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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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