Support Students, Labor and the Labor Center


As I have said to many of you at back-to-school events, for educators the fall is a time when we access the values and hopes that brought us to this work. In the weeks and months ahead we need to not only be bringing those ideals to the classroom, but fighting for the resources and freedom to live them, to preserve public education and to reclaim our voices as professionals. Here are some critical actions and events to grow our strength and reclaim our power.

Vote in Your Local Primary Today: Thursday, September 8
Be sure to get out and vote for MTA-supported candidates. Democrats for Education Reform (or, more accurately, Hedge Fund Managers for the Privatizing of Public Education) has been throwing Wall Street money around backing candidates who would undo public education by lifting the charter cap. We need to support candidates who support public education. Go here to find out which candidates MTA recommends you support.

Protest Peyser the Privatizer's Plans for Public Education
On September 15, Secretary of Education Jim Peyser will speak at the UMass Boston convocation. That's right, the same UMass Boston where faculty and staff positions are being cut. Show your support for UMass Boston and fully funding public higher education, and bring a few signs to say #NoOn2. Let the secretary know that the people of Massachusetts hold public education dear and will not let it be starved to death, privatized or charterized. Go here for more information.

Stop the Undermining of the UMass Amherst Labor Center
The UMass Labor Center is one of the most respected labor centers in the country and has graduated staff and organizers within the MTA and our coalitions. Cuts are underway that will reduce the Labor Center to a shadow of itself. Cuts are being implemented because the Labor Center is not generating income. The corporate university - as opposed to the public university - demands that programs become revenue generators. Under this demand it is more and more difficult to support programs that welcome and support a diversity of students, and it is too easy to eliminate programs that do not fit the ideological parameters of corporatists. This is not only a fight for the Labor Center. It is a fight for fully funded public higher education that offers a broad range of opportunities for students. Go here to find out more and learn what you can do.

Hold a Sign, Wear a Sticker, Knock on Doors, Make Phone Calls: #NoOn2
As I write there are 61 days left before Election Day 2016, when the educators, parents and other community members of Massachusetts can send a powerful message that says: We value public education, we want to fully fund public education and we say NO to raising the charter cap! We win when we talk to voters. They value you, your work, and public education. They do not want more money taken from public schools. Join the movement. Even one hour of activism will make a difference. Go here to find an event near you or sign up to get more information.

And One More Show of Solidarity Needed
The faculty members of Long Island University in New York were locked out as the school year began after their contract expired August 31. Faculty members have lost health insurance and income while administrators hire scabs and teach classes themselves. We cannot allow this injustice to continue. Go here to support the faculty union and demand a fair contract and an end to the lockout.

What Are We Fighting For? Teaching as a Human Endeavor
Here is a short piece about why we must act to reclaim our schools and classrooms. My favorite line from it: "As a profession, education is a human endeavor, guided by our hearts and anchored by our souls. Teaching daily is messy, unpredictable, and chaotic."

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