Keep Up the Heat on Charters

Greetings,

MTA members are educating, agitating and organizing across the state. Here are some ways to stay involved:

Rounding Second on Raise Up Signature Collection. Don't Stop Now!

Congratulations! We are halfway to meeting our goal of collecting more than 20,000 signatures for the Raise Up Massachusetts ballot question. Let's keep it going. Now is a great time to get signatures at building meetings and at other association gatherings. Leave no stone unturned and no friend or colleague unsigned.

Charter Debate Heats Up

Many thanks to all who took part in our Week of Action on charter schools. If you haven't already done so, click here to send an e-mail to your legislators, urging them to support a moratorium on charter growth and #KeeptheCap. Tuesday's State House hearing was packed; although many MTA members had to wait six hours or more to testify, they delivered powerful messages. The bottom line: Public funds for public schools. Go here for the MTA story on the hearing, here for an informative Web post on the issue by Citizens for Public Schools, and here for MTA's toolkit on charters.

Diane Ravitch to Speak at Wellesley College

Now is your chance to hear in person a leader in the fight against the corporate assault on public education: Diane Ravitch. The activist and education historian is giving a lecture titled "How to Ruin or Revive Public Education" at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, at Wellesley College. Go here for more information.

Are you a "Troublemaker"?

I'm proud to be one, myself. Labor Notes is holding an all-day New England Troublemakers School at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester on Saturday, Oct. 24. Here's a brief description: "Budget cuts, corporate union busting and privatizing schemes are wreaking havoc on working people." Come to the conference for a day of workshops and discussions on putting "the movement back in the labor movement." I will be a keynote speaker, and MTA members will be in workshops and on panels. Click here for more information.

PARCC Vote Coming in November

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will continue to discuss PARCC testing at its next meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and is scheduled to vote on the future of student assessments on Nov. 17. The MTA opposes switching to PARCC — and in fact supports a three-year moratorium on all high-stakes testing. We are gearing up for a big turnout at the BESE hearing at Malden High School on Monday, Nov. 16, from 4 to 7 p.m. Save the date! More information will be coming next week. Click here for an article in MTA Today that explains the issue and here for more information about the MTA Board of Directors' vote to oppose PARCC.

Support Campus Equity Week: Oct. 26-30

Adjunct faculty members teach the majority of postsecondary students at our public colleges and universities, yet they receive terrible pay and benefits and have no job security. The NEA has declared Oct. 26-30 Campus Equity Week, a time to work together for solutions. Go here for more information from the NEA and here for information about MTA's bill to address these issues. The MTA will be sponsoring a social media campaign for Campus Equity Week. Send links to stories and information to smclennan@massteacher.org.

Paid Family Medical Leave: Tell Your Stories

Raise Up Massachusetts — the MTA-supported coalition working on the revenue campaign - is supporting Senate Bill 1008/House Bill 1718, which would ensure that every worker in Massachusetts is eligible for up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to recover from a serious illness or injury, to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, or to care for a newborn, newly adopted or new foster child. A hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Oct. 27 in Room 437 of the State House on this bill. In advance of that hearing, Raise Up is collecting, organizing and publicizing stories from around the state to show that we need family and medical leave for all workers that is at least partially paid. Do you — or does someone you know — have a personal story that you would be willing to share? Have you benefited from access to paid family medical leave? Have you struggled because you did not have access? Fill out the form here to tell your story. Please contact Max Page at milomaximpage@gmail.com if you can attend the hearing.

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

Barbara