Stand Strong, Resist and Organize!

reclaim_march

Greetings,

I appreciate the stories I'm hearing from members about actions they are taking to resist the attacks coming at us, our students, our public schools and our communities. It is crucial that we support each other and, as union members, stand strong for justice, union rights and the schools and colleges our communities deserve.

One recent story comes from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where members and students organized a "Resist the President Day" in response to attacks on immigrants, unions and public education by the Trump administration. Educators looking to articulate the vision and commitment that guide our resistance are encouraged to read remarks made at the rally by Tom Goodkind, president of UMass Boston's Professional Staff Union. He concludes, "Our best and most enduring defense is in the solidarity of our UMass Boston congregation, and in our demand that our campus be a sanctuary both in spirit and in fact."

Organizing to Resist High-Stakes Testing
This past weekend, the MTA held its second meeting of educators, parents and other community members who are determined to fight the high-stakes testing regime. The packed house discussed opt-outs, parent-educator forums, and reaching out to members in each building, as well as having educators act as conscientious objectors by refusing to administer standardized tests, submitting resolutions to school committees, and more. We have scheduled our next meeting for Sunday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This time we will hold meetings simultaneously at MTA headquarters in Quincy and in Western Massachusetts. Mark your calendars. More details will be available soon.

International Women's Day Actions
A number of members have written asking me about the call for action tomorrow, International Women's Day. The organizers of the Women's March on Washington have called for A Day Without a Woman, in which women and our allies are encouraged to make a statement for economic justice, human rights and the rights of all gender-oppressed people by refusing to work and/or refusing to engage in economic activity. There are a number of ways to show your solidarity with the campaign, including wearing red and refraining from shopping on March 8. Learn more here.

EMAC Forums on Race, Ethnicity and Public Education
The Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee held its first forum on "Race, Ethnicity and Public Education: Continuing the Conversation" this past weekend. Members explored the ways that race and racism affect students, educators and the communities in which we live and work. Three more forums will be held: at the Educational Association of Worcester on Saturday, March 18; at MTA headquarters in Quincy on Thursday, March 23; and at MTA's regional office in Auburn on Thursday, March 30. Go here for more information and to register.

More Opportunities to Organize for the Schools Our Communities Deserve
Join the Fight to Fully Fund Our Public Schools: Organizing meeting on Sunday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at MTA headquarters, 2 Heritage Drive, Quincy. Register here.

Organizing in the Workplace to Demand Autonomy and Respect: Sunday, April 2, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., MTA headquarters, 2 Heritage Drive, Quincy. Register here.

Volunteers Needed for NEA RA in Boston
The 2017 NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly, the largest democratic deliberative assembly in the world, is coming to Boston. NEA members will converge in Boston from June 30 to July 5. The MTA will need to coordinate about 200 volunteers each day to staff more than 10,000 members and guests. We need adults as well as teens to help our physically challenged delegates. Please spread the word to all MTA members. Click here to learn more and sign up to volunteer.

AP and IB Teachers: Help Plan a Conference Especially for You!
The MTA and educators across the state are in the planning stages for the next Massachusetts Aspiration and Achievement Partnership conference, tentatively scheduled for fall 2017. MAAP's mission is to provide opportunities for AP and IB teachers from districts all over the state to get together and collaborate. If you are interested in joining the Design Team that will organize this event, or if you would just like to attend the conference, please complete the short survey here.

In solidarity,

Barbara