Election Day is almost here. Finally. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to be the runaway winner in Massachusetts, which is why so many MTA members and staff have pivoted to making phone calls to NEA members in battleground states to end the destructive era of Donald Trump. There are four more opportunities to make calls from your home: this evening, Oct. 27, Oct. 29 and Nov. 2. Much as they did in canvassing for Question 2 in 2016, members who want to make a difference have found it rewarding to talk to other educators, hear their concerns and let them know that their votes matter more than ever this year. In addition, please take a look at the MTA Election Guide for our recommendations, especially if you haven't already voted.
Keep Up the Pressure for Public Higher Ed
Our higher ed chapters have done a phenomenal job of getting out the word about the harmful impact of budget cuts at community colleges, at state universities and in the UMass system. There is no doubt that union activism played a part in Governor Charlie Baker’s decision to level fund public higher education in his proposed fiscal 2021 budget. Let’s keep the pressure on to make sure the Legislature follows through. Every member — not just our higher ed ones — can call or email their legislators to voice support for fully funded public colleges and universities. The final Defend Public Higher Ed action of the month is set for 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, at the State House. Join members from Bunker Hill Community College, Roxbury Community College, MassArt and UMass Boston on Beacon Hill or tune in to MTA’s Facebook page for a livestream.
Support MTA’s PreK-12 ESP Bill of Rights
The MTA is proud to unveil the MTA PreK-12 ESP Bill of Rights. Education Support Professionals are needed more than ever to make pandemic education work better, but they are often poorly paid and lack job security. Just as teachers know that their working conditions are their students’ learning conditions, the working and living conditions of our ESPs also impact the learning conditions of our students. As part of a campaign to improve conditions for ESPs in our public schools, we are asking members to record brief videos describing why these rights are important to them and their families.
MCAS Moratorium Needed More Than Ever
Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley continues with his reckless plan to require districts to administer MCAS tests this year, when what our students really need is our undivided attention to their wellness and to making pandemic education work. The first makeup exams are scheduled for January. This, even though schools are still opening and closing in various states of hybrid, remote and crisis education. This, despite unanswered questions about how to administer tests when so many students are learning remotely with inconsistent internet access. This, even though the negative consequences of this test-and-punish system will fall most heavily on students of color and low-income students, their teachers and their schools. Soon we will be stepping up our campaign for a moratorium on high-stakes testing in 2020-2021 and into the future. Stay tuned.
Malden Educator Named 2021 Teacher of the Year
Congratulations to Jennifer Hedrington, a seventh-grade math teacher at the Ferryway School in Malden, who has been named the 2021 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. I believe she spoke for many educators when she told the Boston Herald how she is approaching teaching during the pandemic with her students: “Take care of their emotional needs first and focus on that, and everything else will fall into place.”
New Training and Professional Learning Page Launched
There’s a new section of the MTA website where you can watch training videos or sign up for workshops and professional development opportunities through the MTA’s Division of Training and Professional Learning. You can find it under “Events and Conferences.”