Stand up for Holyoke!

Greetings,

Many of you are in the middle of PARCC testing. How's that going? Let your local elected leaders and field representatives know what both you and your students have experienced. A group of educators at Barbieri Elementary School in Framingham are certainly speaking out. Read their very eloquent letter here. The potential shift to PARCC would be a very big change, and we want to keep on top of it - even as we advocate for a moratorium on the high-stakes use of all standardized tests.

Stand up for Holyoke. Our sisters and brothers in Holyoke are standing up for the Holyoke Public Schools. Please stand with them. The state is threatening to put the Holyoke school district into receivership. Our members are working with community partners to make sure their voices are heard. Learn more here. Come and show your support at the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24. Note that there has been a change of location to Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, 1050 Westminster St., Fitchburg.

Save the date for GIC advocacy day on April 2. A union advocacy day to educate legislators on the impact of recent Group Insurance Commission cost-shifting measures will be held on Thursday, April 2. GIC subscribers are facing both increased out-of-pocket costs and a proposal by Governor Charlie Baker to raise the premium split for all state workers to 75 percent/25 percent. The advocacy day will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Gardner Auditorium at the State House. Let lawmakers know what impact these changes will have on working families. More information and materials will be forthcoming.

Pearson "monitors" social media posts. Yes, Virginia, there is a Big Brother. Education blogger Anthony Cody explains here. In a nutshell, Pearson, the giant education corporation that has created the PARCC tests and many others, was first pilloried in a New Jersey post and then featured in this New York Times article after AFT President Randi Weingarten criticized the company's actions leading to sanctions for students who posted about the PARCC test. We can't help but wonder if Pearson is now monitoring the Framingham Teachers Association, which for the third time in a year has strongly urged the Framingham School Committee against adopting PARCC at this time.

In solidarity, and in anticipation of many great things ahead,

Barbara