Thursday, December 04, 2014

2014 MEA Compensation Comparison

Recently the annual LM2 report for the MEA was filed with the Department of Labor. This report (required by the Department of Labor) details the compensation for all officers and employees of the Michigan Education Association; you can find the simple analysis of the report here (also shown below), and the complete report here (enter file number 512-840.) As has been the case for years, compensation at the parent organization (the MEA is the state level organizing unit of the NEA) is consistently stronger than for the rank and file teachers. This years report shows strong pay increases for staff. Compensation at the top increased by nearly 4.5%. The median increase in compensation for all MEA staff was 4.23%. Once again, all top ten MEA officers continue to earn more than Governor Snyder (his annual compensation is $159,300).

If you are an MEA member, you can search these reports by name to see what your UniServe director's compensation - to find your UniServe diretor see this link to the MEA website.
 




Total TOP TEN history:




Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Later School Start Times & Sleep Deprived Athletes

A very brief summary of how we permit our current system to perpetuate sleep deprivation in one of our "strongest" populations, our high school athletes.

That these students manage to excel is a testament to their strength of will, yet they could do much better if they only managed to avoid the sleep deprivation they have learned to live with. The question is why do we force that choice on them?

Ultimately Oakland School should take the proactive move and push high schools in the system to move to later start times. The single change will have the collective impact of improving the health, mood, academic, and athletic performance of all high school students. The research is abundant and definitive. Waiting is simply appeasement to the adults that root themselves in the status quo.





Friday, June 06, 2014

Burning Bridges and Lifting Spirits

First the burning bridges, or “How to lose credibility and wreck a relationship in four easy steps:”

First, negotiate and craft a process with your partners in “good faith” and then explicitly agree to the metrics of that process. Second, allow the process, as negotiated, to proceed. Third, flame the fires of anxiety and misperception regarding the process and its metrics while “conveniently” forgetting that you helped to craft the process and its metrics. Fourth, berate your partners in public by implying that you had nothing to do with the process or the metrics of that process.

Such is the state of relationship building today. 

Second, the lifting spirits, or “Thank you for writing!”

Today I received a note from a parent that wanted to share their experience. I will not divulge the particulars, but I have to share the heart of the message. This person’s child moved from a difficult situation into Birmingham Schools as a new student. In praising the building’s staff, special note was made regarding the principal and homeroom teacher. Both individuals were dedicated to ensuring this child not only felt safe in a new school, but helped to weave this child into the fabric of the classroom and school community. This principal and teacher worked together to make the life of this child better. In the child’s own words these two helped to “…give me the chance to be a better student.” They made a difference in the life of this child.

It does not get better than that, which makes the first half of this post tolerable. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Boycott the MEAP if it returns…

The unmitigated legislative hubris of Michigan’s lawmakers is fully exposed as demands for the return of the much reviled MEAP ring loud in the capital’s cambers. For those that are unaware, Michigan schools have, for many years, supported the framework offered by the Common Core Standards. In the Birmingham School District, we built our curriculum around the common core foundation because we, like other districts, choose to support stronger standards and higher student achievement. The standards are our baseline and we move higher from there. 

The legislature's  zealous pursuit of a return to the MEAP is due to the federal government’s support of the Common Core initiative with funding. Current federal funding includes monies further supporting the Michigan based and funded implementation of the Common Core Standards and the new Smarter Balanced Assessment tests. 

It is this new “federal support” that has our legislators agitating for a return to an outdated, non-aligned, and ineffective MEAP test.This agitation come from the misrepresentation that accepting federal monies lessens Michigan’s control over it’s schools curriculum and testing. IT DOES NOT.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a superior tool designed to gauge understanding, and help support student progress. This computer based test adapts to the students level of understanding which allows districts and teachers to support, accelerate, or reinforce the learning that happens in the classroom. The results are returned quickly which makes the data relevant and actionable. The MEAP, in contrast, simply tests to a flatline of knowledge; the results are returned so late in the year that districts and teachers can do nothing in the current year to help students. The MEAP is a backwards looking test; it tells you where you were and does little to help districts and students move forward. Relative to helping students today, the MEAP is a waste of time and money. 


Lansing must listen to and support the work of parents, school boards, administrators, and teachers who are working for a better educational future; this sudden shift backwards will hurt us all. I am calling for school boards, administrators, and parents to support a boycott of the MEAP should Lansing implement its return. It’s time to push back. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Representative Tom McMillin - Working to keep Michigan’s Kids Behind!

Once again “Representative” Tom McMillin shows his contempt for raising the educational bar for Michigan’s school children by insisting on using the outdated MEAP exam next year. An article in MLive highlights his position: “McMillin, a frequent critic of the Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balanced exams based on the standards, believes the department could prepare the MEAP for next school year.” He’s trying to force the state to use the old MEAP test rather than the new smarter balanced assessment. 

Insisting on using the MEAP is like riding a bike with both hands tied behind your back, you might stay upright for a time, but you’re guaranteed to crash. Educators across Michigan have long understood the problems with the MEAP, and the list of the test’s deficiencies is long. Here are just a few problems related to the old MEAP:


  • The results are worthless for improving learning outcomes (nearly a full school year passes prior to getting results)
  • The test is not aligned to important critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Most Michigan districts have adopted the Common Core to guide their own curriculum development, the MEAP is not aligned with what schools are teaching
  • MEAP is specific to Michigan making comparative analysis between our results problematic.

I’ve already commented on how McMillian has perverted the idea of the common core. In fact, his “understanding” rests on manufactured misrepresentations (i.e., lies). An important disclosure, I’m a fiscally conservative republican, and I’m elected school board member that supports the common core initiative. I’ve studied the common core and I’ve researched the development of the standards. I am a witness to how our district is working to ensure our own curriculum (my emphasis) supports the core standards, and then moves to exceed those standards. 

If we have any hope of moving out of the stone age of educational assessment and comprehensive learning, the polluted ideas of people like Tom McMillin should be exposed for the misrepresentations that they are.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bill Schuette’s History Lesson

Attorney General Bill Schuette notes that it’s his job to uphold Michigan’s Constitution (Free Press editorial, 3/27/14), I agree that he is only doing his job. But as Mike Thompson’s editorial cartoon illustrates Mr. Schuette is tilting at windmills. 

His “rational basis” for the 2004 voter support of a ban on gay marriage is the notion of how marriage was traditionally understood “by virtually all civilizations throughout the centuries.” Those civilizations also understood slavery to be normal, child labor to be cost effective, and until 1920 in the United States, suppressing women’s ability vote to be morally acceptable.

My wife and I have been married 18 years and we never questioned our civil and legal rights in making this commitment. For gay couples, Michigan’s amended Constitution denies these same civil and legal rights based entirely upon their sexual orientation.

It’s Bill Shuette’s job to presses his case all the way to the US Supreme Court. I suspect that only there will his last editorial comment be amended to read: “…it is fundamentally wrong to treat people differently based on the color of skin, gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”  

Monday, December 09, 2013

2013 MEA Compensation Comparision

Recently the annual LM2 report for the MEA was filed with the Department of Labor. This report (required by the Department of Labor) details the compensation for all officers and employees of the Michigan Education Association; you can find the simple analysis of the report here (also shown below), and the complete report here. As has been the case for years, compensation at the parent organization (the MEA is the state level organizing unit of the NEA) is consistently stronger than for the rank and file teachers. This years report shows a small increase of staff, reversing last years reduction. Compensation at the top decreased again for the third year. The average increase continues to outpace the CPI at over 6.6% but this is influenced by timing issues (some individuals may have come onto the payroll mid year, etc.) and other adjustments. The median increase in compensation for all MEA staff was 0.30%. Once again, all top ten MEA officers continue to earn more than Governor Snyder (his annual compensation is $159,300).

If you are an MEA member, you can search these reports by name to see what your UniServe director's compensation - to find your UniServe diretor see this link to the MEA website.

The Top Ten salaries of the MEA are listed here:
These salaries are all based on the Department of Labor LM2 filings.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Common Core Support


In an attempt to address the political bluster that has infected the conversation regarding the common core efforts, Chester Finn Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli (both from the Fordham Institute) offer some common sense insights.  An interesting quote is the observation from Governor Rick Snyder: “I think the Common Core is a really important opportunity. ... Unfortunately, it’s been too much about politics. Too many people in our country ...are looking to fight someone for the sake of fighting.”

That quote is worth it’s weight in gold; some politicians (see prior post) are using Common Core in a hypocritical attempt to create controversy solely for political points. Facts and research mean nothing to this type of “politician,” only the red-meat sound bite matters. What is it about politics that attracts this type of person? More to the point, why do we keep electing them? Maybe we should pay more attention, and maybe we should call them on the facts, not the sound bite....