T he past year has been exhilarating, challenging and satisfying — a time in which we have dealt with constant obstacles but also taken
significant strides in organizing and building our
Last fall, the MTA played an important role
in ensuring the election of U.S. Senator Elizabeth
Warren. The outcome
of that vote was
crucial not only
for students and
educators, but also
for everyone else in
The same holds true
of other electoral
those for the State
House, in which the
great majority of
the day, and for the
White House, which
Obama will occupy through another term.
What happened on Election Day, however, is just
part of a larger picture. It stands as one highlight of a
year in which we have been active on many fronts and
have continued to position our organization — both
internally and externally — to meet the needs of our
students and the goals of the MTA Strategic Action
In looking back over the months since the last
Annual Meeting, I feel good about the progress our
union has made. Yet I also have an urgent sense that
we need to redouble our efforts in the months ahead
if we are to achieve what we must for the strength of
our schools, our colleges, our communities and our
state as a whole.
Working together, our members, leaders and
staff have accomplished great things:
Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners
initiative and the steps being taken toward use of the
Common Core curriculum in our schools.
n We have worked with organizations such as
the NAACP, the Union of Minority Neighborhoods,
A pivotal moment for our organization
the Campaign for Our Communities and Jobs with
Justice to build alliances with vital constituencies
and create broad awareness about the principled
positions that MTA members take on behalf of their
n We have advocated forcefully on critical
issues in the media, trumpeting the need for revenues
for public education, expanded learning time and
employment practices that attract and retain first-rate
teachers, higher education faculty and staff, and
education support professionals.
n We have improved our website and advanced
our social media presence while putting in place a
foundation for a bright future in all areas of digital
n We have launched the Education Ambassador
program so that a larger number of members
can spread the word about what is going right in
public education even as they build a case for the
improvements needed to help all students succeed.
n We have put together a compelling case for
legislation enabling early childhood educators
to negotiate for sustainable jobs and adequate
n We have reorganized internally to create a
Training and Professional Learning Division in order
to give greater strategic focus to member training at
leadership meetings across the state, at the Summer
Conference in Williamstown and in numerous other
n We have moved ahead with efforts to expand
the number of full capacity local associations.
n We have continued to engage children and
families in efforts to promote literacy and learning,
including the MTA Red Sox Reading Game.
n We have proudly helped hundreds of students
in need through The Massachusetts Child, our
n We have helped negotiate numerous forward-thinking contracts for educators in both our public
schools and our higher education system.
n We have ably and forthrightly sought justice
for our members in court cases and in proceedings
before the Massachusetts Department of Labor
Relations and the Massachusetts Teachers’
n We have put together meaningful reports
about matters ranging from innovation in the state’s
Gateway Cities to the best ways to address student
outcomes at Massachusetts community colleges.
n We have provided Internet toolkits on numerous
issues to help members play an active part in deciding
questions that affect their students and their work lives.
T hat is a fair sample, though it is far from all the MTA has done in 2012-2013. Moreover, its range and depth point to a well-defined
strategic vision. Each component of the list is a facet
of empowering our union, pushing us ahead in our
transformation to an organizing model, and making
certain that we are recognized as the voice of public
education in Massachusetts.
At the same time, this is a pivotal moment for
the MTA — a period in which we need to take stock
of all we are doing, prepare to drive even harder, and
be certain to capitalize on what is going right while
filtering out areas of effort that are less than essential.
I believe we have set the stage for success.
The key now is to increase our momentum while
ensuring that every decision contributes to it.
Along with many others in the MTA, I am
dedicated to making sure we carry through with our
commitments and help Massachusetts remain at
the forefront of public education, a place we have
occupied with honor for many years.
Strategy, assessment and strict adherence to
intent are the keys to our future — and there is a lot
going on in those areas at MTA headquarters and in
our regional offices throughout the state.
For one thing, we have enacted a streamlined
legislative strategy. Rather than focusing our energies
on a large number of priorities, we have honed
our first-line agenda to include raising adequate
revenues for public education and our communities,
reviving a commission to review the foundation
budget for our schools, creating a legislative task
force to study the needs of public higher education,
increasing the percentage of courses taught by full-time faculty while also providing health insurance
and pension benefits to adjunct faculty members,
working to enact the early childhood educator bill,
and establishing safeguards to improve the statewide
ballot petition process.
Even with a limited agenda, we have our work
cut out for us in the State House. As such, we are
keeping a close eye on every step in the process to
see how we can generate support and win allies for
In looking back over the
months since the last Annual
Meeting, I feel good about
the progress our union has
made. Yet I also have an
urgent sense that we need
to redouble our efforts in the
months ahead if we are to
achieve what we must for the
strength of our schools, our
colleges, our communities and
our state as a whole.