Monday, November 23, 2015
Friday, November 20, 2015
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Sunday, November 15, 2015
There is NEWS this month that you can use today! And later this week. I hope you do. We are seeing results from our efforts and we need to continue to let our legislators and the Board of Education know that we are watching what they do and we have opinions about it….and we vote.
#1- Board of Education hearing on Monday, November 16 about PARCC. Our message about testing has been heard…a little. There is some movement away from PARCC…and that is good, BUT now the Board wants to experiment with a PARCC-like version of MCAS. Call it MCAS 2.0 Students and teachers need a moratorium from all this testing until we figure out exactly why we are giving all these tests and what we are doing with the results…Go HERE to send a message to members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education: NO to PARCC. NO to MCAS 2.0. YES to a moratorium on high-stakes testing. Please send your e-mails TODAY. Feel free to elaborate on the message we've developed to describe your own experiences with PARCC and high-stakes testing.
#2 – Massachusetts Teachers Retirement System Election- By November 17 of this week, you should have received your ballot to elect two representatives to the MTRS to represent teachers. MTA is recommending Dennis Naughton and Jackie Gorrie. Both are long time advocates of teachers and ARE retired teachers themselves. Electronic voting is possible for the first time this year, information about electronic voting is included on the ballot. Members who submit ballots by mail should mail them by December 5 so that they reach the Texas vender by December 10.Electronic voting can be done until December 10.
#3- Teletown Hall on Monday, November 30 at 7PM with President Madeloni. The topic will be the 2016 elections. More information about how to get on the call will be forthcoming in the days ahead. MTA has asked each Senate District to get 10 people from the district to commit to listening in on the call. CAN YOU????
#4- THANK YOU! MTA members rallied to collect enough signatures to help put the Raise Up Massachusetts constitutional amendment on the ballot… (this is the petition about the tax on adjusted income over $1 million). More to come on that in 2016.
#5- Charter Schools: The battle continues. Charter school advocates have obtained enough signatures to place expansion of charters on the ballot. This is NOT good news. Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance a pro-public education coalition of which MTA is a member has sent a letter to state senators urging them to vote against yet another compromise. Go here for a copy of the letter and here to read an article in The Boston Globe about it. MTA’s bill: S-326 would place a 3 year moratorium on charter school expansion and would require all teachers hired by Commonwealth Charters to obtain a teaching license – continues to sit in committee. All of us will need to do much more in the months ahead to let the public know how detrimental charters are to traditional public education and where tax funds for schools are being diverted.
#6- Recommended Reading - MTA is encouraging members to read the book: The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools? By Dale Russakoff. If you would like to read it and want a free copy, contact Ari Mercado at the MTA. Give her your name, address (to send the book) and your local association. Phone # 800-392-6175; extension #8216. Or send an email: email@example.com
And finally, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and thanks for what you do each and every day to help our students and teachers and retirees….
James H Quaintance
Massachusettes Teachers Association
Senate District Coordinator
Second Bristol Plymouth- Senator Mark Montigny
ESEA agreement nears, conference committee meets Wednesday
Almost 14 years since the signing of No Child Left Behind, Congress is literally now within sight of ending that broken era. After weeks of negotiations, Senate and House education committee leaders announced Friday they have a framework on a final ESEA reauthorization bill. Conference committee members are expected to be appointed Monday, with a formal meeting by Wednesday, and votes in the House and Senate by the week of November 30th. The incredible year-long advocacy by educators hasbrought Congress close to ending the broken No Child Left Behind era. NEA President Lily Eskelsen García applauded the next steps toward reauthorization. Keep the pressure on until both chambers have passed a bill that provides all students with more opportunity and time to learn. Click on the “take action” button to urge Congress to finish ESEA and get it right.
Urge Congress to increase funding for students most in need
Negotiations over an end-of-year bill to fund the government continue. Now that overall funding levels have been raised in the recent budget agreement, it is time to push for a larger share for the students most in need. Congress must put together an“omnibus” appropriations/funding bill by December 11th, when current funding expires. Students have been short changed for years and it’s got to stop! Click on the “take action” button to urge Congress to invest more heavily in programs for the students most in need— like Title I, IDEA, and early childhood education.
Tell senators to oppose DC voucher program renewal
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is expected to soon mark up a bill to extend Washington DC’s private school voucher program. Click on the “take action” button to urge your senators to vote NO on the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (S. 2171), which funds the DC voucher program, which ignores the needs of public school students and diverts resources that should strengthen public schools.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Friday, October 30, 2015
Is the New Bedford Public School district making progress and heading in the right direction? ... By Carol Strupczewski
From the data found on the Mass. DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) website, it appears to me that the district shows very little progress since Mayor Mitchelltook office in 2012.
If the district is, according to the Mayor, making progress and heading in the right direction, ask yourself the following questions:
Why did Pacheco School drop from a Level 1 status to Level 2in 2014?
Why did the high school go from a Level 3 status to Level 4 (underperforming) in 2013 under the leadership of the superintendent and his administration?
Why did Parker School go from a Level 4 status to Level 5 in 2013 and is now in receivership?
Why did the superintendent, mayor, and School Committee close Kempton School which was a Level 1 school when it was closed to save a few dollars?
Why is the district having a difficult time with teacher retention?
Since July 2013 to present approximately 250 teachers have resigned or retired. Since the summer of 2015, 40 teachers have left the district. Don’t forget a number of teachers were RIF (Reduction in Workforce) during that period.
Why are principals and assistant principals leaving the district? Today about 20 have either retired or resigned?
Why are there unfilled positions throughout the district? At the school committee meeting on Monday, October 19, it was mentioned by the Personnel Director that there are 6 elementary, 5 middle schools, and 7 high school unfilled positions.
Why haven’t the MCAS scores improved significantly? The Report Card for the district from the DESE website indicates the following from 2012-14: NB’s ELA range 46, 44, 45% compared to state average of 69% for years; Math for district range 35, 36, 38% compared to state average 59, 61, 60%; and Science 22, 25, 29% compared to state average of 53, 54, 55%. (Check out the data from Mass. DESE.)
Why is New Bedford High School lagging well below the state average? The high school’s Report Card is as follows from 2012-14: ELA 66, 76, 67% compared to state average of 89, 92, 90%; Math 44, 49, 41% compared to state average of 79, 80, 79%; and Science 31, 38, 38% compared to the state average of 70, 72, 71%. (Data from DESE.)
Why has the high school had a significant drop in the enrollment of students from Acushnet?
Why didn’t Mayor Mitchell, School Committee, and Superintendent Durkin show outrage at the first act of violence in the district in 2013-14 school year? Why wasn’t this curbed at the beginning of the academic year? There were numerous acts of violence the entire year.
Why did Superintendent Durkin, Mayor Mitchell, and School Committee approve cancelling bus routes for children that had to walk on extremely busy streets without sidewalks to save a few dollars?
The question now is, after reading all of the above, do you think our district is heading in the right direction and making progress? As for myself, my answer is a resounding NO! The data cannot be disputed.
Our school district is taking the same voyage as the Wander the last whaling ship to leave New Bedford harbor in 1920s only to run aground.