Friday, April 29, 2016
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
- Repealing the mandated use of test scores and District-Determined Measures to create "student impact ratings" for educators.
- Protecting municipal retirees from unreasonable health insurance cost increases.- Increasing funding to honor higher education contract agreements.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
It is more and more likely that the charter issue will be on the ballot this fall. We are organizing with parents, students and our labor allies to #keepthecap. See how you can be involved here. For more information, go here. Our success on this issue will have a huge impact on public education and our members for decades to come.
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
- 25% off list price on most books, music, DVDs, and toys & games for classroom and personal purchase during this week;
- 10% off all NOOK by Samsung tablets;
- 10% off select tech tools
Community Business Development Coordinator
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
392 State Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747
t: 508.997.0701 f: 508.997.1564
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
State senators will vote this week on a bill that addresses the issue of Commonwealth charter schools, and they need to hear from MTA members right away to ensure that public education and the interests of educators and students are protected. Please send a message to your state senator by clicking here.
Here is the background on the MTA's position.
Well-financed supporters of charter school expansion are backing a ballot question that would allow up to 12 new charter schools each year anywhere in the state. The MTA is part of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, a coalition of community groups, parents and unions that came together to take on the many issues challenging our public schools: lack of funding, high-stakes testing, a rigid accountability regime, and Commonwealth charter school expansion. The coalition has organized a campaign called Save Our Public Schools to fight the ballot question.
The MTA supports reform of Commonwealth charter schools, but opposes lifting the cap on charter schools because, among other issues, they drain resources from local districts, leading to the destabilization of public schools. Click here to see how much districts are losing.
Governor Charlie Baker is seeking a legislative compromise to avoid a ballot fight in the November election. A group of senators appointed by Senate President Stanley Rosenberg unveiled a bill last week that includes some Commonwealth charter school reforms, but also includes a cap lift tied to funding and expanded state intervention through the school accountability system.
While many of the proposed reforms and potential funding increases are long overdue, the cap lift and school accountability measures included in their proposal are unacceptable.
Given the reaction of charter proponents to the bill, it is clear that some of these reforms would help level the playing field. As the bill moves through the legislative process, however, we need to make sure that any cap lift compromise is ultimately defeated.
All this makes it crucial that state senators hear from MTA members today.
Please click here to join your fellow MTA members in making our voices heard.
Monday, April 4, 2016
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Thursday, March 24, 2016
In this area, of course, we have been doing some heavy lifting. Four years ago, we were on the brink of state takeover, and since then, the school administration has laid an extensive foundation for reform and renewal. And objective measures of success are appearing. The dropout rate has fallen to the lowest point in fifteen years, and last year, student test scores grew faster than the state average – a remarkable feat given the relative wealth of our community. The superintendant, her team, teachers, and the school committee deserve tremendous credit for setting the district on the right path.
There is still much work to do. As the district moves forward, it can’t lose sight of the building blocks of reform. Successful school systems have a culture of respect and high standards of personal conduct, where student safety is not even an issue. A positive school climate is a fundamental prerequisite to educational attainment. All the other improvements that are underway: more rigorous instruction, expanded learning time, new technological tools, and so forth, won’t be effective if classrooms are orderly and focused on learning.
The news of disruptive student behavior, or worse, at Keith Middle School, is very troubling. The problem is real, and it reflects poorly not just on Keith, but on the entire school district.
But more importantly, discipline problems should be in the rearview mirror by now. When it comes to discipline, the school administration must not take its eye off the ball. This is a solvable problem, and I say to parents out there the school committee expects it to be fixed. Your children will get the education they deserve – in the environment they deserve."
"Our schools still have a way to go."
"All of this is only part of the effort to create opportunity in our city. To be successful, a city must create pathways for its residents to reach their full potential. More than anything else, that means we must offer our city’s children a public school education that enables them to thrive as adults.
Our schools have come a long way in the last four years. The days when hiring was based on whom you knew, and when the needs of adults were put before children, are in the rearview mirror.
We have a school system now that is clear in its academic goals, manages taxpayer dollars reliably, and has raised the standard by which we judge academic success. We have two new schools underway, new technology upgrades, new textbooks for the first time in years, and new ways of instructing second language and special education students.
And perhaps most importantly, the school system now holds itself accountable. Just like in the private sector, everyone in the system is expected to perform, and evaluations are very real. Everyone must do their job now, and do it well.
The profound changes in our schools have been difficult, but absolutely necessary, given where we were four years ago. We knew this wasn’t going to be an overnight exercise, but it’s clear now that the hard work of reform is taking hold. The acceleration of test scores and the falling dropout rate are themselves encouraging, but so is the reaction of the state Department of Education, which was threatening to take over our schools back then, and now is saying they are on the right track.
But the biggest difference is the customer feedback. Surveys show that the overwhelming number of parents believe that the system is heading in the right direction.
There is still much work to do. What’s needed is a persistent commitment to the new practices and systems in place. We can’t tap brakes on reform. It is working.
That said, sustained improvement will take root only when those technical reforms are combined with a school culture that acknowledges and validates the hard work of teachers. People in every line of work should be expected to work hard. There is no substitute for hard work. But no one can be at their best if they feel constantly pushed. Pressure cooker work environments are prone to backfiring.
Hard work and job satisfaction can co-exist, and if our efforts are ultimately to succeed, they must."
Click here to read the entire statement