Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Q-Comp Voting, Leadership Opportunities, Legislative Outcomes

Q-Comp Vote Options:  The vote on Q-Comp will be held in buildings on May 30 or May 31. Each site will decide which day works best.  If you are not able to vote at your site, the AHEM office (3200 Main Street, Coon Rapids, 3rd floor of the Wells Fargo Bank building) will be open for voting from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Friday May 25, Tuesday May 29, Wednesday May 30, and Thursday May 31.  Those on leave and at some remote sites will have a mail-in ballot sent to them by Monday, May 21.  If those options do not work for you, please let us know at ahem@anoka.k12.mn.us and we’ll work on a solution.

AHEM Leadership Opportunities:  At AHEM, spring is when we set our leadership positions for the coming year.  Here are the open positions: 
  • Governmental Relations Chair:  With Val Holthus’ election to Secretary, we have an opening on our cadre leader team.  The GR Chair oversees our political and election work at AHEM.  The position is appointed by the president and includes a stipend.
  • Executive Board:  This body meets monthly in between Representative Assembly meetings and acts in place of that group in making decisions for the organization.  It is made up of representatives from each cluster.  The group is elected if there is a contest and does not have a stipend.
  • Educational Issues Chair:  This is a new position.  The Ed Issues chair will oversee AHEM’s work on professional issues, like professional development, pedagogy, and evaluation.  This coming year, they would work on our ideas for the new teacher evaluation law for example.  The position is appointed by the president and includes a stipend.
If you are interested in any of these positions, please email us at ahem@anoka.k12.mn.us

Legislative Outcome Mostly Positive for Education: The final outcome was mostly positive for educators, students, K-12 schools, public colleges and universities, and union members. With your help, we were able to kill a proposed "Right to Work" constitutional amendment, turn back attacks on teacher seniority and collective bargaining, preserve educators’ access to competitive health insurance bids, ward off major changes to public pensions and block unproven education "reforms" imported from other states. In addition, the Legislature approved bonding for much-needed renovations and improvements at two-year colleges where Education Minnesota members teach, and lawmakers passed important changes that could give K-12 schools more revenue from school trust lands. Members made the difference – the contacts from educators throughout the session were effective.  For more specifics, check out http://tinyurl.com/buwkso5 for a list of outcomes by bill number. Want even more? Check out MinnPost’s nifty, intuitive bill explorer: http://tinyurl.com/7vvp4h3 .

Monday, May 7, 2012

Peer Evaluators, Meet & Confer, Health Insurance Rates, Veto

Q-Comp Peer Evaluators:  The most common questions we are hearing right now are about the Peer Evaluator positions.  Here are the key points:
  • It would take about 30 peer evaluators to cover our district. These would be new positions paid for entirely with Q-Comp funds from the state.
  • Those on PAS (which would be happen every three years) would be evaluated by their principal or supervisor instead – you won’t have to double up on observations.
  • We will to choose evaluators to cover as many different kinds of assignments as possible and provide the best match we can between participants and those observing them.
  • Evaluators need to be on continuing contract (except in ABE/ECFE where that system doesn’t yet exist), have a master’s degree, and have at least 7 years experience in education.
  • Evaluators are chosen by a team of five administrators (appointed by the district) and five educators (appointed by AHEM).
  • Evaluators can serve in that position up to 3 years, then need to return to their former assignment

Meet & Confer: Join your colleagues Thursday, May 17, 5:30-7:30 pm at the SDC. Here are the topics on the agenda:
  • Stability in buildings and grade levels: Stable buildings have better student achievement. Share with the school board what increases stability at a site, and what causes turmoil.
  • Teacher Evaluations: With the new teacher evaluation law on the way, we’ll share what kinds of feedback improves our practice.
  • Child Restraint Policy: Update on how the new child restraint policy is working.
  • Other Topics: As always, we leave time for individual topics or timely items that come up right before the event.
Would you like to speak to one of these topics? Have ideas you want us to include? Email AHEM at ahem@anoka.k12.mn.us

Governor Dayton Vetoes Anti-Seniority Bill: Yesterday Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed House File 1870, which would have required teachers to be laid off according to yet-to-be defined measures of “effectiveness” rather than seniority or other systems already negotiated in many school districts.  Your messages to the governor made the difference by bringing to life how this measure was bad for teachers and bad for kids. Please take a moment now to go to our Legislative Action Center and thank him for his support: http://tinyurl.com/cm3besc .

Health Insurance Rates Unchanged for Next Year:  Thank you for eating your leafy greens and getting some exercise – healthy choices by our members contributed to holding health insurance premiums flat for next year.  Watch your boxes for more specifics about rates and open enrollment from the district office (open enrollment is the time when you can change your insurance options, it will be May 29 – June 15 this year).