Boston Pride & Summer Conferences Coming

Greetings,

In the past three weeks I have met with labor and community leaders, students and parents from across Massachusetts and the country in a variety of forums, all centering on one thing: the privatization of the public good.

While these words might seem abstract, they reflect what is really happening when we have school takeovers, outsourcing of our work, personalized learning systems, underfunding of schools and colleges and attacks on unions - educators' unions in particular.

When administrators are using the teacher evaluation system as a weapon, when tests are defining our students and our work, when faculty and staff are being cut due to alleged budget shortfalls, these are the tactics of privatization: underfund, demonize and privatize.

Our work ahead must be to identify and target those who look to undermine public education and our unions. This blog post says a great deal about the influence of big money.

Our work is also to celebrate the great things we do and our commitment to creating a better, more just world.

Here are some ways we can do that.

MTA at Boston Pride! 
Once again the MTA will have a contingent proudly walking in the Boston Pride Parade on Saturday. Join MTA members at noon in Copley Square and march behind our banner. This is an amazingly joyful march. Go here for more details.

Less Testing/More Learning: June 27
The fifth meeting of the organizing group to resist high-stakes testing will be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27, at MTA headquarters in Quincy. All are welcome, even if you haven't been to earlier meetings. The focus will be on planning for the fall and next year. Go here to register.

MTA Summer Conference Coming Soon
The end of the school year is fast approaching - and so is MTA's Summer Conference. It will be held at UMass Amherst from July 30 to Aug. 3. The conference provides a great chance to share ideas and information, take workshops that will help you as a professional and as a union member, and socialize with others in your field. As a Northampton resident, I can also attest to the fact that the Amherst area is a great place to spend a few days in the summer.

42nd Northeast Summer School for Women in Unions and Worker Organizations
This conference, which also will be held at UMass Amherst, presents another great opportunity for women. This comprehensive leadership institute runs from July 22 to 26 and includes workshops, cultural activities and educational sessions. Go here to register.

Support MTA-Backed Sections of State Budget
Now that the House and Senate have both passed their FY18 budget proposals, select members of both branches are meeting in a Conference Committee to develop a comprehensive package to be presented to the Legislature for a vote. Please go here to urge members of the Conference Committee to support MTA's priorities.

We are advocating that the Senate's funding levels for Chapter 70, UMass, state colleges and community colleges be maintained in the committee's budget. We also support critical policy provisions related to public education and the workplace, including implementing the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, eliminating the use of student test data in educator evaluations, mandating 20 minutes of recess for students in grades K-5, making all public employees eligible for a line-of-duty death benefit, adding two labor seats to the Group Insurance Commission, and opposing a Senate proposal to place a cap on state employee sick time.

Letting legislators know how you feel really does make a difference. Don't hesitate. Go here and send a message now.

In solidarity,

Barbara