For many of you, this is the first week of school. May this be a year when you can return to your calling as educators of the whole student, free from fear of disease and disrespect.
Last week we won an important victory — the elimination of up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt. We are proud that the MTA has long stood for debt-free public higher education so that we can get closer to the day when access to a public college is a right of every resident of the Commonwealth. Our approach is to build an outstanding “P-16” public education system, free to all, as a basic right.
While we believe President Biden should have eliminated all student debt, we need to celebrate what was a grassroots victory — built on the actions and pressure applied by students, families, legislative allies and our unions. And it is a victory for racial, gender and economic justice: The vast majority of debt cancellation will go to individuals making less than $75,000 a year — and a large share will go to students of color who have been forced to take on more debt.
We will be sharing more information about all the details of this important executive action and will hold workshops to make sure all of our members can take advantage of its many elements.
The start of the school year coincides with the primary election, which is around the corner — on Sept. 6. Please check out the recommendations of your MTA Candidate Recommendation Committee and the Board of Directors.
The Nov. 8 general election is not far behind. Check out the new ad for Question 1 — the Fair Share Amendment — featuring Naomi Akan, the 2022 MTA ESP of the Year.
- Registration is open for the All Presidents’ Meeting on Sept. 10 in Marlborough, which will be followed by an afternoon workshop on building more bold and strike-ready locals. Presidents are encouraged to bring member activists to the meeting. Ask your local president if you’d like to attend.
- The MTA Retired Members Committee is proud to bring you the 21st Annual Retired Members Gathering as an in-person event — for the first time in three years. Please join us for MTA’s 2022 Retired Members Gathering, which is being held Sept. 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Westborough.
- Please note that the Early Career Educators Conference — originally scheduled for Nov. 19 — has been postponed until February so we can all focus on winning the Fair Share Amendment in November.
- The HEArt of Haverhill, the Haverhill Education Association, is holding a rally to kick off work to rule at 4 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 1, at Haverhill City Hall in response to the failure of the School Committee to negotiate a fair contract. Join HEA members — and both of us — to show broad support for Haverhill educators and their students.
- The fight for living wages for Brockton paraprofessionals continues. Please join a rally at 7:30 a.m. this Thursday, Sept. 1, at Brockton High School. The event — before the opening day gathering — will make sure the administration and School Committee know that they need to come to the table with a much better offer. Here’s some background. Park at Shaw’s, 641 Belmont St., across the street from the main entrance.
A new study from the Economic Policy Institute shows how the “pay penalty” for teachers has only grown. Massachusetts classroom teachers make on average 20 percent less than other similarly educated professionals. Even after you factor in the health and other benefits we have won, the pay penalty is on average about 15 percent.
It is important to note that as undercompensated as teachers are, MTA members who are Education Support Professionals are even less fairly paid. Many of our members are making close to minimum wage, which produces a yearly salary that is two to three times less than that of classroom teachers.
That’s another reason for passing the Fair Share Amendment: to create a permanent source of funds for improved pay for all educators.
Max and Deb