A Week of Action to stop testing madness

Greetings,

Join our Week of Action to stop the testing madness and reclaim public education! Let's finish the school year with a strong statement of solidarity and strength.

On Thursday, June 11, the Joint Committee on Education is holding a hearing on H. 340, the MTA bill calling for a three-year moratorium on PARCC and high-stakes testing.

The hearing is an opportunity for educators, students, parents and the community at large to let legislators know about the devastating impact that high-stakes testing is having on our students and our schools.

The hearing will culminate a statewide week of action that is being organized by a newly formed coalition called the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance - the MEJA.

The MTA is a member of the coalition. Joining with AFT Massachusetts, the Boston Teachers Union, Jobs With Justice, Citizens for Public Schools, the Greater Boston Labor Council, Mass Alliance and other labor and community groups, the MTA will be working to inform our communities, the media and our legislators that it is time to stop the testing madness and rethink the state's educational goals and priorities.

Please plan to join me for a telephone town hall meeting to learn more about the Week of Action and hear about what you can do within your local to be a part of it. The town hall is tentatively set for Wednesday, June 3. Details will be forthcoming as plans are finalized.

Week of Action activities so far are as follows:

  • Monday, June 8: Sticker Day - The MTA will supply locals with stickers to wear and share.
  • Tuesday, June 9: Contact Your Legislator Day - Visit legislators' offices, make phone calls and tell your stories. Call for legislators to support H. 340.
  • Wednesday, June 10: Social Media Day and PARCC Hearing Day - Spread the word through social media. Attend the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education hearing on PARCC at Bridgewater State University and tell board members why high-stakes testing is bad for our students and our schools.
  • Thursday, June 11: Public Speak-Out Day - If you can, attend the hearing at the State House. The MTA will provide reimbursement for a substitute in each local to allow one member to attend. If you cannot get to the hearing, arrange a gathering in your community or join one of the regional actions being planned with the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance.
  • Friday, June 12: Union Solidarity Day - Wear your union colors to work.

What can you do?

  • Hold a 10-minute building meeting and ask your colleagues to sign a petition supporting the legislation.
  • Join with other union members to ask your School Committee to support the legislation.
  • Hold a community forum and tell your stories about the impact of testing on students, educators and the school community.
  • Hold a local rally on June 11 or join one of the regional events.
  • Visit your legislator's office and tell your story.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper or to your legislator.
  • Join a calling party to let other members know about the week of action and the hearing.
  • Attend the June 10 BESE PARCC hearing and speak out - or attend and hold a sign.
  • Attend the June 11 House hearing and speak out.

If you are ready to participate, please contact your field representative and local president.

If you want to speak at the Joint Committee on Education hearing, please contact MTA lobbyist Kate Donaghey by e-mailing kdonaghey@massteacher.org.

For more information on testing issues, please click here. Further information on the Week of Action will be posted in this toolkit as it is developed.

Charter Hearing Postponed; New Date Uncertain

The Joint Committee on Education's hearing on charter school bills - which was previously scheduled for May 26 - has been postponed. No new hearing date has been set. One of the bills under consideration is S. 326, filed by Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and backed by the MTA. It calls for a three-year moratorium on the approval of any new Commonwealth charter schools.

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

Barbara