We hope you are all getting some final rest, although we know some of you already are back in classrooms, getting ready for the start of school.
This will be an exciting year, as we finally take down the MCAS as a graduation requirement, and replace it with a more authentic evaluation, developed and conducted by educators, and which follows our strong state standards and your local curriculum. And we’ll finally build a debt-free pathway for young adults to go on to outstanding two- and four-year public colleges and universities.
It is also going to be a tough year. The latest wave of attacks against educators, against the freedom to learn, against LGBTQ+ youth, against BIPOC members, will likely ramp up as the presidential campaign gets into high gear. Our students who are suffering from a crisis in mental health will need all the care we can give them.
And all of you, our members, who often bear the brunt of the attacks and stresses and strains in our school and college buildings, will need our collective support. When in need, turn to us and each other – your colleagues and fellow union members.
MTA Events and Solidarity Actions
As you start to make plans for the fall, please remember to share actions where you want fellow MTA member support – rallies, standouts, silent representatives in bargaining, etc... Solidarity works!
Here are some notable MTA events to mark on your calendar for the year. More details will be coming soon for each:
Higher Ed Conference and Bargaining Summit – co-located on Saturday, October 21, at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center. Stay tuned for registration information.
EMAC Conference – December 1-2, at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center.
Summer Organizing Update
Our Summer Member Organizers, comprised of MTA educators, are finishing the last few weeks on a strong note, as they engage in crucial, one-on-one conversations with members about the Thrive Act and our ballot initiative to remove the graduation requirement from the high-stakes MCAS exam. Already, our SMOs have knocked on more than 10,000 doors and signed up more 3,500 MTA members for our campaign.
Speak out for Higher Ed
If you believe that debt-free public higher education, more funding for student supports and fair wages to recruit and retain faculty and staff are priorities, please share your written support for the Cherish Act! A state hearing is on Monday, Sept. 18.
Health and Physical Education Framework
Now is the time to share your thoughts on a comprehensive update to the state’s health and physical education curriculum. Comments will be accepted through Aug. 28. The new standards released by Governor Maura Healey are the first update in almost 25 years and include grade level-appropriate frameworks.
These sensible improvements include a stronger emphasis on the skills students need to promote and maintain lifelong physical, mental, emotional and social health. They include recognition of the health issues and concerns of LGBTQ+ youth, as well as updates relating to social media, dating safety and substance use.
You’ve heard about how all the millionaires and billionaires will leave Massachusetts (and take their tax dollars with them) because of the Fair Share Amendment (you know, the tax that is producing incredible gains for our public schools, colleges and transportation systems).
Here’s a snippet from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that puts a reality check on talk of “tax flight”:
“State tax levels have little effect on whether and where people move…. Policymakers in states like California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York should ignore warnings by anti-government advocates that state taxes are causing massive “tax flight.”
“To the contrary, if deep tax cuts result in substantial deterioration in education, public safety, parks, roads, and other critical services and infrastructure, these states will render themselves less — not more — desirable places to live and raise a family.”
Max and Deb