Saturday, February 6, 2016



This week's update: 
--Congress needs to address student loan debt
--President Obama to release FY2017 budget Tuesday 
--ESSA implementation ramps up!

There is a bill being introduced into the House very very soon about school choice in DC.  Call your House Representative TODAY or this week and tell them that supporting school choice is NOT supporting public education!  Here is a link to find the phone number for your rep and/or send them a personal email.

Here is the bill

Don't forget to check out the BATs Election Scorecard



Districts with voucher students fear funding cut


The PA House is Preparing More Attacks on Pennsylvania's Workers!

Our Stand for Children campaign received enough signatures to put our initiative on the ballot for November. This initiative would force the state to better fund our schools. Here is what the MEA reported in our weekly newsletter:"The game-changing amount of money would come from a ballot initiative called Stand Up for Students. The MEA is happy to announce today the initiative gathered nearly 95,000 signatures, far more than the 61,123 needed to put the issue on the ballot in November 2016. Nearly 350 members from around the state helped gather signatures in 489 cities and towns across every county in the state.

Collecting all the signatures necessary to put this funding issue before voters was not easy, and the MEA wants to say THANK YOU to all those who supported the cause.

The MEA, along with retired educators, will turn in all the petitions to the Secretary of State for final approval on February 1st. Once validated, the question to increase education funding by an estimated $157 million in the first year alone by creating a 3% surcharge on Maine's top 2% of income earners will be placed on the ballot. The ballot initiative, bringing the state to the required 55% funding level, requires funding from the surcharge be used for direct classroom instruction, including teachers, school nurses and other critical public school personnel."

That was "thumbs up." Thumbs down goes to the Maine Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. Three Democrats joined with Republican members in siding with administration over teachers to kill a bill on involuntary transfers. LD 1544 would give teachers who are being involuntarily transferred to a different position or school the right to a hearing before the School Board. Many Maine teachers have reported to the MEA that administrators are increasing their use of involuntary transfers to punish teachers or force retirements.

Tennessee Bats have been involved with legislators and other grassroots groups in a voucher fight that will come to a climax Monday. Legislators have made heavy use of our networking and social media abilities to make sure legislators hear from their constituents. We are also fighting a dues deduction caption bill that will remove almost all locals' ability to collect membership dues by payroll. We are supporting bills to do away with or reduce the ability of the Achievement School District and their ability to take local schools. There are other testing bills and a bill to attempt removing VAM. Last but not least, I have picked up papers to run for the Tennessee General Assembly House of Representatives.  They have been working with TEA on all fronts

The School Our Keiki Deserve Omnibus Education Act has been introduced in the Hawaii State Legislature and hearings in both the senate (SB2586) and the house (HB2733) will be held on Wednesday, February 10. Members of the Hawaii State Teachers Association Speakers' Bureau, including some Hawaii BATs, will be flying to Honolulu from various parts of the state to present testimony. Others will mail in testimony or call legislators. On February 5, hundreds of teachers, community members, and students rallied at the state capitol in support of the legislation that proposes a dedicated education fund created by a 1% increase in the state's general excise tax to provide an additional $700-750 million per year to end high-stakes testing, promote whole child education, improve vocational education, recruit and retain qualified teachers, improve services for students who have special needs and students who speak English as a second language, increase support for rural schools, support teachers with discretionary funds for supplies, repair and maintain facilities, including air conditioning in classrooms, and establish public preschools islandwide.

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