Candidate for MTA President: Janet Anderson
F or more than two decades, hundreds of children passed through my Taunton classrooms. It was one step in their life’s
journey and a chance for me to make a positive
difference — a chance to inspire and give hope to a
child, a community, a society.
But in truth, it’s been my hundreds of students
who have inspired me.
In my 25 years in the classroom, I’ve seen time
and again that public educators in Massachusetts
bring hope — hope to our students, to their families,
and to our communities. And hope for a better future.
But in order for us to continue doing
our important work for the children of this
Commonwealth, we need a more unified and
effective Massachusetts Teachers Association. As
our statewide association, MTA can be our strongest
advocate in helping us create better public education
policy as well as protect and improve our salaries,
benefits, and teaching and learning conditions.
Why I’m Running
My decision to run for President of the
Massachusetts Teachers Association and to challenge
a mid-term President was not made lightly.
Last summer I began campaigning for reelection as MTA Vice President. In October, I was
dismayed to learn the current President had handpicked a candidate for Vice President, as well as a
slate of others for Board of Directors and Executive
Committee races. I decided to run instead for MTA
President because I believe MTA leadership should
work to build solidarity, not tear it down.
I’m running because I am deeply concerned
about the future of MTA, especially in these times
of multi-pronged attacks on public education and
unions. MTA’s future requires a decisive leader
with classroom experience, deep understanding
of the issues, solid relationships with statewide
stakeholders, and a willingness to build real
solidarity among members.
MTA members deserve to have, and I can deliver:
n Input into sensible statewide education policy
n Strong, effective advocacy at all levels
n Leadership that is unafraid to build solidarity
n Leadership that is unafraid to meet our
opponents face to face
n Leadership that is unafraid to bring
our professional knowledge, expertise, and
110,000-member-strong collective power into any
discussion, with any stakeholder
Since 1988, the education landscape has
undergone significant changes. We’ve experienced
changes to our licensure system and now need to be
fingerprinted. We are well-versed in the language of
high-stakes testing, and we are left shaking our heads
at the emerging new field of educational data mining.
Many of these changes are making our jobs
more difficult. Many leave us feeling unappreciated
and disrespected. Many are leading to classroom
practices that ignore the whole child and focus
instead on scores, data, and accountability.
In recent years, our ability to deliver the
promise of public education has been tested more
n Increased demands, but with less funding
n Increased emphasis on data-driven classrooms
n The expansion of charter schools draining
n Relentless attacks on collective bargaining
n Supreme Court cases that threaten unions
In order to create positive change, we need to
be laser-focused, organized, committed, and, most
important, we need to work together, using the
combined expertise of MTA leadership, Executive
Committee, Board of Directors, local leaders, all of
our members, and MTA staff.
Under my Presidency, we will take advantage
of the Every Student Succeeds Act and work
together with policy makers, legislators and other
stakeholders, including parent groups, school
committees, and superintendents, to:
n Eliminate test scores and DDMs as part of
n Eliminate the test and punish elements of the
n Ensure that student assessment is used
judiciously and appropriately
n Stop the expansion of charter schools
n Push for increases in public education funding
n Plan for the loss of agency fee
n Work with higher education leaders to address
adjunct faculty concerns
What I Bring
In order to accomplish our goals and meet our
challenges head-on, we need a leader with strong
negotiation skills, the ability to develop relationships
and work with all stakeholders, and a leader who
understands the issues because she has lived the
I am that leader.
I have a long and proven record of taking strong
stands on important issues. But I also have a long
history of making things happen.
As the President of the Taunton Education
Association, I negotiated many important
I was one of the few urban Presidents who did
not sign on to Race to the Top.
Experience matters. I have it.
And all the while, I’ve maintained positive
relationships with administration, School Committee,
parents, and other key stakeholders in my community.
But the most important experience I bring is 25
years of classroom teaching in an urban district. I
know what we need to do our jobs because I have
done that job since 1988. I know the issues because
I’ve lived the issues. I administered the first MCAS.
I taught in a Level 3 district.
At a Crossroads
We are at a crossroads as an effective, statewide
union. Time is of the essence. I am offering a clear
choice for MTA President.
I commit to rebuilding trust and unity within our
organization, building and maintaining constructive
relationships at the State House, DESE, MASS,
MASC, parent organizations and with all other
stakeholders, and becoming:
Please join me in building the statewide power,
respect, and solidarity of the Massachusetts Teachers
Association by voting for me for MTA President at
Annual Meeting on May 13-14.