Testing Season Is Here, and So Is Resistance

Greetings,

This past weekend, we held the fourth meeting of the Eastern Massachusetts working group to resist high-stakes testing. At the meeting, we heard from educator and parent activists who have been organizing within their schools and communities. Somerville teachers and parents demanded the right to opt their children out of testing. Haverhill educators reached out to the community to begin conversations about the impact of high-stakes testing on teaching and learning. Braintree educators conducted a survey about the amount of testing being done and its effect on students and educators. Cambridge educators reached out to School Committee members to address a policy on opting out. This is just a small sample of the work going on.

But what was most moving and rewarding about the meeting was how, as participants told their stories, they talked about the knowledge and inspiration they have drawn from each other over these past few months; about their growing understanding that we build a movement one conversation at a time; that we are creating that movement. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 27, at 12:30 p.m. in Quincy. Go here for more information and to RSVP.

Rally for Public Education: Educators Will Not Be Silenced
The planning continues apace for the Rally for Public Education, from 2 to 5 p.m. May 20 on Boston Common. We will not let the commissioner silence us. We will support full funding for our schools and public higher education. This is our opportunity to send a message to the nation and to our state officials that we value and will fight for public education. Join us. Bring friends and family members.

If at least 25 members in your local plan to attend the rally and you are outside the Greater Boston area, talk to your MTA field representative about bus rental options. Buses have already been reserved to leave from 20 different locations across the state. To sign up for a seat on one of those buses, go here. Scroll down to find bus locations and departure times.

Telephone Town Hall: Why We Must Rally for Public Education  
There are several important reasons to rally, from stopping Betsy DeVos, to preventing the commissioner from having the power to silence educators, to making public higher education affordable, to ending punitive testing. I want to hear what your priorities are for your union at a Telephone Town Hall, which will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10. If your phone rings at that time, please pick it up to participate. You can also call in directly to participate:

  • Call-in number: 855.756.7520
  • Conference number (when prompted): 35339#.

Opportunities for organizing and mobilizing are abundant. Here are more ways to be engaged.

MTA/NEA Statewide Safe Schools Summit, Saturday, May 6  
Attorney General Maura Healey will be the keynote speaker at this free summit at Grafton High School, where educators will gather to consider how best to support students through trauma, understand and counter Islamophobia, and develop restorative justice practices to help end the school-to-prison pipeline, among other topics. Sign up here.

Raise Up Massachusetts Progressive Coalition Organizing Conference, May 6
If you are not attending the Safe Schools Summit, come to UMass Boston on Saturday, May 6, for the Progress as Resistance Conference sponsored by Raise Up Massachusetts. Join activists from labor and community groups to discuss issues, share strategies and build the social justice movement in our state.

MA AFL-CIO Gompers-Murray-Meany Annual Educational Conference, May 24-26
As we face the tumultuous times ahead for our unions, public schools and communities, we need to work closely with our sisters and brothers in labor. Come to the Gompers Conference in Falmouth, learn new strategies, share your knowledge and experiences, and build solidarity for the struggles ahead.

Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner, June 16
As we are building our strength and courage, it matters to pause and recognize those who are leading by example. Please join us on Friday evening, June 16, for the MTA Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner, where we will honor those who engage in actions every day to create a more just world.

MCCC Getting It Done for Fair Contracts
Across five campuses, Massachusetts Community College Council members called for equal pay for equal work for their Division of Continuing Education bargaining units on May Day. Check out this coverage of actions by Springfield Technical Community College faculty and staff during the May 1 Day of Action.

In solidarity,

Barbara