highlighted the increased funding that
UMass has received over the past few
years and disputed Caret’s contention
that money for the full amount of the
raises was not available.
Phillis also criticized claims that
paying the contracts would force
UMass to raise student fees. He pointed
out that the UMass budget has enough
money available to both cover the
contracts and maintain a freeze on fees.
He accused Caret of simply choosing to
use the budget for other expenses. The
situation is “unfair and unreasonable,
pitting university constituencies
against each other,” Phillis said.
Members of the MSP, PSU and
other bargaining units attended the
meeting and helped deliver hundreds
of postcards to the board members.
The cards — filled out at various
campus rallies in March and April
and carrying the message “A Deal’s
a Deal” — urged the trustees to
implement the ratified contracts and
settle the PSU contract.
Additional actions are planned until
the contracts are fully implemented and
the PSU contract is settled.
Continued from Page 10
UMass employees seek
fairness on contracts
Opposition to TS GOLD keeps growing
K indergarten teachers required to implement the Teaching Strategies GOLD kindergarten
assessment are speaking out against the
TS GOLD is used in all but six of
the 171 school districts implementing
a new assessment in exchange for
receiving state Quality Full-Day
Kindergarten Grant funds.
Marguerite Foster-Franklin, a
kindergarten teacher in Springfield,
organized a meeting on March 30 at
which 20 teachers met with Senator
James Welch and Representatives
Angelo Puppolo, Carlos Gonzalez and
Eric Lesser to express their concerns.
They asked the legislators to take
action to decouple the TS GOLD
requirement from the Quality Full-Day
Kindergarten Grant program.
The next day, 42 teachers from
14 local associations held a regional
forum on TS GOLD in Dedham at
which they discussed why putting
another assessment on top of those
they already do is not helpful.
Members also expressed concerns
about the privacy implications of
uploading photos, videos and personal
information about their young students
to a private company’s website without
explicit parental permission.
In Stoughton, the school
superintendent said after meeting with
teachers that she will write a letter to
state education officials urging them to
drop the mandate.
On April 7, Somerville Teachers
Association members voted
unanimously at their annual meeting
for a resolution calling for an end to
the requirement. The vote was the
culmination of several meetings on the
issue involving STA members, parents
and central administration officials.
“TS GOLD is a time-consuming
and intrusive mandate that is not
providing our teachers with any new
information about their students,” said
Jackie Lawrence, president of the STA.
The STA’s opposition was
echoed in a letter that Somerville
Superintendent Anthony Pierantozzi
sent to the commissioner of education
after he heard from teachers about
their concerns. His letter notes
that there is a “breakdown of trust
between parents/guardians and
teachers” because of the TS GOLD
data collection requirements.
The requirement stems from a
federal Race to the Top Early Learning
Challenge grant that Massachusetts
applied for and received three years
Under TS GOLD, teachers have
to develop ratings on 19 behaviors
or skills in two domains this year —
Social/Emotional and Cognitive. They
must document their ratings and enter
data at two different checkpoints,
the next of which is June 5. The
process can include photographing or
videotaping students and uploading
those images and behavior reports to
the TS GOLD website.
Next year, the requirement
is slated to become even more
burdensome, with a total of 66 ratings
required in 10 domains.
More information about TS
GOLD and the MKEA can be found at
She said that her school has
eliminated licensed librarians and
curriculum coordinators over the
past decade and now has fewer
guidance counselors and education
support professionals. There are no
aides for recess or lunch, class sizes
have increased, and funding has
been cut for supplies. She said her
school’s technology is inadequate.
Clare Hammonds, a professor
at the UMass Amherst Labor
Center, testified that “a major result
of the reduced investment in public
higher education over the last
decade is that our students take on
What this often means, she
said, is “the choice between
preparing for class and picking up
an extra shift at work. It means
the choice between not attending
school at all and taking on massive
amounts of debt.”
For budget updates, please visit
Failure to invest
has major impact
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