A "Walk-In" for Public Schools on May 4

Greetings,

As always, there is a lot going on across the state that is relevant to MTA members. Be sure to read the most recent issue of MTA Today to learn more about the great work you are all doing. Here are more opportunities for action.

Hold a "Walk-In" on May 4 to Reclaim Our Public Schools

Join a national day of action by organizing a "walk-in" to support our public schools. Click here for information and materials. On the morning of May 4, participants will gather outside their schools, celebrate their schools' accomplishments and address any issues that stand in the way of creating the schools our students deserve. In one local, everyone might show support for the #keepthecap effort by wearing stickers saying "Save Our Public Schools." In another, members might wear "Less Testing/More Learning" stickers. And in others, they might want to show support for a fair contract or celebrate a recent success. You could even do something as simple as gathering with some colleagues outside school and holding a sign that says "Save Our Public Schools," then posting a photo with that message on social media. For help organizing a walk-in in your local, contact Russ Davis of Jobs With Justice at russdavis@comcast.net.

Update on Budget Amendments

The House has been whipping through budget amendments with scant debate and did not support the MTA-backed amendments we wrote to you about earlier this week: repealing the District-Determined Measures and "student impact rating" mandates, protecting retiree health insurance benefits and securing additional funding for higher education contracts. Many thanks to all who contacted their state representatives on these issues. These fights are not over. We will continue to press our case through the budget process in the Senate for each of these amendments. We are also working with the education groups in MassPartners - especially our sisters and brothers in AFT Massachusetts - to urge the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to eliminate the DDM/SIR mandates through the regulatory process. Stay tuned, since we will need your support on these issues down the road.

ESP of the Year

Congratulations to Saul Ramos, a paraprofessional in Worcester. He has been named the 2016 MTA Education Support Professional of the Year. Among other accomplishments, Ramos learned Braille on his own so he could transcribe lessons for the visually impaired student he was assigned to assist.

Survey on Dyslexia

Dawn Warburton, a graduate student in special education at Lesley College, is doing an online survey as part of her master's thesis, seeking to determine the level of understanding of dyslexia among general education teachers. The survey consists of 10 questions and should take participants 10 minutes or less to complete. Responses are anonymous. Go here if you'd like to participate. Please complete the survey by Friday, May 13.

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

Barbara