The chaos emanating from the White House continues to distress those who care about the truth, the common good and the future of this country. At moments like these, we need to be sure to not only defend against the damage being done, but also stand up for our best hopes and ideals. Here are some ways you can do both.
Join the Testing Resistance Movement 
Standardized testing season is almost here, once again threatening to turn our schools upside down and generate destructive stress on students and educators alike. MTA members are working to resist the standardization of learning and assessment and fight for  teacher-developed, classroom-based assessments. All are welcome to the second meeting of a group formed by the MTA and the NEA Center for Organizing that is strategizing about ways to end the testing madness. The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, at MTA headquarters, 2 Heritage Drive, Quincy, 8th Floor Training Room. Go here to register.
EMAC to Host Forums on Race, Ethnicity and Public Education
Our commitment to racial justice requires that we understand the many ways that racism impacts us as educators as well as how it affects our students, our communities and our schools. MTA's Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee invites all MTA members to participate in forums during March on "Race, Ethnicity and Public Education: Continuing the Conversation." The forums will be held at MTA headquarters in Quincy on Saturday, March 4 , and Thursday, March 23 ; at the Educational Association of Worcester on Saturday, March 18 ; and at MTA's regional office in Auburn on Thursday, March 30 . Go here for more information and here to register.
Higher Education Advocacy Day March 1  
The promise of public colleges and universities is central to realizing the world we want. But we cannot realize that promise without adequate resources. Come tell your story about why Massachusetts must deepen its commitment to public colleges and universities. Join us for Higher Education Advocacy Day on March 1 . Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. in the Great Hall at the State House. Show your support for full funding for campuses, investing in faculty and staff, and making public higher education more affordable for students. Go here for information and to register.
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: 'Innovation Partnership Zones'
The Yes on 2 forces are coalescing around what they believe is the next best thing: "Innovation Partnership Zones." This is yet another top-down mandate with no innovation or partnerships involved. No surprise, The Boston Globe  is once again strongly supporting this proposal, which is backed by Governor Charlie Baker. The plan would make it easier for Commissioner Mitchell Chester to take over schools - in some cases regardless of their accountability ratings - and make unilateral changes in the contract for educators working in the zones. We are continuing to make the case for our pro-public-education agenda and against what we call the State Takeover Zones plan. Go here and here for more information about the plan, and be ready for alerts about how you can help stop this anti-public-education, anti-democratic bill.
GIC Approves Plan Design Changes; 2 Modifications Made
As expected, the Group Insurance Commission voted on Feb. 14 in favor of several plan design changes that will increase out-of-pocket expenses for affected public-sector employees, mainly through increased deductibles. MTA members really stepped up to the plate, sending more than 5,000 e-mails against the changes, testifying in person on Feb. 1 and submitting some of the 241 written comments. Unfortunately, there are not enough pro-labor votes on the board for us to prevail on all points. We did win two modifications: Haverhill and Hingham GIC participants will be allowed a one-time opportunity to enroll in the frozen Tufts and Fallon plans, and office visit co-pays for Medicare plans will only be increased by $5 per visit instead of $10. The fight now goes to the State House, where the MTA will be working with other public-sector unions to pass legislation to reform the GIC.
More Opportunities to Meet, Talk and Organize

Organize to Fully Fund Our Schools
When: Sunday, March 19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: MTA headquarters, 2 Heritage Drive, Quincy, 8th Floor Training Room.
Cost:  Free. Go here to register.
The MTA is working to secure the funding to give our communities the public schools they deserve. Join MTA activists to learn about ways you can be a part of this work in your local and community. Our collective action won Question 2. Let's build on that power to fully fund our public schools.
Organize to Resist Punitive Teacher Evaluations and Bullying Principals
When: Sunday, April 2,  10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: MTA headquarters, 2 Heritage Drive, Quincy, 8th Floor Training Room.
Cost: Free. Go here to register.
Had enough of the teacher evaluation system and bullying principals? Come meet with fellow educators to talk about how to push back locally against the punitive evaluation system and reclaim the respect and trust we deserve. We will talk about how to work with local leadership to engage members, work through the fears, build coalitions and reclaim our practice.
Community Forums to Envision the Schools Our Communities Deserve
When and Where:  Several dates will be available through the spring. Contact your local president and field representative to learn more or to organize one in your area.

In solidarity,