What to Do When Charters Attack? Fight Back!

Greetings,

Local actions, charters, testing, taxes, bargaining - it's enough to make your head spin. But together we are making headway on important issues.

Students Seek Reinstatement of Inspiring HS Teacher

Students at Belmont High School have created a petition seeking the reinstatement of John Sullivan III, a history and social studies teacher they describe as "caring, innovative, and energetic" - the kind of teacher who makes learning fun and creative and "focuses on educating his students through understanding rather than memorizing." It is great to see students organizing for power. The Belmont Education Association is also working hard to get this 15-year Belmont teacher reinstated. Join the effort by signing the petition.

Baker, "White Shoe" Law Firms and Corporate Interests Push Charters. Fight Back!

Governor Charlie Baker joined a rally on Sept. 22 to declare his support for lifting the cap on charter schools. Earlier this month, lawyers in three high-powered firms filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the cap. (EduShyster nails it in describing the whys and wherefores behind this suit.) And even earlier this month, corporate-backed charter advocates began collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would obliterate all caps over time. In this classic David and Goliath fight, we have parents, students, teachers and other community members lined up against deep pockets and the establishment to fight for keeping public funds in public schools. Please join the fight by submitting written testimony to the Joint Committee on Education if you can't be there in person on Oct. 13. Contact MTA lobbyist Julie Johnson by e-mailing jjohnson@massteacher.org and find out more by clicking here.

Keep those Raise Up Signatures Coming!

Signatures supporting the Raise Up Massachusetts constitutional amendment - which would raise more than $1 billion a year for public schools and colleges and our transportation infrastructure - are coming in, but we need thousands more to meet our goals. Get signature pointers here in a new MTA video that models a 10-minute building meeting and collecting in a public space. Talk to your local association leader or Senate district coordinator to find out how you can help.

Tell the BESE "NO PARCC" by Packing the Hearing on Nov. 16

Save the date! The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has scheduled a public hearing from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16, about whether the state should switch from MCAS to PARCC testing. The BESE is expected to vote on this issue the next day at its regularly scheduled meeting. We need a strong turnout at the Nov. 16 hearing to make sure educator voices are loud and clear: Stop the testing madness and say no to PARCC.

Long Island Parent Makes Strong Case for Opting Out

In this short video, Long Island parent organizer Jeanette Deutermann makes a strong case for test refusal as an act of "upstanding" for what is right and calling out what isn't. Let's grow the test refusal movement this spring. Meanwhile, keep those school committee resolutions in favor of the high-stakes testing moratorium coming. Go here for more information.

Sign up for Bargaining Summit on Oct. 3

Skillful bargaining and effective organizing are important elements in creating the schools our students, educators and communities deserve. There is still room for teams of three or more people from the same local to attend a Bargaining Summit from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Springfield Marriott. Go here for more information or to register.

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

Barbara