Take Action on Charters, Testing; Vote for MTRS Reps

Greetings,

We may have turned back the clocks last weekend, but we are moving ahead in organizing around both local and statewide issues. Much appreciation for all you do for the profession, for your students and for your communities.

NO to PARCC. NO to MCAS 2.0. YES to Moratorium.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education says its public hearing in Malden on Nov. 16 is about PARCC vs. MCAS. We say it is our chance to expose the destructive consequences of high-stakes standardized testing. Come to the hearing if you can; stay tuned for an e-mailed action alert next week if you can't. In the meantime, watch and share these videos in which MTA members talk about excessive testing and what it does to students, educators and learning.

Coalition Asks Senate NOT to Compromise on Charter Cap Lift

The MTA is a member of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, a pro-public-education coalition that sent a letter to state senators urging them to vote against yet another compromise to lift the cap on charter schools. Our message: "We speak with one voice in response to this threat: Enough."

Go here for a copy of the letter and here to read an article in The Boston Globe about it.

Budget Commission Finds Schools Are Badly Underfunded

The Foundation Budget Review Commission issued its final report on Monday, concluding that state and local funding requirements and support are too low to meet the education needs of all students. The report recommends adjustments to the budget relative to health insurance, in-district and out-of-district special education, English language learners and low-income students. These are important recommendations that will need our support if we are to make headway in the State House.

Start a Reading Group about the Corporate Players Behind Ed Reform. We Supply the Book!

The Prize by Dale Russakoff tells the story of how Mark Zuckerberg and other billionaires sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into charter schools and other "education reform" initiatives in Newark, N.J., all at the expense of students, educators and the community. This story is being repeated across the country and is an excellent lesson on how the players behind "ed reform" operate. The MTA's Public Relations/Organizing Campaign Committee voted to make 500 copies of this book available to MTA members who want to educate themselves and the community by reading The Prize and discussing it in a book group. Please e-mail Ari Mercado in the MTA Division of Governance and Administration at amercado@massteacher.org if you are interested in getting a copy.

Vote for MTA-Endorsed Candidates for the MTRS Board

Attention MTRS members: Please take a minute or two to vote for the MTA's two endorsed candidates for the Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System Board when you receive your ballot in the mail. Jacqueline Gorrie and Dennis Naughton are among the three candidates for the two open seats. Both have shown decades of commitment to public education, their local associations and the MTA. They will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this important board. Mail ballots should be sent in by Dec. 5. For the first time, online balloting is also permitted this year. Look for instructions on your ballot.

What Do This Year's NAEP Scores Tell Us?

Results on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress are out, and Massachusetts continues to be at or near the top. But what does it mean that NAEP scores are stagnating for the country as a whole? As educator Carol Burris writes, "Today's National Assessment of Educational Progress score flop should come as no surprise. You cannot implement terrible education policies and expect that achievement will increase."

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

Barbara