It has been a crazy couple of weeks on the national front, with the president getting COVID-19 and then tweeting that it’s nothing to be scared of, completely dishonest about the lack of access to health care for far too many people and cavalier about the pain experienced by the 1 million people who have been infected and the more than 210,000 who have died.
In Massachusetts, the numbers are rising in our schools and communities. We recognize that you’ve needed the last few weeks to acclimate to your new context so we are regrouping to plan the next steps in helping locals organize around these challenges — including unmet health and safety demands and what it will take to make pandemic education successful.
Take Agency in this Election by Calling NEA Members in Battleground States
In an Atlantic article titled The Election That Could Break America, staff writer Barton Gellman asserts: “The worst case is that he [Trump] uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him.” Gellman goes on to describe multiple scenarios as potential outcomes of the election, each with no clear resolution. But he notes that, fundamentally, voters must take agency. One way that MTA members can take that agency is by calling NEA members in battleground states on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings between now and Election Day to encourage them to vote. This is one way to make sure educators’ voices are heard in the 2020 election, one conversation at a time.
Tell Legislators You Support Fair Taxes for a Just Recovery
Lawmakers have a choice: They can let deep budget cuts drive us deeper into a recession that worsens racial and economic inequities and deprives our schools and colleges of the hard-fought resources we just won or they can invest in public services that improve public education and public health, grow our economy and reduce racial disparities. In partnership with the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition, we are co-sponsoring Community Briefing events as part of the Invest in Our Recovery campaign. During these conversations, working people will deliver testimonials directly to our state lawmakers and ask them to support the progressive taxes needed to enable a just recovery.
MTA Members Invited to Propose Bills
Do you have an idea for a bill you think the MTA should support? Please click here to propose legislation to be filed for the MTA in the 2021-2022 session. Proposals must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. Submitters may be asked to discuss their proposals in greater detail with the Government Relations Committee.
Take Action to #DefendPublicHigherEd
Public higher education is suffering from deep cuts, layoffs, furloughs and the elimination of programs. These cuts are being imposed despite millions of dollars that are available in foundation and rainy day funds. There are three things you can do:
- All higher ed members are invited to join a strategy meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13, to discuss regional and statewide organizing.
- All are encouraged to share our new video on your social media: Massachusetts Agrees: Defend Public Higher Ed Now.
- Call on your legislators to provide, at a minimum, level funding for all of public higher ed. Share this important message.
Workshops on Improving Public School Buildings Set for Oct. 8 and 15
Even before the pandemic, too many students were educated in substandard buildings, particularly in low-income communities. Now the issue has taken on new urgency — especially the problem of poor ventilation systems and the lack of green space for outdoor activities. The MTA and the American Institute of Architects Massachusetts are holding workshops on October 8 and 15 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. so that educators and architects can figure out ways to advance our common goal — outstanding public school buildings for our students.
Reproductive Rights Are at Stake
With the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reproductive rights hang in the balance. States will have to do more to protect those rights. In our state, the MTA Board of Directors supports the ROE Act. If you do too, let your legislators know you fully support a woman’s right to choose.