Union News: Making the case to end the punitive use of MCAS

Union News: Making the case to end the punitive use of MCAS

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The NEA Representative Assembly begins tomorrow in Philadelphia. However, many of our more than 100 delegates have been there for several days already, participating in meetings and the Racial and Social Justice Conference. With the November general election looming, and organized threats against the very idea of public education, this promises to be an important meeting for the cause of winning the truly public schools our students deserve — that means every student and every school.

This week, in MCAS news, we want to highlight a powerful op-ed written by Executive Committee member Cynthia Roy and parent activist Shelley Scruggs. An educator and a parent together make the case for ending the punitive and educationally destructive use of the MCAS to make high-stakes decisions — like who gets a high school diploma. Please share it widely!

MTA Events, Opportunities and Solidarity Actions

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 this 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, Education Support Professional 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 Aug. 23. Learn more today!

Award-Winning Communications!

Your MTA Communications team (which edits this newsletter, among many other projects on behalf of MTA and our 400 locals) won five awards at the State Education Association Communicators (SEACOMM) Conference last week in Philadelphia, where NEA state affiliate comms teams discussed the latest trends and strategies in labor communications, including what works and what doesn’t, and built connections with each other that will serve them well in their state and local affiliates. For the first time in a long time, the MTA began submitting work across earned media campaigns, social media, video and photography, website and graphic design categories for awards. This newsletter, MTA Union News, won an award of distinction in the photography category for photojournalism.

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 comes to Massachusetts only 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. Learn more, including information on scholarships.

Travel Discounts With MTA Benefits

MTA Benefits and its partner, Access, offer MTA members savings on all aspects of travel, including deep hotel discounts at more than 850,000 locations worldwide and exclusive discounts on car rentals, theme park tickets and flights. Register on the MTA Benefits website and start saving!

School Funding

This spring has been so frustrating, as far too many districts have seen cuts to their educator workforce in the face of underfunding from the state and municipalities. Here’s a good primer on the variety of reasons why districts have faced underfunding.

Political Education

We are becoming increasingly concerned about how our state educator pension funds are being managed and invested, especially with the growing use of risky and expensive private equity funds. Check out this piece, which shows — perhaps to no one’s surprise — that a steady, no-frills investing strategy does better than the one so many public pensions are using.

In solidarity,

Max and Deb