Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New PTA Advocacy Call to Contact Mark Jansen about Bullying Bill SB159

Please contact Mark Jansen about Senate Bill 159 before next week.  You can use the email posted next to this post or you can use the link from the ptsa page online.  See the alert from PTSA Michigan's Advocacy Director, Kevin McLogan.  Lucy

Take Action Against Bullying NOW! 
First of all, thank you to those that responded to my message earlier this month regarding anti-bullying legislation. Your voice has made a difference, but we are not there yet.

If you were not able to respond last time, there is still time for your voice to be heard.

Senate Majority Leader Bishop has said that this will be the last week of session. That means that the Senate will meet Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And that is it. End of session.

A new anti-bullying bill will need to be drafted for the next session.

You may have received a message from your senator that they support SB 275. This bill is not as strong as SB159, it doesn’t have the provisions or guidelines to be effective in the fight against bullying in our schools.

I need you to go to the Michigan PTSA Legislative Alert page RIGHT NOW and send an e-letter (you can edit as you like, and a personal story is always effective). This will only send the message to your senator. Phone calls to their offices would be great as well, but it is imperative that you take action NOW.

The page will expire on Thursday, but it is active now.
Again, I thank you for your advocacy efforts!

Kevin McLogan
Vice President for Children’s Advocacy
Note new e-mail address

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Facebook Page

Thanks to Mary Reed Kelly for getting our Facebook page up.  Check out East Grand Rapids Public Schools Legislative Committee on Facebook!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Check Out Our New Posts

See our new posts below about the federal dollars, bullying and the minutes from our most recent meeting.

About the Federal Dollars from Your Leg Committee and Grassroots President

From Lucy:  Below is a reminder from Rockford Superintendent Mike Shibler about the federal funds that were promised to the schools at the beginning of this school year.  East Grand Rapids Schools along with every other school district is depending on these funds to make it through this school year.  We don't know what will happen next year when there will be no more federal funds to support the School Aid Fund.  In the mean time, we need to remind our legislators to send these federal dollars to schools. 

Sen. Mark Jansen (517) 373-0797  SenMJansen@senate.michigan.gov

(He's still our Rep until January)  Rep. Dave Hildenbrand  (517) 373-0846  rephildenbrand@house.mi.gov
(Our new rep in January) Lisa PosthumosLyons  lisa@lisaformichigan.com

With the election out of the way, legislators need to return to work and appropriate the federal school stimulus funding to our schools. You may recall they appropriated these funds in late September but did so in a manner that prompted the US Education Department to reject the funding formula. Our schools are planning on these dollars to operate. Please contact your legislators and the governor encouraging them to immediately resolve this issue by applying the 2x formula for school funding to the federal Edujobs funds. It is imperative they do this next week. Thanks for your assistance with this.

Mike Shibler

Call to Action from Michigan PTSA about Bullying

Michigan Parent Teacher Student Association

1390 Eisenhower Place, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108
Phone: 734-975-9500 - Fax: 734-677-2407
Web site: www.michiganptsa.org
Take Action Against Bullying NOW!

After taking the month of October off, the Legislature will resume session after the election to finish the legislative year, and in many cases, their legislative career.  When they get back, we need to do a full-court press on anti-bullying legislation.  We have worked together for many years to pass a comprehensive bill to address this issue and the recent suicides of bullied teens and young adults have brought the real human tragedy of our inaction to light.  We have an opportunity to effect change in the next few weeks.

Please contact your legislators and demand that they take action on Senate Bill 159. Michigan is among just five states in the nation that have not passed an anti-bullying law, while the 45 other states have been adopting these laws since 1999.  A first attempt to pass Matt's Law didn't make it to the floor of the Senate for discussion before being dismissed in 2008. A vote on a new version of the anti-bullying bill introduced in 2009 must come before the current legislative session ends on December 31st or that bill, too, will fail to become law.  The law requires all Michigan school districts to have an anti-bullying policy and within those policies, districts are urged to spell out what is appropriate student behavior and how bullying will be handled.  Senator Glenn Anderson wrote this bill in January of 2009 and it has not progressed. This bill must be moved out of the Education Committee! This bill needs to be placed before the Senate for a vote. It has been studied sufficiently and THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW.

It is more crucial than ever to pass the law. Too many students are taking their own lives because of bullying. The policy is important to both protect kids from bullying and to help teach students about bullying.  Students report bullying is alive and well in schools. About 30% of Michigan students − more than 265,000 kids − in grades six through ten say they have been bullied, and 19% − 168,000 students − say they have participated in bullying, according to state statistics.

I urge you to take action on this important issue. Now is the time.

(From Lucy: Sen. Mark Jansen (517) 373-0797  SenMJansen@senate.michigan.gov)

If you feel comfortable contacting your Legislator on your own, great! But if you need some help, I will have a form letter that you can personalize and send directly to your Legislators from Michigan PTSA’s CAP WIZ site (http://capwiz.com/npta2/mi/home/). This will walk you through the process and can be very effective.

Nothing good will happen without you and advocates like you.

Please contact me if there is anything that I can do to help you with your advocacy.

Thank you,
Kevin McLogan
Vice President for Children’s Advocacy

Minutes from November 1, 2010 Meeting

Superintendent’s Report: There is not much to report. We are waiting for the January changes in the budget due to the election.

Candidate Forum: We had a successful candidate forum on October 18, 2010. We had about 40 people attend. We could see from the candidates that the overall philosophy is either cut taxes to improve jobs and then education funding will improve or invest in education up front and see that an educated work force brings jobs.

We concluded that neither candidate was fully informed about issues in education and we would like to be involved in educating the winner of the election. The committee will formulate a one page summary of our most important issues with contact information so that the new legislator will utilize our information when considering education.

We meet again on January 3, 2011

Lucy Lafleur