Happy New Year! I hope the holidays gave you all a chance to reconnect with friends and relatives and to rest up for the challenges and opportunities we are facing. In the months ahead, I will be calling on you to speak out, stand together and harness our collective power.
Moving Forward Together: Come to a Regional Forum in January
Come to a regional forum in January to share ideas about how to counter the expected intensification of assaults on our communities, on public education and on unions. We defeated Question 2 against the odds, proving that we are powerful when we work together and join forces in coalition with others who care about quality public services and workplace fairness. Let's begin to envision and fight for the schools our communities deserve.
Let's Get Loud About #DitchDDMs: Comments Due by January 27
Go here to let state education officials know that you oppose both the current Student Impact Rating system - based on District-Determined Measures and MCAS scores - and the proposed new regulations under which student test scores could affect your "summative" evaluation.
Speak Out for Our Schools and Our Communities
There are several opportunities to let the powers that be in Washington, D.C., know that we in Massachusetts will not be steamrolled into privatizing public education.
-Go here for information and to urge the U.S. Senate to say "no" to the appointment of billionaire education privatizer Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. Our senators, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, need to hear from their constituents that they must oppose this nominee.
-The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools is calling for a National Day of Action on January 19, inauguration eve. We are recommending that members wear stickers that say: Speak Out for the Schools Our Communities Deserve. Stickers will be available soon from your MTA field representative.
-Go here for information on the Boston Women's March for America on January 21, which is being held in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington on the same date. Educators will be out in force at both events.
UMass Chapter Opposes Cuts to Adjuncts and Libraries
Faculty and staff at UMass Boston are infuriated by deep cuts to adjunct faculty and the university's libraries - two resources that are central to fulfilling the mission of higher education. This is a manufactured crisis brought about by the persistent underfunding of our public higher education system. MTA's Faculty Staff Union calls these cuts "draconian" for good reason. Fighting for more resources for preK-12 and public higher education will be our highest priority in 2017.
NEW DEADLINE! Teacher Leadership Institute Applications Accepted Through January 15
Applications for the 2017 Teacher Leadership Institute (formerly known as the Teacher Leadership Initiative) are now being accepted through January 15.
Go here for more information. The TLI is a partnership of the MTA, the NEA, the Center for Teaching Quality and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to prepare educators who want to play a greater role in shaping the policies and practices that govern teaching and learning in the U.S. MTA members are encouraged to join 300 participants from across the country to develop leadership skills for working in your schools, state houses and associations. For more information, contact Gary Gilardi at firstname.lastname@example.org.