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  • 1. Boston, MA 02111 Suite 402 38 Chauncy Street AFT Massachusetts April 2012Lawrence: ‘City of Promise’O n an unseasonably warm spring day, five Lawrence community leaders have gathered to talkabout the current state of their city.Despite the myriad challenges facingthe Merrimack Valley city—highunemployment, struggling schools,perpetual political crises—the talk onthis afternoon is undeniably hopeful.The leaders’ optimism stands inmarked contrast to a controversialrecent Boston Magazine articleentitled “City of the Damned,” thatpainted Lawrence as a cesspool ofdrugs, crime and corruption. The article prompted a full-scalebacklash among Lawrence residents, In This Issueand led to a protest march and rallycalled “We are Lawrence.” Explains SIGNS OF SPRING Lawrence community leaders (from left): Milagro Grullón, Victor Jarvis, Jasiela Chaves and Jules Abel.The leaders say that despite its well-Milagro Grullón, executive Ddirector publicized struggles, there is much to be hopeful about in Lawrence these days.of Lawrence Community Connections:“People have a perception of Lawrence Yet despite the air of uncertainty Teachers Union to engage parents in 2 President’s Columnand the article merely affirmed that that pervades the hallways and a conversation about the future of theperception. It’s up to us to get the real classrooms of the Lawrence schools, the takeover was viewed by many here city’s schools. Victor Jarvis, pastor of the Ebenezer Christian Church 4 Diary of a New Teacher: Thestory of our city out, all the way down Mysteries of middle schoolto our neighbors,” says Grullón. “This as an opportunity to strengthen the and the human rights commissioneris what our city is about.” city itself. “Our schools are the key to for the City of Lawrence, has been TEACH comes to town a better future for all of the children helping to survey local parentsTransformation time of Lawrence,” says Frank McLaughlin, who attend his church about their 5 Portrait of a letter writer: Latin teacher Mike Maguire There is no doubt that Lawrence president of the Lawrence Teachers ideas for strengthening the schools.stands at a juncture of significantchange these days. Late last year, the Union. “By transforming our schools, we can help to transform Lawrence.” One common theme, says Jarvis: Lawrence schools must do a better 6 On Campus: In a tough economy, college for all is astate took over the Lawrence Public job of mirroring the diversity of the worthy goalSchools, leaving the fate of students, City of challenge city itself. “This city is special. Weparents and teachers unclear. The Community leaders like Ms. have different races and cultures 7 Retiree Corner The Golden Apple: a retiredstate-appointed receiver, Jeff Riley, Grullón say they are hopeful about amalgamated together—we arewill announce personnel changes the changes taking place in the Lawrence,” says Jarvis. teacher wakes up and getsalong with plans to restructure many schools, particularly new efforts by If the schools are to succeed in activeof the schools later this year. administrators and the Lawrence Continued on page 8For Lexington Employees, A Healthy OutcomeT he 40 members of the Carey supervisor Peggy Memorial Library Staff Bateston. “We Association in Lexington could learned prettyeasily have found their collective quickly howvoices drowned out during a recent important it was to If you’d like to receive andebate over how best to reshape their really think things electronic version of thetown’s health plan. After all, the public through and ask a lot Advocate, send an email toemployee committee in which the of questions.”librarians participated also included Donovan came advocate@aftma.net. PleaseLexington’s teachers, firefighters and away from the include your home mailingpolice officers. But instead of taking process convinced address for identification.a back seat, the librarians spoke that librarians haveup, playing an essential role in the a unique role to playemployees’ decision regarding how best in the negotiations Did you know that yourto meet their own health care needs which, because of AFT MA membershipwhile recognizing the town’s cost- health insurance entitles you to discountssavings goal. reform legislation At first the process seemed passed last summer QUICK STUDIES Lexington librarians Peggy Bateson on insurance products?daunting—even overwhelming, on Beacon Hill, are (left) and Margaret Donovan played a key role in recent For more information visitrecalls Margaret Donovan, head of taking place across negotiations in that town over health insurance changes. the benefits page of ourtechnology at the Carey Memorial the Commonwealth. Says Donovan: “It all came down to information—Library and chair of the librarian union “It all comes down something that librarians know plenty about.” website:there. “Everything to do with health to information— Commission (GIC), or making changes www.aftma.net/member-insurance is incredibly complicated and that’s what we specialize in as to existing plans in an effort to realize benefits/and the stakes were very high,” says librarians,” says Donovan. Under cost savings. Cities and towns mayDonovan, who participated in the the state’s new health insurance law, also bargain over such changes with apublic employee coalition meetings cities and towns have the option of coalition of municipal employees, aswith co-worker and circulation joining the state’s Group Insurance was the case in Lexington. Continued on page 3
  • 2. BOLD policy issue that the state has refused to deal with before the voters is one thing, but this is not the case where Stand’s proposal is concerned. As noted, the PRINT Thomas J. Gosnell group was very much involved in the changes to the evaluation procedures. President, AFT Massachusetts If the new system is not working when TV Time Turn on Channel 7 in the Boston area on fully implemented, interested parties, April 8th and you’ll catch a glimpse of Boston including Stand, should utilize theStanding up for Children teacher Yvonne Lamothe. Lamothe, who state’s deliberative legislative and teaches visual arts in the Boston Public regulatory processes to seek further Schools, will appear on Urban Update, changes. Using an initiative petition which is broadcast on Sunday morningsNote: the following letter was sent because their teachers are great. Now is to strong-arm legislators and voters is on WHDH immediately following Meetto Democratic town, ward, and city not the time to switch gears. not the answer for our students or our the Press. Lamothe recently took to thechairs in response to a letter which The Stand initiative has been sent future. airwaves in order to discuss “TEACH,” theStand for Children sent them. to the Legislature by the Secretary of We, as leaders of the Massachusetts documentary about teaching that she and her State, given a bill number of H 3883, Democratic Party, the Massachusetts husband Bob created. (See article on page 4).Dear Democratic party activist: and referred to the Joint Committee AFL-CIO, the American Federation The feature -ength documentary will get itsWe believe you may recently have on Education. We ask you to urge first official Boston screening on April 16th at of Teachers Massachusetts, and thereceived a letter from a group called your legislators to reject this proposal the Loews Cineplex on Boston Common. Massachusetts Teachers Association,Stand for Children concerning an and to call on the proponents to are far from alone in taking a strong    initiative it is sponsoring on the withdraw their petition and support position against Stand’s ill-conceivedNovember ballot. We feel this letter is the implementation of the state’s new Legal Eagles attempt to change education in thispart of an effort to sell an ill-advised teacher evaluation system, which The verdict is in and two Lowell middle manner. Many other organizationsproposal and does so in language was developed through extensive school teachers who have been helping join us in opposing this unnecessary their students learn about the legal systemthat is designed to put it in terms collaboration among educators, and divisive initiative, including are officially guilty—of being outstandingattractive to Democrats. Because there parents, advocates of all types, and Arise for Social Justice, Citizens for teachers. Sue MacLeod and Cathieis another side to this story, we write state and local officials. Our concerns Public Schools, the Massachusetts Watkins, both teachers at Lowell’sto you today to urge you to reject this focus on the students of Massachusetts, Administrators for Special Education, Robinson Middle School, created a mockpath. number one in America, and it’s who are not well served by the Stand the Massachusetts Association trial scenario for their students that includednot by accident. It’s because excellent ballot initiative. for Supervision and Curriculum local attorneys and a real live judge.Theteachers work with students who are In its statements, Stand has Development, the Massachusetts after-school program was funded by a 21stsupported by families and communities distorted the truth about the progress Elementary School Principals’ Century Community Learning Centerswho help them succeed. Where changes that has been made toward establishing Association, Massachusetts Jobs Grant. On March 23, the teachers traveledare needed, Massachusetts has led the a rigorous and fair teacher evaluation with their students into Boston to see a real with Justice, the Massachusettsway – with teachers and their unions at system in our Commonwealth. In fact, mock trial put on by the Massachusetts Bar Parent Teacher Association, thethe table so that the voices of those in representatives of the group were a Association. A longer article about MacLeod, Massachusetts Organization of Watkins and the Robinson ‘legal eagles’ willthe classroom are helping to guide the part of the process that created the Educational Collaboratives, the appear in the May issue of the Advocate.discussion. It’s working. very system they now want to change. Massachusetts Reading Association, We’ve seen the results in other They falsely claim that the new process the Massachusetts School Library    states where right-wing Republicans is only a recommendation. It is based Association, the Massachusettshave forced their failed ideology on on a plan passed by the Board of Trivial Pursuits Secondary School Administrators’ The Lynn Teachers Union has come upvoters or rammed through bumper- Elementary and Secondary Education Association, the New England Jewish with a fun-filled way to boost morale andsticker ballot initiatives to try to impose that requires all school districts to Labor Committee, and the Union of encourage new member participation. Ona “solution.” It is clear those efforts implement the new system. That Minority Neighborhoods. We are also April 12th, the LTU will host its first everhave gone too far. Massachusetts began last fall, and the new approach joined by educational leaders such trivia night.The theme: “Are you smarterstudents succeed in large measure will be in place in every school district as Susan Moore Johnson and Robert than a principal?” Teams of teachers and by 2014. The evaluation tool, which Schwartz, professors at the Harvard paraprofessionals from the Lynn schools will encompasses MCAS test scores and Graduate School of Education; Jon answer questions about everything from pop other measures, will be used for Saphier, president of Research for culture, politics and sports to the history personnel decisions that support our of their unique city.The top teams will win Better Teaching, Inc.; Sue Freedman, common goals: providing a great prizes and, most importantly, bragging rights. director of the RTTT Human Resource The official publication of education to every student and having For more information and to sign up, visit Pilot Project, Working Group for www.lynnteachersunion.org. AFT Massachusetts, AFL-CIO an excellent teacher in every classroom. Educator Excellence; and three recent This is one of many reasons you and Massachusetts Teachers of the Year.     Thomas J. Gosnell, President everyone you know are urged to reject For more information about the Top Honors Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer the Stand initiative. Three professors at UMass Dartmouth damage the Stand ballot initiative VICE PRESIDENTS Secretary of Education Paul would cause, please go to: www. have been honored by the National Science Reville said in November 2011: “I fear Foundation with the highly prestigious Patricia Armstrong massteacher.org/stand or to www. that the ballot initiative would set Early Faculty Career Development Awards. Deborah Blinder aftma.net. up a distracting and divisive battle, The faculty members, who will share a Sean Bowker Don’t be fooled. In the interest Kathryn Chamberlain engendering an over-simplified public combined $1 million in grant money, were of helping to ensure a high-quality recognized for research which has the Brenda Chaney dialogue that would alienate educators Kathy Delaney education for every student, we urge potential to revolutionize their fields.The and prevent us from achieving a variety you to ask your legislators to reject H Catherine Deveney UMass Dartmouth honorees, all members Patricia Driscoll of reform goals.” 3883 and call on Stand to immediately of the Faculty Federation at that school, Marianne Dumont Secretary Reville’s comment withdraw its initiative petition. include Katja Haltta-Otto, Department J. Michael Earle addresses both the progress we have of Mechanical Engineering; Chandra Sincerely, Margaret Farrell made and the dangers of the Stand Orrill, Kaput Center; and Nima Rahbar, Mary Ferriter John Walsh initiative. The new teacher evaluation Chair Department of Civil and Environmental Jenna Fitzgerald Richard Flaherty process is designed to put in place Massachusetts Democratic Party Engineering. Congratulations to all on this Paul Georges a thorough system of accountability outstanding achievement! Alice M. Gunning for educators, schools, and districts. Thomas Gosnell Daniel Haacker     Moreover, policy changes in education President Joyce Harrington AFT Massachusetts should not be brought about by Wanted: New Teachers Susan Leahy Francis McLaughlin gimmicky slogans designed to make The Advocate is seeking new teachers Paul Toner and paraprofessionals to contribute to Bruce Nelson complex issues seem simple. Yet Catherine Patten President the 2012-2013 New Teacher Diary. that is exactly the course that Stand James Philip Massachusetts Teachers Association Contributors receive $300 per column and is taking by asking voters to provide Bruce Sparfven the opportunity to write for a statewide it with a quick political victory that Richard Stutman Steve Tolman audience of more than 25,000 public school Gale Thomas would not improve public education President educators, librarians and public higher in Massachusetts. Stand’s proposal is education faculty. Past contributors have Jennifer C. Berkshire, Editor Massachusetts AFL-CIO extremely long and hard to understand. even won national recognition from the 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 The initiative includes 11 sections American Federation of Teachers.To be Boston, Mass. 02111 Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 making changes to many different state considered, applicants must have five or Fax: 617-423-0174 laws. On Election Day, a voter can only fewer years in the classroom. Send inquiries www.aftma.net give a yes or no answer. to jberkshire@aftma.net. 2 advocate@aftma.net It is worth noting that putting a
  • 3. Healthy Outcome in Lexington The power of knowledge Donovan and Bateson also made Continued from cover rather than implementing changes sure that the other members of the library staff association were up to The ABC’s of Health AFT Massachusetts field unilaterally. He agreed, recallsrepresentative and municipal health Bateson, stating that the town was speed on the complex issues before Insurance Bargaininginsurance expert Andy Powell, who them, holding weekly ‘briefing’ open to any approach that wouldworked with the Lexington librarians, help it meet the goal of saving $4 meetings at the library that included Partner upsays that the experience of the new recent retirees. Nor did they sugar If you are not yet working in coalition million. The town’s willingness to coat the changes that were being with other public employee unions inhealth law shows that when towns and negotiate provided the coalition with considered by the public employee your community, get started today.coalitions work together, innovative an essential ingredient: time. “Wesolutions can be the result. “The cost coalition. Says Donovan: “We all did bought ourselves some time to look Get the factsof health insurance is an issue that the research and it really sunk in: for options that would be amenable to Health insurance issues are complexaffects everyone. The way to address there are costs that we didn’t have but with a little research you can be an both sides,” says Bateson.that problem isn’t to force a solution before.” expert in no time.on town employees,” says Powell. “A Fact finding The hard work of the librarianscooperative process really produces But getting the town to agree to and their coalition partners paid Consult an expertthe best outcomes.” negotiate with the coalition turned off though. The decision of the If there are issues that you don’t under- out to be the easy part. In the ensuing coalition to enter the GIC will save stand, seek outside expertise to bringChanging the conversation weeks, coalition members would learn the town more than $4 million, your members or coalition partners up Working in coalition was nothing while employees will receive half to speed. the ins and outs of the various healthnew for Lexington’s librarians, insurance plans available to municipal of the money saved in the form of Follow the leaderteachers and first responders. The employees. They also began to develop an improved contribution split, a Reach out to AFT MA members in com-town was one of the first to adopt a deeper understanding of the needs health reimbursement account, and munities that are health insurance successso-called Section 19 coalition of everyone in the coalition, including money set aside to help employees stories to learn about their experiences.bargaining back in 1993, a process retirees. “It was a real coalition and no pay for excessive co-pays. “There was In Lynn, Lexington, Chelsea, Wakefieldby which public employees bargain one was shy about speaking up,” says really something for everyone,” says and other cities and towns, coalitionswith a municipality as a single Donovan. “What it all came down to Donovan. have negotiated cooperative agreementsentity. And while the Lexington though was the idea that we all pay for The librarians say that in that work for everyone. For more infor-employees had made several changes everyone. It isn’t just what’s good for addition to learning more than they mation contact apowell@aftma.net.to their health plan over the years the teachers or the firefighters—this is ever thought they’d know aboutin an effort to save the town money, health insurance, they also have a Spread the word about all of us.” Keep your members in the loop aboutpressure to lower costs further has The librarians also gained a first- new appreciation for the power of whatever changes are being consideredonly intensified. Donovan says that hand appreciation of the complexities a coalition. Bateson says that the to their health insurance plan. Hold regu-conversation in Lexington is much of health insurance. Before long process established a deep sense of lar briefing meetings to keep memberslike that taking place elsewhere in they were fluent in the language of camaraderie among town employees. informed and don’t sugar coat the issues.the country. “Instead of asking why it premiums, deductibles, co-pays and “It was nice to see so many people whois that everyone doesn’t have decent health reimbursement accounts. And care so much,” says Bateson. Collect storieshealth care benefits there is a loud when there was something they didn’t As for the old stereotype of Too often the debate over health insur-chorus demanding that our benefits librarians being demure ‘marms,’ ance is reduced to numbers. But behind understand they asked for help. Thebe brought down to the level of the armed with nothing more powerful every fact and figure is a human story. Is librarians relied extensively on AFTaverage private workplace,” says there a teacher, paraprofessional, librarian MA’s Andy Powell, but they also went than a pencil and the power to shush, or retiree in your community who willDonovan. to great lengths to educate themselves forget about it, says Donovan. “As be deeply impacted by health insurance Back in November, Lexington’s about the issues, even recruiting we showed in Lexington, librarians changes? Ask them to share their story.selectmen voted to accept the health nationally recognized health insurance are not afraid to speak up. And wecare reform law. The next step: expert Jonathan Gruber to come and don’t wear our hair in buns anymoreurging the town manager to bargain give a talk at the library. either,” she says with a chuckle. “Nowwith the existing employee coalition we have tattoos.”  Lesley University School of Education Providing a better learning experience for teachers for more than 100 years. Lesley’s Graduate School of Education is marked by its commitment • Master’s programs leading to initial and professional licensure to the preparation and professional development of educators, • Licensure-only programs innovative and challenging coursework, and lifelong learning. • 12-credit post-Master’s options We offer a wide range of learning opportunities for education • Advanced Professional Certificates professionals, including: • Ph.D. programs Lesley offers programs to fit your lifestyle. Learn on-campus, online, or at a location near you. Questions? Contact info@lesley.edu | 888.LESLEY.U School of Education teach.lesley.edu/advocate 3April 2012
  • 4. Diary S pring is in the air. Trees are budding with the promise of new life and birds are chirping their happy little songs. All this change and growth in the air, yet my teenage of a New Teacher students are still teenagers. I continue to find myself in awe of the modern day teenager. Every day I spend with them I By Amanda Perez am reminded about how hard it is to be Middle school teacher a teenager, just as I am confronted with Sarah Greenwood School, how hard it is to teach teenagers. When Dorchester, MA I was working on getting my license to teach K-8, I never really considered the Meet the 2011-2012 6-8 portion of my new credentials. New Teacher Diarists Yet here I am, three years into myBill Madden-Fuoco career, teaching middle school. WhileA humanities teacher at the Urban Science most days feel more like a roller coasterAcademy in West Roxbury, Bill was a 2012 ride than a steady career, there are aTeacher of the Year semifinalist. few things that I am certain of when it comes to these confusing, tech-savvyRobert Tobio tornadoes of emotion. As confusing as MIDDLE AGE Amanda Perez, a new middle school teacher at the SarahRobert teaches math and special education Greenwood School in Boston, says that she spends much of her time some of their outward behaviors are,at the Mary Lyon Pilot School in Brighton navigating the strange world that is contemporary American adolescence. there is a lot more to them than mostand previously taught at Monument High in people give them credit for. As much as my middle schoolers crave my attention The magical thing about all thisSouth Boston, which closed last spring. we claim to remember what it was like and perhaps my approval. The balance confusion is that these adolescents haveMelissa McDonald to be a teenager, the truth is that our that I strive to achieve in my classroom deep thoughts, worthwhile ideas, andA fifth grade teacher at the Parthum “world” at the time, whatever that world is to hold my students’ hand as much understanding of complex conceptsElementary School in Lawrence, Melissa may be is just not the world teenagers as necessary through their learning but that only need a safe environment tois returning to teaching after a year of currently live in. TV is different, music to not let them know this. Doing this coax out. I recently had my studentsmaternity leave. is different, advertising is different, reinforces their integrity while fostering engage in a formal debate about animal social expectations are different, responsibility and accountability as rights. I assigned students to a sideJoyce Melker educational expectations are different— they grow towards their new roles as and had them debate, listen and takeA paraprofessional at the Watson Elemen- the list of differences is extensive. competent adults. In this way, they notes on the other team’s arguments,tary School in Fall River, Joyce is a student Meanwhile, some things stay the same. are able to own their accomplishments and create counter arguments. My highin the JET teacher training program at My students know how to make me and their learning and strengthen their expectations were far surpassed by howUMass Dartmouth. feel as self-aware as they do when they own sense of identity as capable young My teenagers really rose to the occasion.Matthew Robinson tell me: “Ms. Perez, you are so not hip people. before my eyes became organized,Matthew teaches English and journalism at and your shoes are whack.” With such Adolescence is a strange limbo in mature, passionate and articulate youngthe Burke High School in Dorchester. delightful compliments, how could I not which my students want to be driving people. I will admit that most days I am love teaching middle school? the boat but are scared of the steering not certain that I am having any impactRiana Good The thing is, I do love teaching wheel. They want my feedback on on my teenage students as they vacillateWhile Riana is technically no longer a new middle school. It’s a treat to know that something they do but need to receive between acting like children and actingteacher, this Spanish teacher at the Boston I, in some small—or big—way, get to feedback in a way that doesn’t leave like adults. However, with a lot ofTeachers Union School in Jamaica Plain says step in at this crucial time in their lives them feeling at all vulnerable. They patience and respect for their currentthat she still feels like a ‘newby.’ and try to share a little wisdom and insist they know all there is to know developmental stage I am hopeful forAmanda Perez help them navigate these awkward and about life while protesting that they what they have to offer the world and IAmanda is a humanities teacher at the intense years. While on the outside they don’t understand the homework I am grateful I get a chance to steer themSarah Greenwood School in Dorchester. are starting to look like small adults, assigned them. in a good direction. ▪ Would you like to travel abroad on TEACH Coming to Town an inexpensive trip designed T EACH, a feature length documentary made by Boston teachers Bob and nation take our schools? Should we privatize our public schools? Should specifically for educators? Yvonne Lamothe, will make its official Boston debut next month. The film we fire all of the teachers in our struggling schools? To answer these will be screened as part of the Boston and other questions, the Lamothes GEEO is a non-profit organization that runs travel International Film Festival, which interviewed dozens of teachers, parents programs for educators. Detailed information including shows 90 films from more than 30 and public school advocates about the itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at countries and runs between April 13-22. state and future of public education. www.geeo.org or call toll free 1-877-600-0105. Lamothe and his wife Yvonne, both Says Lamothe: “Everyday we hear about teachers in the Boston Public Schools, teaching and teachers through the have been at work on the project, called eyes of administrators, politicians and “Teachers Are Talking, Is the Nation business leaders. We hope to bring the Listening?”, for the past four years. voices and wisdom of teachers to the The documentary has already been nation.” shown at teacher events across the TEACH will be shown on April 16 country, including to 250 members of at 12:30 PM at the Lowes Cineplex on the Boston Teachers Union earlier this Boston Common. For more information spring. Lamothe, a technology expert, and Yvonne, a visual art teacher with visit www.teachdocumentary.com. ▪ National Board Certification, say that everywhere the film has been shown it has sparked a conversation--something largely lacking in the heated debate over public education. “We’ve become increasingly frustrated by the fact that very seldom do teachers voices get heard,” says Lamothe. “Teachers who should be a leading part of education policy and ‘reform’ are for the most part not part of the process, not part of the national and local debates.” The film opens with a series of questions: What direction will this 4 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  • 5. BEHIND T he chalkboard in Michael Maguire’s LETTER MAN classroom at Boston Latin Michael Maguire, THE SCENES Academy is draped with newspaper a Latin teacher clippings, a pennant-like display of the at the Boston letters to the editor that have become Latin Academy, Maguire’s specialty. “I’ve always had in front of the an opinion,” says Maguire, who has ‘pennant wall’ Michael Maguire taught Latin at the school since 1994. of newspapers His first letter was published in the in which his A Latin teacher finds Boston University newspaper while letters to the editor have his voice Maguire was an undergraduate at that been published. school. The subject: Sinead O’Connor’s Maguire writes controversial appears on Saturday Night a letter per Live. week, always on These days Maguire sticks to the education. Says topic of education, but still has plenty Maguire: “I’ve to say. He has published more than a always had an dozen letters to the editor on such issues opinion.” as charter schools, teacher evaluation and standardized testing. In 2003, one Alexander, six—Maguire still writes at inspiration. “Think about ‘All Gaul is of Maguire’s letters appeared in both the least one letter per week. Along the way, divided into three parts’—now there’s a Boston Herald and the Boston Globe— Maguire has identified some simple great topic sentence.” He’s also a fan of on the same day. The Globe has since lessons for good letter writing—tips, he rhetorical devices, including rhetorical implemented a exclusivity policy. Were insists, that anyone can follow. Chief questions, metaphor and alliteration. the two events related? “It’s a thought,” among them: keep it succinct. “Long Finally, Maguire makes sure to stick to says Maguire. letters don’t work. You need to get to the the high road. “Name calling cheapens Maguire’s letter writing career really point,” says Maguire. your argument,” says Maguire. “When took off in 2008, following the birth of Maguire, who co-edits the Boston someone calls me a name, that’s when I his daughter Meghan, an arrival that Union Teacher, also recommends know that I’ve won.” coincided with the advent of smart picking a single issue to address, Although he pens most of his phone technology. How could a hungry particularly in the complex, often letters in response to local education baby and a phone with a touch screen contradictory world of education issues, last year Maguire cast his net possibly be related? Simple, says policy. He likens his approach to that further afield. When he saw a story Maguire. “I was up with my daughter of a scientist attempting to disprove a in the Baltimore Sun about teacher for late night feedings and I could read theorem. “If I can show that one part of evaluations, he wrote a response based the newspaper online while I rocked the argument doesn’t hold up, the whole on the experience of a Boston teacher. her.” He discovered that he could also thing starts to fall apart. “The Internet is great that way,” says type out a quick response and hit send, typically around 3 AM. Another tip: approach a letter like you would a good one paragraph Maguire. ▪ To read some of Maguire’s recent While he no longer needs to send essay, including the all important letters, visit www.aftma.net. his editorial missives in the middle of topic sentence. As a Latin teacher, the night—Meghan is now three, his son Maguire often looks to Julius Caesar for Inspire through teaching Earn your Master of Arts in Teaching at Northeastern Offered through Northeastern University’s College of • Online, hybrid, and evening classes Professional Studies, the Master of Arts in Teaching • Part-time and full-time enrollment options allows you to secure your master’s degree and teacher’s • Leads to Massachusetts initial licensure in elementary or secondary education license in as few as 12 months. • PLUS program offering additional licensure in Special Education or a TESOL graduate certificate • Special tuition rate and financial aid available For more information or to apply, visit www.northeastern.edu/cps/MAT or call 1.877.668.7727 Next classes begin July 2, 2012 5April 2012
  • 6. On Campus Dan Georgianna, Political Director UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895In Tough Economy, College for All a Worthy GoalI s Rick Santorum the only man in American who hasn’t learned thatwomen don’t like men warning them Many voters were puzzled by GOP done on the cheap with a few hours of instruction without much education. The sad history of workforce candidate Rickabout the evils of contraception? Santorum’s claim development in the U.S. shows that Senator Santorum’s remark that training without education will fail. that the PresidentPresident Kennedy’s speech on the Community colleges are well suitedseparation of church and state made is a “snob” for en- to this combination of educationhim want to throw up also provided couraging young and training with their wide courseentertainment. He twisted President people to attend selection offered at various timesKennedy’s speech against political college. throughout the day and evening anddomination by one religion to read their multiple curriculums that includethat President Kennedy wanted to asking state governors to increase student has increased for other types liberal arts courses. But it will takeeliminate religion from public life. spending on K-12, stop cutting funding of colleges and universities. more than a few dollars to developSenator Santorum later said that he for state colleges and universities, and Governor Patrick praised the education needed for workplacewished he had the line back. proposing an $8 billion Community community colleges for their multiple development. Senator Santorum’s calling Obama College to Career Fund to train roles of preparing students for There’s no reason that bachelora “snob” for wanting everyone to go students for “targeted, certified bachelor degrees, providing post- granting colleges and universitiesto college was equally puzzling. After training for jobs in rapidly growing secondary remedial education, and can’t also educate students for jobssome dancing around the need for industries.” (Whitehouse blog) satisfying intellectual needs for all in technical fields. Jobs are a goodhigher education for a good job in themodern economy, which mirrored “We’re talking about somebody going to a community college age students but focused on training workers for new careers. He called on ▪ thing.President Obama’s position, Sen. and getting trained ... for that the state’s business leaders to join the Dan Georgianna is the ChancellorSantorum used statistics to argue that manufacturing job that now is Commonwealth in funding community Professor of Economics at UMasscolleges indoctrinated students against requiring somebody walking through colleges for more workplace Dartmouth. His column appearsreligion. His statistics on students the door handling a million-dollar development. monthly in the Advocate. Sharegiving up religion in college turned out piece of equipment.” (as quoted by It’s easy to see this as college comments with him at dgeorgianna@to be backwards. Religion drop-out MSNBC.com) education for some and job training umassd.edurates are higher for young people who In this January’s State of the for others, a class division that isdon’t go to college. Commonwealth Address, Governor widening in the U.S. due to restricted “Should all students go to college?” Patrick also asked for additional $10 access to bachelor degrees for students Students, Faculty Stand Upis a serious question, however. This million for community colleges to who can’t afford them. But I think that for Public Higher Educationquestion usually refers to students build up workforce development. Governor Patrick is trying to buttresspursuing a degree, specifically a $10 million sounds like a lot, but it is the community college system that is Hundreds of students, facultybachelor’s degree. The easy answer less than 2% of the total budget for unique to the U.S. in giving students and staff from public collegesis “no” because some students prefer community colleges in Massachusetts. multiple chances at education. across the Commonwealtheducation for the trades, medical Nation-wide, funding per student for Education vs. training is based community colleges has dropped over on a false comparison, however; converged upon the State-fields, and other good jobs. President the past 10 years, while funding per education is process-oriented, and house last month to lobbyObama tried to cover all the bases, training is goal-oriented. The process for more resources for higher of education shows education in Massachusetts. students how to make Participants in the day-long sound judgments in event represented nearly every complex situations  public campus in the state, but and to how to follow delivered a single message: ethical principles Public Higher Education is in community life. This process of critical to the residents of Mas- education continues sachusetts, to our economy,  as the subject and to our future, and must be adequately funded.  matter changes from kindergarten through “Costs have risen dramati-   post-graduate cally,” said Melanie T. Mulvey, education. 21, a senior at the Amherst  Can job training campus. “It’s really hurting the   follow educational university and the state. Low- processes? Of  course it can. Using income students are some of President’s Obama’s the people who need these op-   example, training for portunities the most because  expensive equipment education really levels the play- requires sound ing field.”  judgment and ethical Mulvey and nearly 400    principles in working with others. It all other student, staff and faculty advocates, urged the legisla-   comes down to good ture to increase the operating teaching within a  sound educational budgets of the 29 campuses  curriculum. and to increase the scholarship The flaw in the account, both by 5%.   training rather than For more information on how education strategy is the assumption to join the campaign visit www. that training can be phenomonline.org. 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  • 7. Retiree Corner SENIOR SEMINARS Marie Ardito, Co-founder Living in Retirement as an Massachusetts Retirees United Informed Retiree www.retireesunited.org A free 2 hour seminar directed toward those who retired on a public service pension and deals with manyPlanning for End of Life is Vital issues confronting retirees. Medicare, Social Security, tax shelters, 403b and more.T here are a number of names for it: health care proxy, living will,durable power of attorney for health medical staff have many demands on their time and when someone is ill they do not want to repeat themselves, could be prolonged. They should be able to be assertive, both with hospital personnel as well as family, without When: Saturday April 14 10 - Noon Where: Presidential Park, Unit 105,care, and advance directive. Whatever and very often will ask that one person alienating them. Make sure they will 214 Main Street (Rt. 38), Wilmingtonyou call it, you should definitely have be spokesperson for the family. respect your wishes even if they mayone. Another reason for the importance not agree with all of them. Make sure Protecting Your Nest Egg This document sets forth your of having this document is that if you they understand that you will continue Two hour seminar, presented by Elderwishes for health care in the event cannot make health care decisions to make your health care decisions for Law Attorney Mary Howiethat you are ever unable to speak for for yourself, and you do not have a yourself as long as you are able.yourself. The contract that most of us document naming someone to do it, Most people make life-ending When: Saturday April 28, 10 - Noonhave may simply name the person or your loved ones will have to go through choices while they are in good health. Where: Presidential Park, Unit 105,persons who will make the decisions the costly process of having the Thus it is very easy at such a time to 214 Main Street (Rt. 38), Wilmingtonfor us. Typically, one individual is decisions made by the court in case of say, “I do not want any extraordinarynamed as decision maker, and if they a dispute among family members as to measures used at the end.”. But if it Preparing for Retirementare unable to perform the task, an what should be done. This document is necessary for another individual A comprehensive 2 hour seminar foralternative candidate. is particularly vital if it is a non family to make that decision for you, you teachers, paras and education support This column focuses primarily upon member that you wish to name. need to be able to trust them to use personnel within 10 years of retiring.why you should have this document. It is advisable to name only one common sense. Is there a possibility Note: seminar is offered on multipleThought must be given as to who person as primary spokesperson that, after being on life support, you dates.you name and the assurance that the and another as secondary. Multiple can return to a good quality of life? Ifperson named will fulfill your wishes. people can confuse the process. It the life support is simply prolonging a Chelmsford: McCarthy Middle Illness, even serious illness, pays no should be someone open to discussing vegetative state of life they shouldn’t School Lecture Hall, 250 North Rd.respect to age. Most of us remember and keeping other family members agree. If you believe quality of life is Chelmsford, MAthe battle that was waged in our in the loop, but not intimidated by more important than quantity of life, When: Monday April 9, 4-6 PMnewspapers between parents and a others in order to fulfill your wishes. be sure they know this.husband in Florida when one party Whoever you name should be someone Do some reading and thinking on Lynn: Lynn Teachers Union, 679chose to disconnect “life support.” The who can handle what this involves. the topic and don’t procrastinate if Western Ave.patient was just twenty-five. This is Most importantly, whomever you you have put off doing one of these When: Saturday, April 25, 3-5 PM.clear proof that one should not wait for name should be aware that you have documents. If you don’t know what“old age” to create a proxy. selected them. It should be someone measures you want and don’t want, Upton: Blackstone Valley Vocational With privacy so strictly adhered you trust completely, can discuss how can you expect your loved ones toto in hospitals, doctors and nurseswill no longer divulge information to what measures you do or don’t want, and most importantly, that they have know? ▪ Regional School, 65 Pleasant Street. When: Tuesday, May 1, 2:30-4:30 PMjust anyone. They want the patient’s common sense in making decisions. It Marie Ardito’s column appears For details or to register for any ofpermission to do so, and when he/ is important that you convey to them regularly in the Advocate. Contact the above seminars, contact Marieshe cannot give this permission they that you expect them to use discretion her with questions or column ideas at Ardito at 1-617-482-1568 or e-mailwill speak only to those authorized in the process. The person should live mardito@retireesunited.org. mardito@retireesunited.org.through one of these documents. Also, in close proximity to you as the illnessThe Golden E laine Dickinson can pinpoint exactly when she became a political activist. It was 2010, against what Dickinson refers to as the 99%. More recently the couple has offer him one of the extra buttons she makes a point of carrying in her coat pocket. “Having been a teacher, it’s all Apple coincidentally the same year Dickinson retired from three decades teaching in Weymouth and Orleans, and the lent its support to protests against foreclosure evictions taking place on the Cape. Last month they descended about education.” While Dickinson’s passion for political protest may be relatively Supreme Court had just handed down on a house in Harwich in an effort to new, she has long been involved in its controversial Citizens United block the auction of a house that had charitable causes. She volunteers at theElaine Dickinson decision. “I got really angry,” Dickinson been foreclosed upon. “We’re trying to Family Pantry in Harwich and recentlyRetiree-turned-activist says of the vote that opened the door to keep people in their homes. Hopefully traveled to Haiti with a local church unlimited spending by corporations in by putting pressure on big banks like group to visit a clinic and school run by elections. “It didn’t make any sense to Bank of America people will be able the sister parish of Our Lady of Hope in me—so I started paying attention.” to work out agreements that are more Barnstable. “I’ve always had a soft spot While her husband Art, also fair,” says Dickinson. for Haiti,” says Dickinson. a retired teacher, had long been The long-time teacher is also doing As for her recent activities, interested in politics, Dickinson herself what she did for 32 years: educating. Dickinson says that she’s particularly had been busy teaching and raising Two editorials by Dickinson on the pleased at the participation of retirees two children. That’s now changed, Occupy movement and the importance in the protests. “One gentleman is says Dickinson. One day the couple of citizen activism have appeared in 80 and uses an oxygen tank, another was watching TV footage of the Arab the Cape Cod Times in recent months. woman has a walker—I feel honored to Spring, the largely youth-driven But even more important than her be among them,” says Dickinson. She uprising that swept across the Middle written work may be the one-on-one also hopes that the example of these East last year, and Dickinson asked her conversations with friends, neighbors retiree activists will inspire many more husband a simple question: “When is and employees at local businesses, to get involved. “Some people feel like that going to happen here?” says Dickinson. On a recent weekday, it’s too much—they look at all of the By early summer, the Occupy Dickinson stopped by the local dry problems in the world and they ask movement was in full sail, with cleaner, a button proclaiming “We Are ‘what can I do?’” But Dickinson says outposts dotting Cape Cod. The The 99%” proudly affixed to her coat. there’s plenty that retired educators— Dickinsons soon hooked up with When the cashier asked her what it or any retirees—can do to make a Occupy Orleans and began to meant she was happy to explain. “I difference. “Get educated, get involved, participate in regular protests against gave him my rap and I asked him: are and get off the couch,” she urges. “Turn OCCUPY RETIREMENT Retired income inequality and a system that you part of the 1% or the 99%? He had off ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and Fox teachers Art and Elaine Dickinson show their support for the 99%. seems increasingly rigged in favor of corporate power and wealth and no problem answering the question,” says Dickinson. She was also happy to News and get busy.” ▪April 2012 7
  • 8. Lawrence: ‘City of Promise’ Continued from coverengaging the parents of the city’s “There’s so much po-children, talk of diversity andopportunity must rise above the level tential here—all that’sof mere buzzwords. Ms. Grullón, needed is opportunity.whose nonprofit organization Lawrence isn’t the cityprovides education and training,including adult literacy classes, has of the damned. We’reseen first hand just what a difference the city of promise, theparental involvement makes. TheLeahy Elementary School, which Ms. city of the redeemed.”Grullón’s nephews attended, is one — Victor Martinez,of the city’s top schools and has long The Boys and Girls Club ofenjoyed the highest rates of parental Lawrenceinvolvement. But duplicating theLeahy’s success elsewhere is no easy all over the world “Our motto is ‘betask, says Ms. Grullón. “Our parents the change,’” says Barry, a Lawrenceface immense barriers of language and native who also serves as an officer of ROLE MODEL Lorena German, a third year English teacher at Lawrencepoverty. Illiteracy is a huge issue.” She the Lawrence Teachers Union. She High and a graduate of the Lawrence Public Schools, says she’d like to seeadvocates placing a bilingual parent notes that, in addition to producing the union do more to train and mentor teachers who come from Lawrence.liaison in each school. “We need life-long writers, Bread Loaf alsoadvocates who aren’t just fluent in the specializes in a commodity that could do to help more local residents A momentous occasionlanguage but in the culture too,” says Lawrence can never have too much of: become teachers, including mentoring This year marks the 100thMs. Grullón. homegrown role models. “Our student and training immigrants who hold anniversary of the historic Bread writing leaders go on to become real professional degrees from their native and Roses strike, when thousandsCity of promise leaders.” countries. “We don’t just have high of Lawrence textile workers— While the success of efforts to unemployment here in Lawrence, immigrants, women and teenager—remake the Lawrence schools won’t Building a partnership we have underemployment: lawyers walked off the job to protestbe felt for months, or even years, to The recent Broad Loaf conference who are working as barbers, doctors horrendous working conditions andcome, community leaders say that had a new sponsor this year: the driving taxis, yet they have skills that to demand a better quality of life.there are plenty of signs that their Lawrence Teachers Union. The can be put to use right here in our Solidarity prevailed and Lawrencecity has begun to turn a corner. Victor gesture was more than symbolic, notes schools,” says German. She notes that became an inspiration to workersMartinez, the assistant education Barry. The LTU and its 900 members statistically, Latinos pass the MTEL across the country and around thedirector of the Boys and Girls Club are actively seeking to be more exam at lower rates than other groups. world. Today, this proud immigrantof Lawrence, grew up here and went engaged in the Lawrence community. “The union can help play a key role city is poised to transform itself onceto the Lawrence Public Schools The union recently began working with mentoring and tutoring. We don’t more.before attending Phillips Academy with Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, need more Teach for America fellows “There’s so much potential here.in Andover, an experience that he a coalition of labor unions, churches, who come for two years and leave,” All that’s needed is opportunity,” saysdescribes as at once eye-opening and community and student organizations says German. “We need people from Victor Martinez. “Lawrence isn’t thehumbling. He later left Lawrence to to strengthen ties between teachers Lawrence to become teachers and role city of the damned. We’re the city ofpursue a career in finance, hopingto make enough money to end up and other school employees and the community of which they are part. models.” promise, the city of the redeemed.” ▪on the cover of Forbes Magazine. Among the immediate goals of theBut Martinez has since returned to Anti-Teacher Ads Hit Airwaves partnership: to advocate for parents—his hometown, part of a generation especially non-Engish speakingof homegrown young professionals parents—who have largely beenwho are joining the leadership of thecity’s nonprofit organizations as wellas teaching in its schools. Martinez’ left out of the so-called stakeholder process though which local residents can weigh in on the future of the A n outside group funded by corporate donations is now blanketing the airwaves with for the organization told the Statehouse News Service that Stand is making a “significant investment”wife, Eliana, left Lawrence to attend public schools. “For parents who work misleading advertisements intended in order to saturate the airwaves.Brown University and now teaches at two or even three jobs, participating to build support for a ballot question The group’s backers have deepLawrence High School. “We’ve come in this process isn’t a realistic option,” that targets teachers. Stand for pockets—in addition to Bain Capital,back to try to help a whole generation says McLaughlin. “Everyone deserves Children, which is funded by the Stand’s advisory board also includesbreak a cycle,” says Martinez. “We to have a say in the future of our Walmart family foundation and officials from Fidelity Investmentshave a genuine interest in turning schools.” has close ties to Bain Capital, wants and Fisher Capital.things around, and we’re all asking the Jasiela Chaves, an organizer voters to approve a measure that Despite the hard sell, however,same question: ‘how does a city start for Jobs with Justice, grew up here would gut workplace protections there is mounting opposition to bothanew?’” and graduated from Lawrence High for educators, making it far more Stand for Children and its proposal School. Chaves now spends her days difficult for them to advocate on to change state law state law soBe the change talking with community leaders, behalf of the students who need that, in cases of layoffs or budget Martinez says that he is parents and Lawrence residents about them most. cuts, decisions about which teachersparticularly encouraged by the the changes underway in the city and The radio and TV ads, aired by go and stay must be determineddevelopment of new partnerships its schools. By and large, says Chaves, Stand for Children, feature residents by a brand new evaluation systembetween Lawrence community the reception has been very positive. of Newton, Lowell, Brighton and still being developed by the state.organizations and outside institutions “People are eager to learn more about Framingham, along with a public Opponents now include everyincluding Harvard University, MIT the union. We look up to our teachers school teacher from Winchester, major education organization in theand Merrimack College. In late March, and we see them as advocates. To voicing support for “great schools” state including the MassachusettsMartinez’ organization played host build a stronger relationship between and “great teachers.” Parent Teacher Association and theto a writing conference for Lawrence the teachers union and the community But educators have watched and Massachusetts Elementary Schoolstudents in grades 1-4 called “How is seen as really important,” says listened to the ad say that it’s as Principals’ Association.to Eat a Poem.” The event was part Chaves. misleading as Stand for Children Community groups have begunof Andover Bread Loaf, a project that itself. The ads make no mention of to speak out as well. “Stand fortrains students to become ‘writing Wanted: mentors the controversial ballot initiative— Children’s campaign has nothingleaders,’ enabling them to tell their Lawrence teacher Lorena German, or of the long list of educational to do with improving our schools,”own stories and, through their writing, who began teaching English at organizations that have now gone on say Horace Small, executiveto find a place in the world. Lawrence High’s International School the record to oppose it. director of the Union of Minority Lawrence teacher Kim Barry, a three years ago, says that a sincere Stand for Children isn’t saying Neighborhoods in Roxbury. “Standliteracy coach at the Parthum Middle partnership between her union and just how much money the group is is laying the groundwork for theirSchool, has been involved in Bread her community can’t come quickly spending on the advertisements, business partners to make money offLoaf since she began teaching in enough. German is part of a small, which will run on statewide as well of the public schools. It’s a classicLawrence 16 years ago. The programgot its start in the Merrimack Valley but growing contingent of Lawrence Public School graduates who now as local and cable television, on radio, in newspapers and online for bait and switch.” ▪in 1987 and has since spread to other teach in the city. She says that there is the next five weeks. A spokespersoneconomically-challenged communities much the Lawrence Teachers Union