Union News: 35,000 Signatures for MCAS Ballot Campaign

Union News: 35,000 Signatures for MCAS Ballot Campaign


Our MCAS ballot campaign to end the use of the MCAS as a graduation requirement, and replace it with a renewed focus on classroom learning and our state’s high learning standards, is off and running. Check out our press release celebrating your incredible work in getting 35,000 more signatures in support of this effort, a growing list of states that are joining the movement to stop this use of high-stakes testing, and organizations that are endorsing the campaign.

For most of you, school is out – right before the arrival of this big heat wave. But far too many educators and students may be entering schools with classroom temperatures of 90 degrees and above. Your school can make the decision to close if it is unhealthy for students and educators. After June 1, that day (or those days) does not need to be made up. Over the long term, we have to bring improvements to our schools, including air conditioning, as temperatures are going to continue to rise. 

We as a union have won nearly a billion additional dollars, per year, for school repairs, via the Student Opportunity Act and other state budget advocacy. But we have a long way to go. Fortunately, the federal government, through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is providing access to help schools defray the cost of clean energy equipment that can promote health, sustainability and efficiency. Funding is available until at least 2032, and there are no limits on the amount of money requested, or how often a school can apply. Examples of eligible technology include ground-source heat pumps, solar power, energy storage, electric school buses and charging equipment. 

For more information about the federal program, including examples of how schools have used IRA funds, please click here. And check out a recent story about how Natick is taking advantage of this gold mine of funds. 

Let’s also celebrate the big Braintree override victory – and note that Melrose is voting today.

MTA Events

MTA Summer Conference

When: July 28-31
Where: UMass Amherst

There's less than a month left to sign up for free, early-bird registration for Summer Conference. After July 11, UMass will charge all new registrants $40 in addition to the cost of housing and meals. Don't miss out on the dozens of workshops, refreshed social events, group activities and more. Learn more and register.

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!

Congratulations to the Virginia Education Association! 

The results are in, and the Fairfax Education Unions – an NEA/AFT alliance of education unions – has overwhelmingly won the recognition elections to represent 27,000 instructional and operational employees of the Fairfax County, Virginia public schools! Nearly 11,000 eligible employees cast votes. Eighty-one percent of the operational unit voted in favor of the union. And a stunning 97 percent of the instructional unit voted yes. Thank you to the individuals (including NEA Director Deb Gesualo) from many affiliates and the NEA who assisted in this incredible success. On to bargaining a strong contract.

Political Education 

June 21 marks the 50th anniversary of the “Garrity decision,” when U.S. District Judge Arthur Garrity Jr. determined that the Boston School Committee had unconstitutionally preserved segregation in the Boston Public Schools. He ordered a system of busing to desegregate the schools, leading to some of the most contentious battles in the city’s history, including violence toward African American schoolchildren who were taken by bus to attend schools in largely white districts. 

Please join (in person or on Zoom) in a 50th anniversary event on Thursday, at 3 p.m.  More events will take place over the summer and into the fall. You can register for this Thursday’s event, and learn about all the events at www.bostondesegregation.org/events.

For summer reading, we urge you to pick up J. Anthony Lukas’ “Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families.” 

PBS also released a powerful documentary about this era. 

Finally, as a reminder of how persistent and entrenched segregation in Massachusetts remains, here is a recent report documenting the impact of the abandonment of desegregation efforts that began in the 1970s.

In solidarity,

Max and Deb