MTA Union News: Tell your legislators to support Cherish & Thrive

MTA Union News: Tell your legislators to support Cherish & Thrive

Greetings, MTA members!

Today was to be Higher Ed for All Advocacy Day at the State House but the weather got in the way. We expect to reschedule it for late March. But let’s all use this moment to ask our representatives and senators to sign on to support the Cherish Act. You can endorse Cherish (as well as the Thrive Act on high-stakes testing, and the rest of our legislative agenda).

And take a minute to record a short Soapboxx selfie video about why high-quality, debt-free public higher education matters to you, your children, and your students. Thirty seconds is a fine length!

We also want to let you all know of the passing of two important leaders of our union.

John Reed, who died on February 10, was president of the Barnstable Teachers Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the MTA and the NEA as a Director from Massachusetts. In recognition of his commitment to equity and diversity, in 1993 John received the MTA Human and Civil Rights Award. In 2008, he received the NEA’s prestigious H. Councill Trenholm Memorial Award in recognition of his numerous contributions to free the education profession from inequities based on race or ethnicity. Please read his obituary.

Bob Murphy, who died on February 6, was a former president of the Somerville Teachers Association, now the Somerville Educators Union, and then president of the MTA. He served as MTA president at a critical time in the early 1990s when our union led the effort to expand state funding for schools. He worked equally hard to expand health insurance to every child in Massachusetts in 1996, a step toward universal health insurance that was pioneered in the Commonwealth. Read Bob’s obituary.

MTA Events

Health and Safety Summit
Are you a member who has been involved in your local’s health and safety committee, or are you interested in getting involved? Join the inaugural Environmental Health and Safety Committee Summit on March 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Worcester. Registration is open.

Early Career Educators Conference
Registration is also now open for the 2023 MTA Early Career Educators Conference, which will be held on Saturday, March 4, at Worcester Technical High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Professional Development Workshops focused on special education, multilingual learners, anti-bias education and more will be offered throughout the spring. All courses are free to MTA members. Registration for these courses will start on Wednesday, March 1 at 4 p.m., so set a reminder to ensure your spot! Please visit the “Learn with the MTA” webpage to learn more about these workshops.

Virtual Licensure Workshops: The MTA is offering another installment of Virtual Licensure Workshops

  • The Basics for Provisional and Initial Licensure, Wednesday, March 15, 4 - 5:30 p.m. This will cover the first steps toward licensure for aspiring educators, Education Support Professionals, and early career educators.
  • Acquiring and Renewing Your Professional License, Wednesday, March 29, 4 - 5:30 p.m. This workshop will focus on moving from an Initial to a Professional License and the Professional License renewal process. It is open to educators with three-plus years of employment.

Also, The Policy Minute, published by our Center for Education Policy and Practice, is an incredible resource that can assist with your licensure questions. All you need is an email address to subscribe and receive updates from CEPP!

MTA Summer Conference: Our Training and Professional Learning division is requesting proposals for the 2023 MTA Summer Conference, which is scheduled for August 6 - 9 at UMass Amherst. Our conference provides an array of workshops related to union skills and leadership, instructional practice, racial and social justice, and other areas of professional interest. MTA’s Summer Conference attracts a variety of members from public schools and higher education including teachers, faculty, professional staff, ESPs and retirees. Whether you are a well-practiced facilitator or a novice, the MTA encourages you to submit your proposal. Presenters will receive a stipend in accordance with MTA policy. All proposals are due by March 26, 2023.

Free Student Loan Forgiveness and Debt Counseling Webinars
Cambridge Credit Counseling, MTA Benefits’ partner for both student loan forgiveness and debt consolidation assistance is holding webinars on these topics in this spring. There has been a new payment adjustment opportunity added to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that provides a one-time opportunity to have payment counts increased, but you must consolidate before May 1, 2023. If you’re interested in learning how to understand credit scores and credit reports, preparing a family budget, or managing debt, a debt counseling webinar will provide you with that information. Sign up for a free upcoming webinar to learn more.

New IRS Rule Helps Educators
Here’s some good news. For the first time in 20 years, educators are getting a bigger deduction for the classroom supplies they buy. It’s not enough, but it’s a start. The IRS has increased the annual deduction to $300, up from $250.

The IRS says it will keep raising the limit in $50 increments in future years based on inflation adjustments. The deduction can be claimed by a variety of educators.  

Political Education
MTA educators were featured in a poignant piece in The Boston Globe about the unfair treatment of our ESP members and how we are fighting back – including recently in Woburn, Melrose, Malden, and Haverhill.

To learn more about the ESP Bill of Rights, check out our ESP page.

And, not unrelatedly, the Economic Policy Institute just issued a report that shows major strike activity increased nearly 50 percent in 2022.


Max and Deb