Friday, June 26, 2015
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Saturday, June 20, 2015
I am in support of H340, An Act relative to a moratorium on high stakes testing and PARCC ... By Lori Silveira
Joint Committee on Education
State House Room, 111
Boston, MA 02133
Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch, Chair
Joint Committee on Education
State House, Room 473G
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Madame Chairs:
I apologize for not having time to craft perhaps more compelling testimony, but I’ve been proctoring tests this week. At this very moment, my fourth-grade class may be finishing its final District Benchmark testing session. Here are some testing totals you may find alarming:
Districtwide Test Sessions _16__
PARCC Test Sessions __8___
Now, we’ve all heard the claims that these tests only disrupt part of the day, part of a building, or other minimizing comments. As a teacher in a public school building that is over one hundred years old, I can tell you our entire school is impacted. We all tiptoe around, avoid bathroom use, reschedule the little time our students have for art, music, physical education or outdoor time. Test-takers with accommodations move to spaces all over the building. Then we have the makeup sessions for those that were absent. Field Trips have become too difficult to schedule around all the testing.
Many teachers remember when elementary students would greet them with, “Do we have gym today?” or “Do we have art today?” Now the most frequently asked question is, “Do we have a test today?” And too frequently the answer has been YES. Any school expects to have a certain amount of tension during testing season, but now it’s always testing season.
After all these years we can still match scores to ZIP codes. This can’t be about teacher effectiveness. We need the task force to examine the Commonwealth’s high-stakes testing culture. Districts like mine must be released from the testing stranglehold.
Less Testing More Learning!
I am in support of H340, An Act relative to a moratorium on high stakes testing and PARCC, filed by Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), and request the committee report it favorably from committee as soon as possible.
New Bedford Educators Association
cc: Joint Committee on Education Members & Staff
Sen. Patricia Jehlen, Vice Chair
Rep. Danielle Gregoire, Vice Chair
|Scott Lang addresses the Education Committee members.|
Friday, June 19, 2015
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Monday, June 15, 2015
What an inspiring and energizing week we had. Last week showed me that you, our members, want to be heard and are ready to act.
Thousands engage in Week of Action
The Week of Action for Less Testing/More Learning engaged thousands of members. From wearing stickers to getting up before sunrise to testify at the State House, we worked effectively with the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance to deliver the message to key legislators and state education officials that too much testing is hurting our students and schools. Click here for an article about the week and photos, here for more information about the testing issue, and here for information about the MEJA.
But - and you knew this was coming - this was just a start. We are going to have to work hard at the local, state and national levels to bring down the corporate-driven testing machine. Fortunately, we are joined by educators throughout the country and by parents, other unions and community organizations here in Massachusetts.
What's next? Join Thursday's Telephone Town Hall to share ideas
We are having another Telephone Town Hall from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, to hear about what you and other members did in your local for the Week of Action. What worked well, and what could have worked better? We want to hear your ideas about effective next steps and how the MTA can support your efforts.
Please answer your phone if it rings close to 7 p.m. on Thursday, and stay on the line to participate. If you don't get a call, please call in to the town hall as follows:
Call-in number: 855.756.7520
Access code [when prompted]: 28993#
Jump-Start Your Union book groups
Students have summer reading to do, and so should we! We are encouraging members to form book groups and commit to reading and discussing an excellent book that provides practical advice to teacher union members along with a broader vision: How to Jump-Start Your Union: Lesson from the Chicago Teachers. Here's a summary: "[This book] tells how activists transformed their union and gave members hope. Readers will learn how to run for office, work with their communities, build a stewards' network, train new leaders, run a contract campaign and strike." You can read about the book here. We will make free copies available to members who form book groups this summer. These groups can be within a district or across several districts. Please contact Ari Mercado at email@example.com for copies of the book. Let her know how many copies are needed. At the end of the summer, we will collect information from the discussion groups to find out what lessons you learned and whether this book was helpful.
Support our adjuncts and higher education faculty on June 17
Wednesday is a big day for higher education advocacy. Come to the Joint Committee on Higher Education hearing at 11 a.m. in Room A-2 of the State House to show your support for public higher education adjuncts and full-time faculty. Advocate for House Bill 1055, An Act to Invest in Higher Education Faculty. This MTA priority bill would, among other things, allow adjuncts to be eligible for the same health care and pension benefits as tenure-track faculty members based on a cumulative workload at public higher education institutions and require public colleges and universities to use more full-time, tenure-track faculty.
On that same day, union representatives from UMass will be at the UMass Board of Trustees' meeting pushing for the back pay that faculty and staff have been promised but have not yet received. They will be presenting this petition. If you are a preK-12 member, signing the petition is a great way to show your support for our UMass members.
In solidarity, and in anticipation of many great things to come,
This new program is designed to provide a space for teams of three or more from MTA locals and committees to consider and plan strategies to shift to an organizational model that:
Participants in this program will work with peers to understand the changing face of public education and the often confusing world of educational policy and legislation that affects them as classroom teachers and school-based educators. There will be an opportunity to learn about different approaches to collective bargaining and participate in a mock negotiating session.