It has been a busy month at the State House. Among other developments, MTA Vice President Max Page and I testified alongside MTA members in favor of a slate of bills that would address the need for transformative investments in public education that our students and educators deserve – and which will lead to a recovery that is centered on equity and racial justice.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the unprecedented challenges in our public schools and colleges and will continue to shape them in the years to come. MTA members who are part of the MTRS spoke to the Legislature in September about the urgency of having the opportunity to buy years of service allowing for an early retirement with financial security and dignity. Read on to learn more about where in the process the early retirement bill stands.
Others spoke recently about the MCAS system of test and punish that diminishes time for learning and planning and deepens racial inequities.
And last week, we testified that the once-in-a-generation funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act will present us with the resources to meet the urgency of this moment. One of the areas where this urgency is most clearly seen is in public education infrastructure, so that students and educators have safe, healthy, and green buildings in which to learn and work. The state must include school and campus facilities in upcoming appropriations of ARPA funds.
Continuing to Push on the Early Retirement Bill
H.2620/S.1791, An Act to provide a retirement enhancement opportunity for certain members of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System, is a high priority for the MTA. This legislation gives us the opportunity to both bring justice to our eligible members and put the state on a new path to diversify our educator workforce. This bill, along with H.584/S.365, An Act relative to anti-racism, equity and justice in education, and H.583/S.338, An Act ensuring diversity in public education, will help us further the goal of racial justice in education. The hundreds of members who have already taken action on the bill demonstrate to the Legislature how much it matters. The legislation is currently being reviewed by the Joint Committee on Public Service following its hearing on Sept. 1.
While the hearing sent a powerful message to the committee and showed how personal the issue is for so many of our dedicated educators, it is just one part in a multi-step legislative process. Find for more resources, including an outline of the many steps of the legislative process with a note about where we are today.
Max and I, along with our Government Relations staff, continue to work directly with the committee and other stakeholders and decision-makers to move this bill forward and to demonstrate its importance.
Extended COVID-19 Emergency Paid Leave Provisions
The MTA and its allies, as part of the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition, secured another victory recently: The state's COVID-19 pandemic sick time program has been extended through March 2022.
This extension of paid leave as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic is an important public health benefit for all Massachusetts workers.
Join us for the Bargaining Summit on Nov. 13
This year’s Bargaining Summit will bring local associations even further toward maximizing bargaining power and union strength. Join us to explore the exciting possibilities of coalition and coordinated bargaining.
Learn how to strategize and to work in solidarity with other MTA members and other education stakeholders to shift the balance of power and win on the issues that are important to us, our students, and our communities.
You'll hear from locals making gains at the bargaining table. The summit will be held virtually on Saturday, Nov. 13.
Nominate a Deserving ESP
All of our Education Support Professionals are outstanding! And this is the time of the year when members nominate a deserving ESP to be honored as the MTA ESP of the Year.
This annual MTA award is a great way to acknowledge the unique contributions that ESPs make in our public schools, colleges and universities.
We would like to see every local association nominate at least one person for this award. Let them be overlooked no more! Consider nominating individuals who exemplify the best in:
- Professional practice
- Association involvement
- Community engagement
- Enhancement of the ESP image
- Personal achievement
The deadline to submit the nomination form is Friday, Dec. 10. The award will be presented at the 2022 MTA ESP Conference, which is planned for the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth April 1-2.