BEAlert - August 2017
NEA DELEGATES FOCUS ON EQUITY AND INTEGRITY IN EDUCATION
This summer the National Education Association (NEA) conference was held in Boston Massachusetts. Attending on behalf of the BEA were NEA delegates Linda Peterson (Berkshire) and Scott Craig (Seaholm).
NEA Delegates adopted many new resolutions. Here are a few that will impact BEA teachers and our focus on equity in education.
Racial Justice: The NEA will actively advocate for the construction of social and educational strategies whose goal is the elimination of institutional racism, white privilege, and white supremacy.
Science Education: The NEA rebukes political efforts to undermine scientific truth and contends that science education be based on scientific consensus and theory that incorporates empirical evidence and scientific methodology.
Education Employee Evaluation: The NEA stands firm behind empirical studies that show standardized tests are inadequate measurements of teacher effectiveness and must not be used in any part of an evaluation.
Equity: The NEA stands for all students including immigrant students, students of color, students from religious minorities, and LGBTQ students and will act to ensure that their civil rights are fully protected.
BEAlert - June 2017
MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT WILL HEAR APPEAL OF 3% CASE
The Michigan Supreme Court has decided to consider an appeal filed by Governor Snyder regarding the 3% retirement case. This is an appeal of the Michigan Court of Appeals' directive that the State of Michigan refund--with interest--the money involuntarily withheld from the paychecks of all public school employees under a 2010 amendment to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement Act (MPSRS). From July 2010 through January 2013, the salary of every public school employee was reduced by 3% to pay for post-employment retiree health care of persons already retired--even though current employees had no guarantee that we would receive health care once we retired. The MEA challenged the validity of this law and has prevailed at every stage of this litigation--now seven years old.
The MEA will make a vigorous argument that the Supreme Court should not reverse the Court of Appeals,and that the money forcibly taken from public school employees should be refunded. It is expected that the matter will be argued before the Supreme Court late in 2017 with a decision not likely until 2018.
BEAlert - Winter 2017
BEA Lobbying Efforts Payoff to Stop Anti-Teacher Pension Bill
In Birmingham on December 5th, over 30 teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, and community members met with Representative Mike McCready to voice their concerns about legislation that would cut public educator pensions and leave districts on the hook for millions, leading to cuts in funds available for our students. McCready responded by saying he would oppose this legislation and other bills aimed at cutting funds to public schools. Though, he did caution that the MEA needs to do a better job lobbying congress since the private schools, supported by DeVos and the Mackinaw Center, outspend public schools 4-1 in their efforts to privatize education.
According to MEA lobbyist, Christina Canfield, legislators across the state “were stunned by the kind of political action our members can do.” Within a few days, that attack on public education also failed to garner the votes to move forward. "That huge rollover of member activity from pension to move forward. "That huge rollover of member activity from pension to School Aid Fund was powerful," Canfield said. Our success in thwarting every attack against public education and school employee unions in should serve as a lesson and motivation going forward. If enough of our members raise their voices, we can influence decision-making. Lawmakers were "inundated" with phone calls, emails, and personal contacts.
In the months ahead, it will be important for members to stay engaged with their legislators and build relationships with partners in the community –administrators, parents, and business leaders–who could be important allies. One suggestion made by BEA member and elementary PE teacher, Derek DiGiovanni, was for BPS and the BEA to “create a district team that would could schedule meetings with legislators and make our lobbying more effective.” This would be a step in the right direction.
BEAlert - August 2016
BEA Welcomes New Vice President
Amy Denys, 1st grade teacher at Greenfield, was elected this past spring as the new vice president of the BEA. Amy has been in the district for 20 years. Amy says she is, “excited and honored to represent you as your BEA Vice-President. Working with young children is both rewarding and fun. However, I always say that my BEA involvement was spurred by my need to use adult language and interact with ‘grown-ups.’ I truly enjoy the problem solving and brainstorming that is required in my new position. I am here to help ensure our jobs are as smooth and stress free as possible. Thank you for this opportunity!” Please welcome Amy in her new role.
BEAlert - June 2016
Linda Johnson (Beverly) was just one of 65 BPS secretaries whom the BEA honored and thanked with a glass flower vase and note to show how much we appreciated their wonderful hard work and dedication to students and teachers. We know our schools wouldn’t function without their commitment to always doing a great job.
BEAlert - December 2015
The 2015-18 BEA Tentative Agreement was overwhelming supported. We had a record 430 votes cast, over 70% of the membership, and 90% voted in favor of the agreement. The BPS Board voted 7-0 to accept the TA.
Thanks to Cynthia Sherman, Paul Van Ermen Lynn Robertson, Kate Alexander, Dawn Murua, Dan Drapal, and Lisa Duggan for helping to the count ballots and certify the final vote.
A special thanks also goes out to our amazing bargaining team–Dominick Perrone, Amy Denys, Maureen Martin, Jay Smith, Joyce Laszczak, Michelle Snyder, Ed Caughell, Robyn Tarnow, Scott Craig, Jon Chappell, and Ann Gracy–for enduring many long days and nights committed to this daunting task! You all are awesome!
And, lastly we would like to thank all BEA members very much for your patience and support in this difficult negotiations. We couldn’t have done it without you!
United We Thrive!
Scott and Steve
BEAlert - Summer 2015
BEA Honors 2014-5 Teachers and Students of the Year
Three Excellence in Teaching honors and Teacher of the Year were awarded at the annual BEA banquet on May 20, 2015. Ron Rodgerson, received the Teacher of the Year recognition, along with $1,000 and a vehicle lease from the Suburban Collection. Ron was nominated by teachers from across the district. One teacher noted, “Whether he is directing our high school ensembles at Seaholm, directing the band program at BCS, teaching all beginning band students in our district, or leading jazz band while playing his bass, Ron is an exceptional educator who has an incredible musical versatility. He is a master teacher.” Presenting the award to Mr. Rodgerson was BEA President, Scott Warrow.
BEAlert - April 2015
What the BEA Does for Me!
I just want to let you know that Michelle and I finally had our wages reimbursed after 8 months of fighting with the district. Thank you. This would not have happened without the support of you and our union.
My deepest appreciation and thanks to you for everything you did to address my concerns. I cannot thank you enough for this information and appreciate all the time you had to devote to an issue which could have been avoided
I just wanted to say thanks for your support in this small matter regarding my lane change, which took up way more of your time than it should have. Much Appreciated!
BEAlert - November 2014
Bargaining a New Contract Begins
Your BEA Bargaining Team is set to begin negotiations in December. Thanks to the over 250 members that participated in our survey, we have a list of issues to bring to the table on your behalf. We promise to keep you updated.
The bargaining team welcomes its newest member, Jon Chappell of Derby Middle School. Jon attended the 2014 MEA Labor Relations Practicum, learning about district finances, messaging strategies, and comparative data analysis. Along with this knowledge, Jon brings his listening skills, thoughtful creativity, and his experience being "on the other side" as both a former district program coordinator and an assistant principal. Jon states, “ Standing together is what we do –for our students, for our families, and for one another." Welcome Jon!