Fight DESE plans to tie educator licenses to evaluations and performance

In our Reclaiming Public Education forums we have been talking about issues that are critically important to our members, and we are beginning to plan actions. We are facing one such issue now: the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's "performance-based" licensure proposals.

How would you feel about the prospect of losing your license to teach - not just your job - based on your evaluation and/or your students' test scores? Several versions of just such a proposal were outlined in a document called "Design Principles and Policy Options" released by DESE on October 20, one day before the first of several DESE-controlled "town halls." These town halls are part of DESE's plan to propose a "performance-based" licensure system in the spring and implement it by October 2015.

Members who attended the October 21 town hall in Springfield noted that the session was tightly controlled and that educators were invited to express their views on "the pros and cons" of the various plans, but were not invited to say, "No. It is an outrage to suggest tying licensure to performance." Despite DESE's constraints, we are urging members to register here to express their views loudly and clearly. Please review the Design Principles document carefully before attending. Here are the remaining dates and locations:

  • Thursday, 10/23 - Central MA (Worcester Technical High School) 4:30 pm-7:00 pm (Capacity of 75)
  • Saturday, 10/25 - Boston (Simmons College) 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Capacity of 90)
  • Wednesday, 11/19 - Metro Boston (Malden High) 4:30 pm-7:00 pm
  • Thursday, 11/20 - Southern MA (Bridgewater State University) 4:30 pm-7:00 pm

Click here for more information on the proposals and MTA's messages about them.

It is time to organize! Besides registering for a town hall, get the word out. Please engage at least two members in conversation about these proposals. Building reps, this would be a great time to hold a 10-minute meeting to make sure our members are informed.

If you attend a town hall, please send a report to MTA's Beth Shevlin (eshevlin@massteacher.org):

Who was there? What questions were asked? How many people spoke out against the proposal? How well were you being listened to? Were your remarks being recorded?

Our response to these plans will not be limited to the DESE-controlled town halls. Stay tuned for more organizing efforts to come. For now, speak up and spread the word!