O n the afternoon of May 20, MTA members will gather on Boston Common with our sisters and brothers in AFT Massachusetts
and other unions — as well as students, parents and
other community members — to demand the schools
and colleges our communities deserve.
We need you to join us along with your
family, friends, colleagues and neighbors. Our
message: We will not
allow U.S. Secretary
of Education Betsy
Secretary of Education
James Peyser, Education
Donald Trump or
Governor Charlie Baker
to privatize our public
schools, and we will
not let them undermine
our union. Indeed, we
are ready not only to
resist their efforts but to envision, create and fight
for great public schools — preK through higher
education — for every student in Massachusetts.
Across the state — in locals, on campuses and
in school buildings — rank-and-file MTA members
are identifying issues, developing strategies and
organizing to fight for workplace rights and the well-being of students and communities. Our strength
begins in these local struggles and coalitions, but our
ultimate power is realized when we knit together our
community efforts into a statewide movement.
Right after the MTA Annual Meeting of
Delegates ends on May 20, we will do just that.
For too long, we have been playing defense
against a commissioner of education and a secretary
of education who have little respect for educators.
As I write today, our secretary of education has been
fretting in a meeting of the Board of Elementary
and Secondary Education that without the threat of
These times call for far-reaching demands
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and educators) could have an incentive to have
students do poorly on state tests.
This is the kind of distorted thinking that
comes from too many policymakers in our current
environment. It embodies a deep disrespect for the
work of educators. And it leads to the punitive use of
the evaluation system, stressed and anxious students
and educators, and repeated attacks on collective
No more defense. It is time to play offense.
We — educators, students and our communities
— deserve so much more. We deserve well-funded
schools and colleges, respect and professional
autonomy, job security and workplace democracy,
safe schools where every student can flourish, and
communities built on economic and racial justice.
We reject the DeVos/Trump/Chester/
Peyser/Baker agenda: Privatization. Austerity
budgets. More charter schools. Vouchers. Hyper-accountability. Weaponized evaluations. School
and district takeovers. Union busting. Test-focused
curricula. Silencing of educator voices. Attempts
to divide educators, students and the community.
Economic injustice and policymakers’ denial of its
impact on students. Racial injustice in the form of
underfunding and high-stakes standardized tests.
n That every student deserves access to a rich
and varied curriculum, to well-resourced schools and
colleges, and to educators whose work is respected
n That students’ learning conditions are
educators’ working conditions and that strong unions
make for strong schools.
n That the success of our schools, colleges
and universities is tied to the well-being of our
communities — and that when we join in collective
action, we can win not only great public schools but
a better world.
Therefore, we will be gathering on Boston
Common on May 20 to demand:
n Fully funded public education.
n R.E.S.P.E.C. T: Guaranteed educator voice and
n Less testing and more learning.
n Equitable access to high-quality public
education for every student.
n Equal pay for equal work.
n Debt-free public higher education.
n An end to the school-to-prison pipeline.
n That our legislators support the Fair Share
Amendment, the Fight for $15 and paid family and
These are big goals to envision in complicated
and often scary times. They might seem out of
reach to some, but I think these times actually call
for far-reaching demands.
Our victory on Question 2 taught us that the
people of Massachusetts value public education
and have deep respect for educators. We accessed
something profound in people — a belief in the
common good and a commitment to taking care of
I think that these are the strongest elements of
our communities and that our fellow Massachusetts
residents just need our help to find their voice and
their power. Let’s gather on May 20 and use those
voices to sing out loudly, clearly, fiercely and
See you on May 20 on Boston Common.
Future educators gather
for SEAM conference
UMass Boston students Lieu Chau, front left, and Victoria
McKeen, front right, were among dozens of future educators
who gathered at Worcester Technical High School on April
22 for the Student Education Association of Massachusetts’
2017 Pre-Service Teacher Conference. The conference
provided the opportunity for those planning to enter the
profession to learn from experienced educators. Conferees
heard from members of the MTA New Member Committee
and chose from several workshops, including “Understanding
Students with Trauma,” “Difficult Students: Stay Calm and
Know What to Do,” “Inclusion Strategies for New Teachers”
and “Beginning Songwriting for Literacy and Learning.”
Photo by Bob Duffy