Union News: Rally at State House For MCAS Ballot Question

Union News: Rally at State House For MCAS Ballot Question


As we head to the November ballot to replace the use of the MCAS to determine who gets a high school diploma – with a record 170,000 signatures in support – we will devote a regular section of the weekly newsletter to campaign events and actions.

This Thursday, at 11 a.m., we’ll gather to deliver the final signatures needed to ensure a place on the Nov. 5 ballot. Over the course of just eight weeks in the fall, and another four weeks this spring, you and our parents and other progressive allies gathered nearly 170,000 signatures, a record! If you can, please join us Thursday in front of the State House.

But most importantly: start having conversations with your friends and family about why the MCAS-based graduation requirement needs to go, and be replaced with a focus on real learning and assessment by our classroom educators. As you head into the July Fourth week of beach, barbeque and fireworks, please tell those closest to you about the MCAS ballot initiative and why it is so important to you. Here are some basics about the campaign.

MTA Events, Opportunities and Solidarity Actions

MTA Board Alert

To help our members be more fully engaged with the work of the Board of Directors, we will be posting a “Board Alert” summarizing the actions of the Board at its most recent meeting. We will also include upcoming Board agendas in the weekly email. The Board Alert for the June 15 Board meeting can be found here.

Human and Civil Rights Award Winners

We were proud to recognize two remarkable organizations – Raising Multicultural Kids and Inclusive Eats – at the Human and Civil Rights dinner, held earlier this month. Special thanks to the MTA Human Relations Committee for hosting the dinner and awarding such impressive organizations.

Funding available for Massachusetts educators to pay back student loans

Up to $7,500 in student loan repayment funds will be available to Massachusetts educators beginning on Aug. 23. The funding from the MTA initiative is provided by the state Office of Student Financial Assistance. Qualified applicants may apply annually for four years. The program is open to those who have worked for four years in a Massachusetts public school district as a teacher, paraprofessional or in any other position that requires a license/certification issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or other state agency.

The application process opens on August 23. Learn more here.

June 30 Deadline: Honor Our Own Nominations

Nominations are being sought for the MTA’s Honor Our Own Award. Sponsored by the Retired Members Committee, this award recognizes a member or members of MTA Retired for their outstanding influence on students, early career educators or on public education.

The deadline for submissions is Sunday, June 30.

Nominees must be Retired members of the MTA. Retired preK-12 members, Education Support Professionals and higher education members are eligible. Learn more and nominate someone today: www.massteacher.org/honorourown.

Stay Connected to MTA!

Look out for an “Update Your MTA Information” email. Confirm or update your personal information to be entered to win a $50 Visa gift card, courtesy of MTA Benefits.

RetirementPlus Legislation

With the formal legislative session wrapping up on July 31, we are asking members to contact their state representative and ask that they support legislation that would allow teachers hired before July 1, 2000, who did not did not provide a written election to participate in RetirementPlus, to have a second opportunity to do so. Click here to get more information on the bill and to send a message to your representative. After July 31, the Legislature meets in informal sessions, which require unanimous consent for a bill to pass into law, so please contact or re-contact your state representative and ask them to pass this legislation now.

Heat Survey from NEA

The NEA is conducting a survey on the impact of excessive heat in education settings. This information helps us in our advocacy for legislation and regulation on health and safety. Education settings include not only classrooms, but also school buses, school kitchens, school grounds and boiler rooms, etc. Please complete and/or share with members who may have experience with excessive heat on the job.

Boston Student Debt Clinic

When: Wednesday, June 26, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Boston City Hall, Civic Pavilion

The Project on Predatory Student Lending will hold a student debt clinic on Wednesday at Boston City Hall for borrowers with federal student loans. This event is designed to help student borrowers navigate the various forms of available repayment plans and trained advisors will be available to help, including with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Registration is required.

Explore the MTA Benefits Member Lounge

The MTA Benefits Member Lounge provides you with customized benefit and discount suggestions to help you save money – all because you’re a member of the MTA. Find your savings.

Summer School for Women in Unions and Worker Organizations

Where: UMass Amherst When: August 5-9

The 47th Annual United Association of Labor Education Northeast Summer School for Women in Unions and Worker Organizations will take place at UMass Amherst. This program only comes to Massachusetts once every five years.

This four-day (bilingual Spanish/English) program brings together hundreds of members, leaders, union staff and worker justice organizations from across the Northeast to develop leadership, create community and strengthen skills.

The theme of this year’s school, “We Who Believe in Freedom: Women Building Power'' focuses on the various ways labor and social justice activists can build power in the current political moment. For information (including on scholarships), please click here.

Political Education

We urge you to take a look at this Massachusetts Budget and Policy Report on the impact of the Legislature and the governor’s failure to cover the huge inflation of the past few years in calculating school funding. It is leaving schools short by nearly $500 million and is a prime reason for the layoffs and strain on most school budgets.

And be sure to bookmark the website of Maurice Cunningham and MassPoliticsProfs.org. Mo, a retired UMass Boston professor, has been dogged in lifting up the rug to see what kind of right-wing muck lies behind organizations, legislation and news reporting (looking at you, Boston Globe).

As Mo recently wrote:

“This year America faces an unprecedented effort to overturn our democracy, led by a convicted felon, adjudicated rapist, and financial fraudster. Backing him is the Heritage Foundation with "Project 2025," a 900-page blueprint for demolishing the federal government and paralyzing efforts to live up to our nation's ideal that ‘All men are created equal.’

“The right has detailed plans to … abolish public schools and replace them with ‘free-market private schools, church schools, and home schools as the normative American practice [emphasis in original].’

He continued: “That's your ‘choice’ – corporate for-profit schools, Christian indoctrination, or homeschool.”

He plans to write this year about the role of dark money and phony ‘moms’ and ‘parents’ groups, as he did recently for The Progressive in “How the Right Exploits ‘Moms’ to Privatize Education.”

His earlier articles include: “Moms for Liberty Was Never About Protecting Kids” and “The Rise and Fall of Moms for Liberty.”

In solidarity,

Max and Deb