The other recurring element that will appear in each newsletter is a sampling of news stories that have appeared in various outlets describing developments in education and workforce development policies in Midwestern states and provinces.
If you have any legislative accomplishments that have appeared in the media that you would like shared with this group, please contact Derek Cantù.
Michigan Expands Union Protections for Teachers, Consolidates Agencies
Michigan lawmakers passed a series of measures this session meant to expand collective bargaining rights for teachers. Some of the new changes include allowing districts to automatically withdraw union dues from teacher paystubs, expanding the types of discussions that can be had in a collective bargaining negotiation, and improving out-of-state licensing reciprocity.
In addition, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently reorganized the state’s Department of Education by consolidating early childhood and higher education programs.
For more information, check out the linked articles by MLive and Chalkbeat-Detroit.
Ontario Commits $160 Million for Free Job Training
Ontario is hoping to provide workforce development training for at least 100,000 people, particularly those who receive social assistance and/or are justice involved.
A total of $160 million from the province’s Skills Development Fund will be used to provide free training for industry tracks related to health care, information technology, hospitality, auto mechanics and other sectors.
For more information, check out the linked article by Global News.
Wisconsin Lawmakers Debating Whether to Require Health Education Lessons on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
A legislative proposal is seeking to add Wisconsin to a list of 38 states that have enacted what is known as “Erin’s Law."
A majority of Wisconsin schools already offer lessons that teach students how to identify signs of and rebuff acts of unwanted physical and sexual behavior, but this proposal calls for curriculum to be tailored to specifically address child abuse detection.
One goal of the proposal is for children to feel more comfortable reporting cases of abuse to their teachers.
For more information, check out the linked article by Wisconsin Public Radio.
Illinois Passes Law Offering Free School Lunches and Breakfast, But Funding Meals Remains Difficult
Earlier this legislative session, Illinois lawmakers passed the “Healthy School Meals for All Program” that will make school breakfasts and lunches universally free.
The measure, however, did not include increased state funding and as a result a number of districts still struggle with funding meals, a phenomenon that was only made more difficult once pandemic-related federal funding streams sunset.
In Minnesota, lawmakers also passed a free breakfast and lunch plan, but included additional state funding.
For additional context into how this affects schools, check out the linked articles by Chalkbeat-Chicago and Axios-Twin Cities.