You did it! More than 5,000 DDM messages sent
As of this morning, 5,203 Ditch DDM messages had been sent to legislators, exceeding our goal of 5,000 in one short week. Great job - especially in the midst of end-of-year madness! But it isn't over yet. The issue is still before the House and Senate budget conference committee, so help us make even more noise by going HERE to send your message. Increase your impact by asking your friends and family members to do the same.
Making Waves on DDMs at BESE
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education also has a big role to play on this issue. Even as we press our case on Beacon Hill, we are continuing to let BESE members know they don't have to wait for the Legislature to act: At any time, they can repeal the regulations that require districts to create a "student impact rating" for all licensed educators based on MCAS scores and District-Determined Measures.
We are looking for at least 30 members to join us at a BESE meeting on this topic at 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, on Monday, June 27. The meeting is from 5 to 7 p.m., with the first hour focusing on digital learning and the second on the student impact rating. Although the department is only giving us 10 minutes to make our case - and is giving its hand-picked experts more time to defend DDMs - it's important for BESE members to see educators in the audience so they know that you are watching. We'll have stickers for members to wear: More Than a Score . #DitchDDMs.
The Charter-DDM Connection
Did you know that BESE's regulations specifically exempt charter schools from using the new educator evaluation system? That means they don't have to rate their teachers as "low, moderate or high" based on test scores. If the student impact rating is so important for determining educator quality, why should charters be exempt? And if it is really such a great system, wouldn't charter schools be implementing it voluntarily on their own? AFT Massachusetts has asked BESE for examples of charter schools that have implemented the system. So far, no response.
Support Senate Action on Foundation Budget
In addition to items like DDMs and retiree health insurance premiums, the budget conference committee is considering a Senate proposal to fully implement the findings of the Foundation Budget Review Commission. The proposal makes important updates in the Chapter 70 funding formula and calls for a schedule to increase education funding, subject to appropriation. The MTA is continuing to urge the Legislature to adopt the Senate's proposal.
SOS Rally in D.C. on July 8 and Conference July 9: Buses available!
There is power in numbers. Come join other educators, parents and social justice activists at the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action on Friday, July 8, in Washington, D.C., and stay through July 9 for a conference at Howard University featuring a series of workshops. Rally speakers will include the Reverend William Barber, Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ravitch, Jitu Brown and other Dyett hunger strikers, Julian Vasquez Heilig, Denisha Jones, Gus Morales, Yohuru Williams and me.
Two buses will be leaving from Massachusetts on July 8, one from Boston and one from the New Bedford/Dartmouth area. They will return late on July 9. For just $30, a limited number of participants can get a seat on the bus, overnight accommodations and an event T-shirt. Please e-mail UMass Dartmouth Professor Ricardo Rosa at email@example.com by June 27 to reserve your seat. Go HERE for more information.
Summer Action on Charters
Summer is an ideal time to relax, reflect . and act! The Save Our Public Schools campaign will be organizing events and forums over the summer. Be sure to check HERE for information on how to spend a few productive hours standing up for public schools. I'll be among those speaking at a community forum in Northampton tomorrow (Wednesday, June 22) at 5:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Middle School, 100 Bridge Road. Another forum - "How Much Do You Pay Without Having a Say?" - is planned for Tuesday, June 28, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Road. There are also many canvassing opportunities coming up.
Support Uxbridge Paras
MTA field reps tell us that nine Uxbridge paraprofessionals with years of experience are being laid off, in violation of their contractual rights. Please go HERE for more information and to sign a petition supporting these employees.
Summer Reading Tip
We are making copies of the book "Secrets of a Successful Organizer" available for free to MTA members who are interested in reading and discussing it with colleagues over the summer. The book shows you how to fight back where you work - and win. It's a step-by-step guide to building power on the job. For a copy of the book, published by Labor Notes, contact Ari Mercado at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In solidarity, and in anticipation of many great things ahead,