Charter fight likely headed to ballot

Greetings,

MTA members spoke up, sent hundreds of e-mails to their state senators and influenced the outcome of the charter reform bill that passed the state Senate last week. While the MTA remains opposed to any cap lift, we are pleased that the Senate bill includes critical accountability measures and a local approval requirement for new charters. This bill shows that our work with the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance is changing the conversation about charter schools: The charter myths are being exposed.

It is more and more likely that the charter issue will be on the ballot this fall. We are organizing with parents, students and our labor allies to #keepthecap. See how you can be involved here. For more information, go here. Our success on this issue will have a huge impact on public education and our members for decades to come.

Fight for $15 on 4/14

As we invite students, parents and labor into the fight to #keepthecap, it is essential that we join with them in their struggles. Many Massachusetts families cannot afford to meet basic needs. Let's join them in demanding a living wage. California and New York just approved the first statewide laws gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Massachusetts should do the same. Show your support at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at the State House.

May 4 Day of Action: Walk-in for the Schools Our Communities Deserve

Our efforts to end high-stakes testing, stop the expansion of charter schools and fully fund our public schools and higher education are part of a national struggle to reclaim our public schools. On May 4, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools is calling for educators to join with parents and students at their school sites and "walk in" to school together in a show of solidarity and support for public education. Depending on the issue in your local, you might walk in to #keepthecap, or to celebrate your great public school, or to support fully funding our public schools . the options are endless. Save the date. We will send more information as we have it.

Brookline Educators Fight Back against Mandates

Brookline is in the midst of a contract fight with an important twist: The members are protesting excessive mandates that require them to spend more time on paperwork and less time on productive educational pursuits. I hear similar complaints from members across the state all the time. Bravo to Brookline for organizing to make this a contract issue and a way to educate the public about a very real problem in education.

Testing Forum Coming to Norton April 12

A community forum on testing will be held in Norton on Tuesday, April 12, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Norton Middle School, 215 W. Main Street. This event will give parents and teachers a chance to share thoughts, questions and experiences regarding PARCC and MCAS tests. All are welcome.

Opt-Out Forum in Hingham

Congratulations to educators in Hull, Hingham, Cohasset and Scituate for holding an excellent forum last week on testing and parents' rights to opt out. To learn more about the opt-out issue, go here to the MTA website and watch a TEDx talk with Jesse Hagopian, one of the leaders of the national opt-out movement. He has a compelling personal story to tell and insights of value to educators and parents everywhere.

Are You a Delegate to the NEA RA?

Elections to select delegates for the NEA Representative Assembly have been completed in some locals and are still underway in others. New delegates in particular have questions about what to expect. We have created this FAQ to answer questions. More information and a registration link will be sent on or before May 12. Good luck!

Higher Education Conference

It's not too late to register for MTA's Higher Education Conference, which will be held April 15 to 16 at the Westin Waltham Boston Hotel. Registration will remain open until Wednesday, April 13.

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

Barbara