I hope you feel rejuvenated as summer draws to a close. The outlook this fall is brighter for many preK-12 members after the Legislature finally passed a budget that included significant increases for public education. It is inspiring how many of our locals are advocating for and winning new spending on members’ priorities for the new funds – more paraprofessionals or supplies, better professional development or smaller class sizes, summer school for students or better pay for educators. You didn’t need studies to tell you this, but it is good to have the research backing up the fact that money matters in education. No one knows better than you do what your students need to succeed. Your voices matter.
Fund Our Future Fight Picks Up Again
While the increase was welcome, there’s unfinished business. The Promise Act, which would guarantee school funding increases into the future, is still sitting in the Education Committee. And the Cherish Act, which would restore public higher education funding back to fiscal year 2001 levels, is still stuck in the Higher Education Committee. We need to keep up the pressure to move these bills. We will be discussing next steps at our All Presidents’ meeting on September 14. Share any action ideas you have with your local or chapter presidents and encourage them to attend the meeting.
Membership Remains Strong
If you got a knock on your door from a Summer Member Organizer this summer, you were not alone. Members went door to door in 112 locals, asking other members about their jobs and listening to their ideas. Hear what the experience was like for some of our SMOs. As the new year begins, we strongly encourage locals and chapters to build on the success of the SMO program by welcoming new members warmly, listening to what they have to say, and encouraging them to be involved in union activities. The best way to learn about the power of your union is to experience it firsthand.
Global Climate Strike Coming September 20
The MTA applauds student activists organizing the Global Climate Strike on September 20. There’s a chapter here in Massachusetts. We encourage members to be adult allies for these inspiring young people fighting for their future. We will be sharing ideas about how educators can demonstrate their support. You can start by adding the hashtags #YCSBoston, #ClimateStrikeMA and #BostonClimateStrike to any relevant items you share on social media.
The 1619 Project on the History of Slavery: Free Materials Available to Teachers
In case you missed it, The New York Times launched the impressive 1619 Project on the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved people being brought to Jamestown. The project covers the brutal history as well as the contributions of African Americans in building the nation. You can find curriculums, guides and activities for students on this subject developed by the Pulitzer Center. And it’s all free!
Hearing Set for Recess Bill
A bill backed by the MTA to require districts to provide students in grades K-5 at least 20 minutes of recess a day is being heard by the Education Committee at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 4, in Room A-1 at the State House. If you are available, please come and testify in favor of this bill. Children need unstructured free time for their physical and emotional health.