We Did It - 20,000 Signatures Collected!

Greetings,

We did it! On Wednesday, the MTA met its goal of collecting 20,000 signatures for the Raise Up Massachusetts ballot initiative. Great work, everyone. This is an example of what we can achieve when we work together. The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition as a whole still has plenty to do to reach the overall 120,000-signature goal, so please keep gathering signatures. Collectively, our efforts could raise more than $1 billion a year for education and transportation by asking those who make more than $1 million a year to pay a little more in taxes.

Critical Moment to Speak Out on PARCC

We hope for a strong turnout at the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's final scheduled hearing on PARCC, MCAS and MCAS 2.0. The hearing will run from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16, at Malden High School, 77 Salem St., Malden. This is your chance to let members of the BESE know what you think of PARCC specifically and high-stakes testing in general. Our message is NO to PARCC and YES to a moratorium on high-stakes testing. The MTA will supply buses for locals that have at least 25 people attending. Organize a group, then come and make some noise.

Legislators Step Up and Obama Steps Back: Our Organizing Is Making a Difference

Massachusetts legislators, led by Representative Marjorie Decker and Senator Pat Jehlen, held a press conference on Tuesday in support of a three-year moratorium on high-stakes testing. It was amazing to see our legislators speaking from knowledge and personal experience about the mad world of high-stakes testing and the need to stop and engage in meaningful conversation about what we want for our public schools. The press conference came on the heels of President Barack Obama's admission that there is too much testing. Obama's statement would carry a lot more meaning if it included actual measures to stop the testing mandates that were exacerbated under his administration. But we can and should celebrate the fact that we are changing the conversation and making real headway. Keep up the pressure.

Support FairTest at an Event on Nov. 11

At long last, there is a strong national movement pushing back against too much testing. FairTest has been on the front lines of this issue for 30 years, standing up for students, teachers and public education through effective research, public education and advocacy. FairTest needs support to keep doing this important work. The Boston-based national organization is holding a fundraising event honoring two testing reform leaders, Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Lani Guinier, on Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge. Go here for tickets and for more information.

Fight Privatization of RCC's IT Department

Massachusetts Community College Council members at Roxbury Community College are asking for support in their fight against the privatization of RCC's Information Technology Department. Please go here to sign a petition. Privatization of public services is bad for the RCC employees who will be directly affected - and for all who oppose efforts to break unions by outsourcing services.

Deadline to Nominate 2016 ESP of the Year is Nov. 20

This MTA award celebrates the Education Support Professional who best exemplifies the character traits of leading by example, advocating for others, seeking out professional growth, and promoting public education and activism. The 2016 ESP of the Year nomination form is available here. Please consider nominating a worthy ESP from your local. The award will be presented at the 2016 ESP Conference, which will be held on April 8 and 9, 2016, at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth. This is a great way to honor a creative, innovative ESP who makes all the difference in your school or classroom.

MTA Headquarters and Metro Office Move to Quincy

This weekend, most staff members at our headquarters in Boston and all staff in our Metro Regional Office in Braintree will move to Quincy. Starting Monday, the work address for these employees and for the MTA president and vice president will be 2 Heritage Drive, Quincy, MA 02171-2119. But some things don't change. Our MTA lobbyists will remain at 20 Ashburton Place in Boston, and we will continue to have some meeting space in the building. All of our phone numbers will remain the same. I hope to see some of you at our new digs.

Have a fun and safe Halloween.

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

Barbara