All spring, members have been speaking up and acting out for the Schools Our Students Deserve. Here are some success stories and actions to participate in!
Feel the Pride
March behind the MTA banner at Boston Pride on Saturday. If you'd like some social time, join us at 10:30 a.m. on parade day for an informal brunch at Joe's American Bar & Grill, 181 Newbury Street. Our marching group will gather outside the Boston Public Library in Copley Square starting at 11:30! For updates and more information, please RSVP to this Facebook event.
Alma del Mar Scheme Defeated by MTA/NBCSOS
Educators, students, families and other residents of New Bedford, along with supportive legislators, fought and won against the Alma Del Mar charter school expansion scheme. The state pulled the plug on the plan after it was blocked in the Legislature. The scheme was designed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the privatizers to create a new and dangerous model for charter schools that could be applied across the state.
The Alma II agreement would have required New Bedford to give — as in, for nothing — a vacant public school building to the charter school, enroll students automatically from a newly redistricted neighborhood carved out by the city and the charter, and pay Alma del Mar full tuition for all of the new seats that the school was allowed to enroll, whether or not those seats were actually filled. The struggle continues, however. Although the bill that would have allowed those contingencies is dead, the state nonetheless approved a 594-student increase in Alma del Mar’s enrollment.
Phoning for Fund Our Future
If a legislator receives five phone calls on an issue, that hits the radar. Ten calls are a big deal. As for 20? That requires immediate attention. And we need legislators’ attention as the end of the session draws closer. Please call your legislators and ask them to commit to the Promise Act and the Cherish Act, and to the principles embodied in those acts, even if the bills are modified as they wend their way through the process. With your help, we could win major funding increases this year!
Sign Up for MTA’s Summer Conference
Before the school year ends, don’t forget to sign up for MTA’s Summer Conference and choose from a wide variety of union skills and professional development workshops while connecting professionally — and socially — with colleagues who have challenges and joys similar to yours.
Marching for a Fair Contract in Haverhill
Educators understand that state funding for schools has a big impact on their working conditions. On June 11, Haverhill educators are holding a March on City Hall for FULL Funding to promote the twin goals of Fund Our Future and a Fair Contract Now. Join them if you can.
MTA Local and State Leaders Respond to State Takeover Plans
Even though the state’s track record on improving low-performing schools without additional funding is abysmal, it keeps trying to advance its agenda. The MTA and local affiliates spoke out against an expansion of state takeover powers at a recent legislative hearing. David Williams, president of the Southbridge Education Association, testified, “We actually have fewer resources now. Before the takeover, we had three counselors at the high school. Now we have zero.” We don’t want that to happen to your district, so we’ll keep reminding the state that funding, not more punitive top-down mandates, will make a positive difference for students.
Tell DESE That ‘Deep Learning’ Requires Less Testing and More Funding
Last month, Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced his vision that “... will allow teachers, schools, and districts across the state an opportunity to create better conditions for applied, deeper learning for all students.” Deep learning has been sacrificed by the MCAS and inequitable funding. You have a chance to respond to Riley’s survey to tell him just that in 100 words or less. For inspiration, here’s an excerpt from what one MTA member wrote: “Teachers have already been doing ‘deeper learning’ and have already been applying activities to the standards for years. That is, until the state and federal government imposed testing mandates dictating teaching to tests. ... Until schools are fully funded and there is equity in funding across districts, education in the state is a failure.”