The in box. From Massachusetts.

I can’t find a way to contact you directly anymore, Fred; but here’s an update on Stand for Children in Massachusetts. They filed an initiative petition to utterly change evaluations, disembowel the union, punish teachers….the usual…last July. Since then the MTA, despite talk of fighting, has polled the public and members (they do this all the time) and has decided the cause is hopeless, and has been “negotiating” with Stand to “create a legislative solution.”

The initiative petition, approved for the ballot, has 31 portions, including such gems as taking professional status (sorta like what we used to call “tenure”) away from anyone with a part-time job, and “giving Principals the right to refuse involuntary transfers”. It’s filled with holes and dumb ideas. Isee such idiocy as “opportunity” and my state union sees them as “threats” that the polling indicates would pass.

Negotiations are almost done, and only 2 of the 31 points remain…the two worst, that weaken and at times remove collective bargaining rights on certain topics. The MTA Annual Meeting of delegates was asked to approve allowing “contin ued negotiations” (they’re effectively done) and having the Board of Directors approve any resulting “deal”.

They talked about the Edelman video and Illinois, but showed absolutely no awareness that they are doing exactly what he bragged he had done to you folks. Their argument is that the ballot question would be a “10″ loss and they’ve got it down to a “2″ loss, and that’s a victory. I was simply spoiling for a fight over this.

For example, the part time “tenured” teachers are aolmost exclusively– I’d bet 98%– women. Women with babies, job sharing. It’s anti-child and anti-women and it’s an idea from Stand for Children, which doesn’t stand for Children, they stand for the Waltons and the Kochs. I think we’d have the argument; and I have some faith in the MAssachusetts voter once we expose what’s going on. The MTAQ has no faith in the voters; and none in the MTA members they represent. They want to decide what’s good for us; and go get us a solution.

And they won at our Annual Meeting. About 350 to 250 (roughly). The insider apparatchiks prevailed; and the membership (even the activist membership) has been disempowered.

All our enemies have to do is get a crapload of money from the billionaire boy’s club, come up with a plan to attack us, and our unions and organizations fold like origami.

I feel like I wasted a weekend, except for the younger members who came to the Educators for a Democratic Union meeting. They filled the caucus room; they listened; and they’re pissed. The disrespect for young educators, their dedication and their ability to understand union issues is palpable, especially among older folks, and I sat in the retired section and had to listen to that crap. I told them about how I got my younger members to chase the Mayor of my city across the parking lot as he fled our picketing, chanting, “run away! Run away!” during our strike back in 2007. organizing is a lost art, it seems.

I took an old “yes, we can” button, taped over the last word and wrote “surrender” in pen. Got lots of comment. Keep up the fight.

2 Replies to “The in box. From Massachusetts.”

  1. Kudos to the Massachusetts teacher who sent this in. My guess is she will be attending TAG (Teacher Activist Group)-Boston’s 2nd annual Social Justice Education conference this Saturday. At our last meeting Paul Toner, president of the MTA, gave us the song and dance. When asked repeatedly about the plan going forward to fight that corporate attacks on education all he could say is, “Some of our members support Bain Capital”. As a teacher in Boston I am not an MTA member. But AFT-MA is even worse. When there is rhetoric it is always followed by inaction. But REAL teachers aren’t going to stand for this and it is heartening to see that even if our state unions aren’t willing to fight…at least some of us are.

  2. Let’s make it ALL of us, & retired teachers, too. There’s a wonderful, smart group of retired educator in Rockford, IL who formed W.E.E. (Watchdogs for Ethics in Education). By doing their homework–filing FOIA, attending board meetings & taking meticulous notes, talking to actives, parents & other community members, they were instrumental in getting rid of that district’s Broad-educated superintendent, who was wreaking havoc on the district. They also helped when District 205 went on strike.
    Similar sentiments to the brave Massachusetts teacher, as well as to those Amherst ed. students who say “NO” to Pearson. Finally–hope you can get Elizabeth Warren elected.

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