MTA launches radio ad campaign

The Massachusetts Teachers Association is launching a radio campaign highlighting the importance of public education in preparing students for success in their lives and their careers. In a 60-second radio spot that began airing throughout the Commonwealth this morning, the MTA also stresses the role that public schools, public colleges and the University of Massachusetts play in the state's economic health.

The ad is titled Hello Massachusetts! It will run on AM and FM radio stations throughout the state until late June.

The spot features students at Massachusetts public schools and colleges talking about what they plan to do as adults.

"Hey, Massachusetts! My name is Matt," says one student. "I'm in college studying to be a social worker so I can help people."

"Hi, Massachusetts! I'm Daria and I'm in the 10th grade," says a young woman. "I really like math, and by 2020 I'll have my own accounting firm."

Another student, a seventh-grader, talks about plans to bring international business into the state. Still another expresses the goal of attending medical school.

A voiceover notes: "Today's students are tomorrow's leaders. And our public schools and colleges are preparing them well. But unless they get the support they need, public education will suffer. So even though times are tight, an investment in our children's education now is the best investment we can make for our future....  Let's keep our public schools and colleges strong -- for our children, our economy and the future of Massachusetts."

MTA President Anne Wass said the spot points to what is at stake if public education is not given the resources required to help students succeed.

"Our ad is about the future of our students and our state," Wass said, calling on voters to defeat a November ballot initiative that would eliminate the state personal income tax and devastate the state budget by removing more than $12 billion from the revenue stream.

Even today, state education funding falls far short of students' needs. When inflation is taken into account, Chapter 70 state education aid to school districts is $421 million below the fiscal 2002 amount. Funding for public higher education is $349 million below the funding level of fiscal 2001 when adjusted for inflation.

"We can't keep calling on our public schools and colleges to do more with less," Wass said. "Everyone should make it a priority to recession-proof our students."

"Hello Massachusetts!" was produced by SS+K, an advertising and marketing firm with offices in Boston and other cities. The ad is airing on stations in Greater Boston, Brockton, Fall River, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester and on Cape Cod.