I had the opportunity last week to speak at the Brookline forum for the Schools Our Communities Deserve, an event organized by the Brookline Educators Union, Brookline PAX, the Brookline Parents Organization, Brookline for Racial Justice and Equity, and Citizens for Public Schools. Close to 250 people came to lay out their vision for what they want young people to experience in our public schools and to challenge obstacles preventing that vision from being realized.
How did the organizers come to fill a church with so many parents, educators, students and community members? It started with a contract fight around the amount of work being added to the workday. It extended to parents becoming informed about the district's focus on test preparation and quantifiable data. It grew to include strong support for ESPs in their contract fight. And it expanded to include running a slate of candidates for School Committee who will confront the committee's corporate reform agenda. "From little things big things grow."
Here are a few ways you can grow union power and a social justice movement.
Testing Conversations in Hingham, Quincy and Holyoke
South Shore: Members, students and parents are invited to a conversation in Hingham on the damage being done to students by high-stakes testing. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. today - Wednesday, March 22. Go here for more information.
Metro Area and West: Join other MTA members and community activists from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 26, to share ideas about organizing strategies in the fight against high-stakes testing. These meetings, being held at MTA headquarters in Quincy and simultaneously at MTA's Holyoke office, are the third of several actions by the MTA and the NEA's Center for Organizing to foster testing resistance strategies. All are welcome. Go here to register for the Quincy meeting and here for the one in Holyoke.
Last Two Forums on Race and Ethnicity
The third Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee forum on "Race, Ethnicity and Public Education" will be held this Thursday, March 23, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at MTA Headquarters in Quincy. And the final one will be held on Thursday, March 30, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at MTA's Auburn Office. Go here to register for these important conversations about ethnicity, race and racism and learn how they affect students, educators and communities.
MTA Task Force on Race: Islamophobia Forum
President Trump's executive orders on immigration are rooted in Islamophobia. Join MTA members from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at MTA headquarters in Quincy to discuss how to combat Islamophobia in your classroom, your school, and your community. Go here for more information.
Fight Workplace Bullying
Come meet with fellow educators on Sunday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at MTA Headquarters in Quincy to talk about how to push back locally against the punitive evaluation system and workplace bullying. Discuss how to engage members, work through fears, build coalitions and reclaim your practice. Go here for more information and to register.
Movie Night! Testing, Lies, Money.
All are welcome at movie night in Springfield to see "STANDARDIZED Lies, Money & Civil Rights: How Testing is Ruining Public Education." It will be screened at the Duggan Middle School from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29.