Greetings, MTA members,
Along with a devastating report (if you are an MCAS proponent!) by our allies at Citizens for Public Schools and FairTest, this week MTA member and UMass Lowell professor Jack Schneider published a new report, Educational Accountability 3.0, which reviews the accountability regime that has controlled our public schools and offers a reimagination of education policy. The report addresses the shortcomings of two federal laws, while offering innovative solutions for a more equitable approach to student learning and accountability.
Let’s also take a moment to congratulate our union siblings from the United Teachers Los Angeles, who recently won a tentative agreement that provides a 21 percent salary increase over about three years – raising the average teacher salary to $106,000. Just a few weeks ago, UTLA went on strike for three days in solidarity with Education Support Professionals who also won remarkable gains – 30 percent more for the lowest-paid workers.
Support Your Union Siblings: Check out this list of upcoming actions. Please add your own to this form. The more we show up for one another, the greater the power we generate for local and statewide campaigns.
Standardized Testing Walkthrough
When: 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 26
Where: Jean McDonough Arts Center, Worcester
Attendees will tour "how we got here," a world in which our students are judged not by their intellect and talents but by test scores. The walkthrough is intended to educate the community and bring them into the experience and anxiety that youth feel in taking the MCAS. Register.
AFL-CIO and MassCOSH Workers’ Memorial Day
When: Friday, April 28
Where: Massachusetts State House and Springfield
On Friday, many of us will be at the first MTA Annual Meeting of Delegates held in the “413” – at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. If you are not a delegate, and are able, please attend the Workers’ Memorial Day event in Boston, in front of the State House. It begins at noon Friday, April 28. Each year, the AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health honor workers who have died on the job. If you are in Springfield, you can attend the memorial at Teamster Hall, 115 Progress Ave., from 10 to 11:30 a.m. You’ll still have time to attend the Annual Meeting.
Student Loan Forgiveness
When: 6 p.m., Monday, May 1
You might not know that the U.S. Department of Education recently extended the May 1 payment count adjustment deadline, which means borrowers have another opportunity to consolidate and receive retroactive credit for previously ineligible student loan debt payments. This extension provides members with more time to achieve Public Service Loan Forgiveness or make progress toward achieving it. Cambridge Credit Counseling can help you through the process. Read more and register.
Performance-based Assessment Workshop
When: 3 p.m., Monday, May 8
Join NEA and FairTest via Zoom to explore what performance-based assessment looks like in a variety of school settings, subject areas and grade levels across the country. By sharing student work samples and educators’ stories of high-quality, performance-based assessments, we hope to demonstrate its value in promoting deeper learning through inquiry-based, student-centered education. Educators and students, including several from Milford Public Schools, will provide insights into PBAs. Register.
At a recent UMass Amherst conference, we had a chance to run into our MTA 2022 Summer Conference plenary speaker, Chris Smalls, the leader of the Amazon Labor Union. He spoke powerfully about his effort not only to win a contract in New York, but also to support organizing at key Amazon sites around the country. Amazon is gigantic, which makes the task daunting and makes the unionization task essential, as Jonathan Rosenblum writes in The Nation.
Max and Deb