MTA Annual Meeting opens in Boston

The 166th Annual Meeting of Delegates was called to order after noon May 13 in the Hynes Auditorium.

"I come before you as a middle school teacher, a union leader and the parent of two children enrolled in the Cambridge Public Schools," said Paul Toner, leading his first meeting as MTA president.

 Paul Toner, May 13, 2011

 MTA Pres. Paul Toner presides at the 166th Annual Meeting of Delegates.

"The three roles together form the prism through which I look when making decisions that affect MTA members and the students we educate. Helping Grace and Jack get ready for school every day serves as a powerful reminder to me that our future as educators is tied to our future as union members."

"We must be doing something right here in Massachusetts," Toner continued. "We are one of the most highly unionized states in the country, and we continue to be number one in student achievement! Those two facts go hand-in-hand. We need to remind people of that every time they try to make the claim that unions hurt quality education. We have quality schools for many reasons, including a relatively well-educated population and high standards for students and teachers. We also got here because we as a profession are willing to innovate and change with the changing times."

Toner's remarks came as part of three leadership addresses that followed the showing of a MTA-produced video, Members in Action, with highlights of the year. (The video will be soon on our YouTube channel.) 

"The accomplishments have been significant, starting with defeating Question 3 – the sales tax cut – just two years after we defeated Question 1, the initiative to eliminate the income tax," said MTA Vice President Tim Sullivan. "I urge you all to stick around to join us and our allies for a Rally for our Commonwealth at 4 p.m. on Saturday after the close of business tomorrow."

Delegates also heard from NEA Pres. Dennis Van Roekel, who has logged many miles this spring visiting states where unionism and public employees are under attack. His message: "We are not going away and they will not silence the voice of the American labor movement!"

Speaking about a policy statement on educator evaluation that was approved this week by the NEA Board of Directors, Van Roekel said, "We have to take charge of our own profession. It's about evaluation, tenure, due process and accountablilty."

See Also:

Annual Meeting photos on Flickr

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