Elizabeth Warren Pledges to Vote No on 2

Greetings,

It was great to see 140 local MTA leaders and guests at our All Presidents' Meeting on Saturday. Our members are picking up the pace in fighting against Question 2 and for the schools and colleges our students deserve. Many at the meeting were inspired to work even harder when they heard from our pollster that the Question 2 battle is very, very close - but that we will win if voters hear our arguments from a respected source: you. Knowledge is power, so keep spreading that knowledge - and feeling your power - in the remaining six weeks of the campaign.

Senator Warren Opposes Question 2
We got great news on Monday when Senator Elizabeth Warren made it official: She's voting NO on Question 2. She is joining Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, dozens of organizations and more than 130 school committees in opposing this ballot question, which would siphon an additional $1 billion from our public schools in just 10 years if approved and fully implemented.

Higher Ed Members Explain Source of Funding Woes
In a persuasive letter in The Boston Globe, MTA higher education leaders Tom Goodkind, Marlene Kim, Kathy Melish and Janelle Quarles explained that the university's funding problems are not caused by employee raises but by high construction costs coupled with inadequate funding by the Legislature. Students are paying the price - literally - in the form of higher tuition and more debt.

More than a Score: DDMs and Impact Ratings Have Got to Go
In our ongoing efforts to reduce the focus on testing and make the educator evaluation system more fair and less bureaucratic, we are working with other education groups to persuade the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to get rid of the "Student Impact Rating," which is supposed to be based on student scores on standardized tests and District-Determined Measures. While all parties agree that it is important to reflect on student work during the evaluation process, educators - and our students - are more than a score. We need a system that is holistic, not punitive. Stay tuned in case we need you to weigh in on any upcoming votes.

More than a Score: Opting Out Makes an Impact
Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester is clearly trying to discourage students from opting out of high-stakes standardized tests by lowering ratings for 42 schools that had low participation rates last spring. This move may have backfired when news broke that Boston Latin School - the oldest continuously operating public school in the country - was being dropped from Level 1 to Level 2 because a relatively small number of students had opted out. Faced with students being guinea pigs for yet another test next spring - the hybrid MCAS/PARCC exam being created at great public expense - let's work to build an even larger opt-out movement in 2017. Parents, students and educators are stronger together when we opt out of high-stakes standardized testing.

Walk-In Visibilities Coming October 6
Please remember to organize and participate in Walk-In events on national Reclaim Our Public Schools day. It's easy. Talk to your colleagues and building reps. Make sure you have some No on 2 signs, stickers and handouts on hand. Meet outside your school a half-hour before the start of the day. Wave signs, smile at passing motorists and hand out fliers or trifolds to passing residents. Take pictures and post them on social media. Feel the solidarity and power of all walking in together at the same time, knowing you've just helped send a message to vote #NoOn2 and reclaim public education.

HONK! Against Question 2
The HONK! Festival celebrating social justice activism with raucous live music is returning October 7-9. I and others from MTA will be marching in the Honk! parade from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday. The parade begins in Davis Square, Somerville, and ends in Harvard Square. Our theme will be #NoOn2: You cannot buy our public schools. We will also be working the crowd and collecting the names of residents pledging to vote NO on November 8. Come join the action and hear some excellent music while you're at it.

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

Barbara