Good News/Bad News on Testing

Greetings,

PARCC and MCAS Update

There's good news and bad news about the future of testing in Massachusetts. The good news is that pushback from educators, parents and others has forced Commissioner Mitchell Chester to reject the national PARCC option. The bad news is that he is asking the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to adopt a PARCC-infused MCAS 2.0 test - one that will continue to base high-stakes decisions for students, teachers and schools on standardized tests. I shared my views on the recommendation here on WBZ. Show the board you are for Less Testing/More Learning by coming to Jenkins Auditorium at Malden High School, 77 Salem St., on Monday, Nov. 16, from 4 to 7 p.m. and by sending an e-mail message to the members of the BESE.

More than 130,000 Signatures

MTA members have collected more than 27,000 signatures, pushing the Raise Up Massachusetts total to over 130,000. Congratulations! We exceeded our commitment to collect 20,000 and worked in solidarity with others in support of this constitutional amendment to increase funding for public schools, public higher education and transportation. An official announcement with the final tally will be released soon. Great work, one and all!

MCCC Fights Back

Higher ed battles continue. Massachusetts Community College Council members are organizing in support of a fair contract. They have adopted work-to-rule actions, have held visibilities and are speaking out at campus trustees' meetings. These actions are needed because management is seeking drastic takebacks that would threaten workers' rights and diminish the scope of professional judgment while offering a financial package that is not on par with recently negotiated raises for other public higher education employees.

Want to Make the Rules, Not Just Live Under Them?

One way for educators to help make sure we have the schools our students, educators and communities deserve is to hold elective office. We are setting up a Campaign School for MTA members who plan to run for office or are thinking about it. A multiday program will be offered at the 2016 Summer Conference. Please go here for more information or to recommend a member you think would make a great elected official.

Election Forums Coming Soon

Back in September I let you know that we would be arranging forums in which members could speak to each other about the issues that matter most to them as we enter an election year, as well as the work we want to do around the elections and the legislative agenda. Prior to the final scheduling and preparation for these forums, I will be holding a tele-town hall at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, to get your input on the kinds of questions you want to discuss and the conversations you want to have as we prepare for the election and legislative work ahead. Mark your calendars. More information will follow.

Hearings Scheduled on Five New Charters

If all five of the charter schools proposed this year are approved, public schools could lose 3,000 students and millions of dollars in funding. Public hearings on the proposed charters will be held in Lynn, Springfield, Brockton, Sturbridge and Fitchburg. Go here for details, including information about which districts would be affected by the charters. Resources for preparing testimony are available on the MTA website.

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

Barbara