We are in Amherst at the 2023 Summer Conference, along with more than 500 MTA members who are busy learning about bargaining fundamentals, trauma-informed pedagogy, how to build bargaining for common good campaigns, and participating in more than 100 other workshops, not to mention dancing the night away at the LGBTQ+ party and the Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee’s Bash.
Summer Conference each year is preceded by a Board of Directors retreat and business meeting. We are pleased to let you know that at the meeting on Sunday, the MTA Board unanimously endorsed a ballot campaign to end the destructive, high-stakes MCAS graduation requirement, and to lead a legislative campaign to win passage of the Cherish Act for high-quality, debt-free public higher education for all residents of the Commonwealth.
The press release we issued provides more context.
This means the MTA will have a busy fall: gathering 75,000 signatures to make sure the end of MCAS as a graduation requirement advances to the November 2024 ballot; building powerful momentum for passage of the Thrive Act on assessment and receivership; and pursuing passage of the Cherish Act for public higher education. We will look forward to involving as many of you as possible in these important struggles for “P16” – preK through higher ed – public education.
There’s a new date for the Gloucester standout. Support Gloucester ESPs by showing up for their rally on Wednesday, August 16, at Gloucester High School, starting at 5 p.m. Here’s more information on their fight for a fair contract and an opportunity to take action.
Our NEA CAPE grant-funded Asian American/Pacific Islander Educator Mentorship Program (AEMP) is back for a fifth year. Please share if you know of any AAPI educators who are members of MTA or NEA. All sessions are virtual.
And here are some upcoming events:
All Presidents’ Meeting
Date: Saturday, September 9
Presidents can attend with a team of core activists from their local. Ask your local president if you can join them.
Cherish Act Hearing
Date: Monday, September 18
Thrive Act Hearing
Date: Wednesday, October 4
Also be on the lookout for more information about the Thrive Act hearing at the State House.
Summer Conference participants had a chance to hear from professor Loretta J. Ross, Ph.D., about the critical need to strengthen unions and other progressive organizations by replacing a “calling out” culture with a “calling in” one. Ross is a recent recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award, and an associate professor at Smith College. To learn more about her work and research, consider taking one of her online courses ($20 total). You can learn more and sign up for the courses here.
During her plenary address, Ross said that one of the best articles on progressive organizational development – “I wish I had written it!” – is Maurice Mitchell’s “Building Resilient Organizations.” You can read the article (or listen to Mitchell read it) here.
Reed is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at several universities, including Howard and Yale. He writes powerfully against received wisdom about what constitutes racial and economic justice. Reed is firmly committed to broad economic justice campaigns that lift up the working class. You can read Reed’s recent analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action decisions.
While he supports affirmative action programs and condemns the court’s recent decisions, Reed writes: “Over the course of a half-century of widening national inequality, the goal of affirmative action has not been to combat that inequality but to diversify its beneficiaries.”
Max and Deb