiffani Eaton had to act fast as the two brawling boys thrashed around the room, punching each other, and knocking over desks. She grabbed a broom handle and whacked one of the boys on the back with it, screaming for them to stop.

For her troubles, she has been fired. The two students were suspended; one for ten days and the other for three. The Michigan Citizen reports that one of the students wasn’t even supposed to have been in school since he had been suspended.…

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INTERVIEW – Former EAA teacher: “I really think that they are being dishonest with the public, teachers, and parents”

One of the recurring themes in the conversations that I have had with various teachers and administrators who work or have worked for the Education Achievement Authority is that when financial benefactors or members of our state government came to visit, the entire school transformed. Schedules were altered, often on the fly, to accommodate the visitors’ schedules. Kids ate lunch very early or very late, and as you’ll learn in this interview, teachers were reassigned from their normal classrooms to pose as teacher’s assistants for other teachers to give the appearance that large classrooms had multiple adults in them even though that was not normally the case.…

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Pontiac for-profit charter cancels humiliating “Teacher Appreciation Week” activities

Yesterday, I wrote about the activities planned for teachers at the Arts and Technology Academy of Pontiac (ATAP), a for-profit charter school run by Mosaica. These “Teacher Appreciation Week” activities featured a variety of what can only be described as humiliating activities planned for the teachers to raise funds for the school. They included:

  • MANDIVA – Our 3 favorite male faculty members in heels for an hour
  • SAVE MY JOB – 3 faculty members will stand in the parking lot during dismissal and hold a sign.
  • CREAM FACIAL – Students will throw pie in 3 faculty members’ faces during an assembly.
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UPDATED: For-profit charter group Mosaica celebrates “Teacher Appreciation Week” with compulsory teacher humiliation activities

Teacher humiliation for fun and profit

Mosaica Education, Inc., a self-described “for-profit education management organization”, runs eight different for-profit schools in Michigan:

  • Arts and Technology Academy of Pontiac
  • Bay County Public School Academy
  • Bingham Arts Academy
  • Edgewood Elementary School
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
  • Mosaica Online Academy of Michigan
  • Muskegon Heights High School
  • Muskegon Heights Middle School

In fact, the entire Muskegon Heights school system, under the control of an Emergency Manager, is run by Mosaica. They are in the news lately because they’ve had to secure loans from the state because they are unable to make payroll.

The Arts and Technology Academy of Pontiac – a K-10 Mosaica-run charter with roughly 600 students – has an annual fundraiser to bring in revenue to the school.…

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The one reform education in Michigan needs (and it has NOTHING to do with money)

As Gary notes below, this post will be his last at Eclectablog. It’s been a joy to have him writing for the site and sharing his wisdom and insight into the world of an educator who is on the cutting edge of science-based education models and who understands both the benefits and perils of the use of technology in the classroom. We wish Gary, his wife, and their new baby all the best and invite him to come back to share his knowledge with us any time.

- Chris

Note: This month marks the close of my tenure with Eclectablog. I have thoroughly appreciated, enjoyed, and learned from the opportunity to write with this talented and caring team over this past year.

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