Our Organizing Efforts Are Flowering

Greetings,

Spring has sprung - even with the snow - and our organizing efforts are beginning to flower. From fighting to #keepthecap to opting out of high-stakes testing to stopping the attempt to raise GIC premiums, MTA members are making a difference.

Charter Ballot Committee Formed

Our coalition of labor, parent, student and civil rights groups has announced the formation of a ballot committee to lead the fight against lifting the cap on charter schools. The Campaign to Save Our Public Schools will include a grassroots component - spearheaded by the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance - and traditional campaign activities such as paid media. Stay informed and spread the word by liking the campaign's Facebook page. Go here to sign up for more information. The MTA is a critical player in all of these efforts, including urging our locals to ask their school committees to support resolutions against lifting the cap. So far we have 17 resolutions on our side. Go here to find out how you can help make that list grow.

Arlington Forum on Charters

Another way members can participate is by holding local forums on the issue, as activists in Arlington are doing this week. If you are in the area, please come to this event from 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow, March 23, to hear the discussion and show your support.

Say "NO" to Baker's GIC Premium Plan

Governor Charlie Baker's budget proposal asks the Legislature to raise the GIC premium contribution from 20 percent to 25 percent for certain active and retired state employees. We are working with other unions to fight this change, which could increase annual costs for those affected by $300 to $480 for individuals and $720 to $1,200 for families. Please go here to urge your legislators to reject the governor's proposal. We often find that when state workers lose health benefits, municipal employees aren't far behind.

ESP, Higher Ed and SEAM Conferences Set for April

Three upcoming conferences give MTA members a chance to meet colleagues, share information and learn about important issues. Our ESP Conference is coming April 8-9, our Higher Education Conference is set for April 15-16, and our Student Education Association of Massachusetts Conference will be held on April 23. These are all great opportunities to become more involved and informed.

Support Chicago Educators

Chicago educators are under fire again - and they are firing back. They are demanding more revenues for their badly underfunded schools and are planning citywide actions on April 1 if the city doesn't back off on plans to cut their pay by 7 percent and stop engaging in other unfair labor practices. As national leaders in the fight to reclaim public education, grow strong coalitions and use union power for the benefit of members, students, parents and the community, they are asking for our support. You and your local can show solidarity with their struggle by wearing union colors on Friday, April 1, and posting photos on social media sites. A small effort would mean a lot to our sisters and brothers in Chicago.

Other National Action

Heads up: The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools - a coalition that includes the NEA and the AFT - is calling for a national day of action on Wednesday, May 4, to support our public schools with "walk-ins." More on this to come, but please mark your calendars.

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

Barbara

For an online archive of Barbara's weekly emails, visit http://massteacher.org/presidentsemails.