Don't mourn, organize

Greetings,

Many thanks to all of you who took part in the democratic process and voted yesterday. And a special thank you to those who also participated in communicating with members about the election, volunteered and fully engaged in the electoral process.

Although most MTA-supported candidates won, our choice for governor did not. I know many of us are disheartened by this result. But whether it was to be Martha Coakley or Charlie Baker in the corner office, our work as a union remains the same. We need to be informed. We need to identify the issues that matter to us and organize to fight for them. We need to support one another in our schools, in our locals, on our campuses and across the state. We need to grow and deepen alliances. We need to educate, agitate and organize. 

There is much work to do, but together we can increase union solidarity and strength. Here are some efforts underway. 

Two weeks ago, DESE came out with outrageous "policy options" to connect your license to teach with - guess what - your evaluation or your students' test scores. Within 72 hours of hearing from us about this issue, more than 3,000 of you had sent e-mails to Commissioner Mitchell Chester and the members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. We certainly got their attention! Since we had gotten our point across to BESE members - several of whom share our views - we limited the recipient list on Monday to Chester, Associate Commissioner Heather Peske and BESE's testimony intake address. If you haven't sent your e-mail yet, please click here and send it today. Keep up the heat. 

Meanwhile, we are planning to turn members out for DESE's "town hall" events on this issue. There will be one in Malden on Nov. 19 and one in Bridgewater on Nov. 20. Please contact your local association president for details if you would like to participate.

On the charter issue, we are organizing members to testify at a hearing tonight in Malden against BESE members bending their own rules to allow a charter school to open in Brockton this year. Brockton educators will be coming up by bus to make their voices heard. Other members will be supporting them in person or with a postcard campaign. We will keep you posted if other actions are planned.

Starting later this month, there will be hearings on the foundation budget. We will be asking members to participate to let the Foundation Budget Review Commission, on which I serve, know what resources you need in order to provide your students with the schools they deserve. I will send you more information about this in my next e-mail, and it will be posted on our website.

We are taking these and other actions under a Democratic governor. And we certainly aren't going to stop when the newly elected governor takes office. If anything, we will need to redouble our efforts to make sure policymakers hear from us and attend to our members' views on behalf of students, educators, our communities and our values.

It's hard work, but we are up to the challenge of organizing for a better future. One of our staff created a meme with a message that I truly believe: "THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS STRONGER THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER. DON'T MOURN, ORGANIZE."

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

Barbara