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,and led to a protest march and rallycalled “We are Lawrence.” ExplainsMilagro Grullón, Executive Director SIGNS OF SPRING Lawrence community leaders (from left): Milagro Grullón, Victor Jarvis, Jasiela Chavez and Jules Abel.The leaders say that despite its well- In This Issue 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 administrators and the Lawrence 2 President’s Columnand the article merely afﬁrmed that that pervades the hallways and Teachers Union to engage parents inperception. It’s up to us to get the real classrooms of the Lawrence, the takeover was viewed by many in the a conversation about the future of the city’s schools. Victor Jarvis, pastor 4 Diary of a New Teacher: Thestory of our city out, all the way down Mysteries of middle schoolto our neighbors,” says Grullón. “This Lawrence schools as an opportunity of the Ebenezer Christian Churchis what our city is about.” to strengthen the city itself. “Our and the human rights commissioner TEACH comes to town schools are the key to a better future for the City of Lawrence, has beenTransformation time for all of the children of Lawrence,” helping to survey local parents 5 Portrait of a letter writer: Latin teacher Mike Maguire There is no doubt that Lawrence says Frank McLaughlin, president of who attend his church about theirstands at a juncture of signiﬁcantchange these days. Late last year, the the Lawrence Teachers Union. “By transforming our schools, we can help ideas for strengthening the schools. One common theme, says Jarvis: 6 On Campus: In tough economy, college for all is astate took over the Lawrence Public to transform Lawrence.” Lawrence schools must do a better worthy goalSchools, leaving the fate of students, job of mirroring the diversity of theparents and teachers unclear. The City of challenge city itself. “This city is special. We 7 Retiree Corner Community leaders like Ms. have different races and cultures The Golden Apple: a retiredstate-appointed receiver, Jeff Riley,will announce personnel changes Grullón say they are hopeful about amalgamated together—we are teacher wakes up and getsalong with plans to restructure many the changes taking place in the Lawrence,” says Jarvis. activeof the schools later this year. schools, particularly new efforts by 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, thanks to 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
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 the teacher Yvonne Lamothe. Lamothe, whoStanding up for Children state’s deliberative legislative and regulatory processes to seek further changes. Using an initiative petition teaches visual arts in the Boston Public Schools, will appear on Urban Update, on April 8th.The show is broadcast onNote: the following letter was sent because their teachers are great. Now is to strong-arm legislators and voters is Sunday mornings on WHDH immediatelyto Democratic town, ward, and city not the time to switch gears. not the answer for our students or our following Meet the Press. Lamothe recentlychairs in response to a letter which The Stand initiative has been sent future. took to the airwaves in honor to discussStand for Children sent them. to the Legislature by the Secretary of We, as leaders of the Massachusetts “TEACH,” the documentary about teaching State, given a bill number of H 3883, Democratic Party, the Massachusetts that she and her husband Bob created.Dear Democratic party activist: and referred to the Joint Committee AFL-CIO, the American Federation (See article at bottom of page).The featureWe believe you may recently have on Education. We ask you to urge length documentary will get its ﬁrst ofﬁcial of Teachers Massachusetts, and thereceived a letter from a group called your legislators to reject this proposal Boston screening on April 16th at the Loews Massachusetts Teachers Association,Stand for Children concerning an and to call on the proponents to Cineplex on Boston Common. are far from alone in taking a stronginitiative 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 attempt to change education in thispart of an effort to sell an ill-advised teacher evaluation system, which Legal Eagles manner. Many other organizationsproposal and does so in language was developed through extensive The verdict is in and two Lowell middle join us in opposing this unnecessary school teachers who have been helpingthat is designed to put it in terms collaboration among educators, and divisive initiative, including their students learn about the legal systemattractive to Democrats. Because there parents, advocates of all types, and Arise for Social Justice, Citizens for are ofﬁcially guilty—of being outstandingis another side to this story, we write state and local ofﬁcials. Our concerns Public Schools, the Massachusetts teachers. Sue MacLeod and Cathieto you today to urge you to reject this focus on the students of Massachusetts, Administrators for Special Education, Watkins, both teachers at Lowell’spath. number one in America, and it’s who are not well served by the Stand the Massachusetts Association Robinson Middle School, created a mocknot by accident. It’s because excellent ballot initiative. for Supervision and Curriculum trial scenario for their students that includedteachers work with students who are In its statements, Stand has Development, the Massachusetts local attorneys and a real live judge.Thesupported by families and communities distorted the truth about the progress Elementary School Principals’ after-school program was funded by a 21stwho help them succeed. Where changes that has been made toward establishing Association, Massachusetts Jobs Century Community Learning Centersare needed, Massachusetts has led the a rigorous and fair teacher evaluation Grant. On March 23, the teachers traveled with Justice, the Massachusettsway – with teachers and their unions at system in our Commonwealth. In fact, with their students into Boston to see a real Parent Teacher Association, thethe table so that the voices of those in representatives of the group were a mock trial put on by the Massachusetts Bar Massachusetts Organization of Association. A longer article about MacLeod,the classroom are helping to guide the part of the process that created the Educational Collaboratives, the Watkins and the Robinson ‘legal eagles’ willdiscussion. It’s working. very system they now want to change. Massachusetts Reading Association, appear in the May issue of the Advocate. We’ve seen the results in other They falsely claim that the new process the Massachusetts School Librarystates 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 Secondary School Administrators’ Trivial Pursuitsvoters or rammed through bumper- Elementary and Secondary Education Association, the New England Jewish The Lynn Teachers Union has come upsticker ballot initiatives to try to impose that requires all school districts to Labor Committee, and the Union of with a fun-ﬁlled way to boost morale anda “solution.” It is clear those efforts implement the new system. That Minority Neighborhoods. We are also encourage new member participation. Onhave gone too far. Massachusetts began last fall, and the new approach joined by educational leaders such April 12th, the LTU will host its ﬁrst everstudents succeed in large measure will be in place in every school district as Susan Moore Johnson and Robert trivia night.The theme: “Are you smarter by 2014. The evaluation tool, which Schwartz, professors at the Harvard than a principal?” Teams of teachers and encompasses MCAS test scores and Graduate School of Education; Jon paraprofessionals from the Lynn schools will other measures, will be used for Saphier, president of Research for answer questions about everything from pop personnel decisions that support our culture, politics and sports to the history Better Teaching, Inc.; Sue Freedman, common goals: providing a great of their unique city.The top teams will win director of the RTTT Human Resource The ofﬁcial publication of education to every student and having prizes and, most importantly, bragging rights. Pilot Project, Working Group for For more information and to sign up, visit AFT Massachusetts, AFL-CIO an excellent teacher in every classroom. Educator Excellence; and three recent www.lynnteachersunion.org. 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 Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer the Stand initiative. Top Honors damage the Stand ballot initiative VICE PRESIDENTS Secretary of Education Paul would cause, please go to: www. Three professors at UMass Dartmouth Reville said in November 2011: “I fear have been honored by the National Science Patricia Armstrong massteacher.org/stand or to www. that the ballot initiative would set Foundation with the highly prestigious Deborah Blinder aftma.net. up a distracting and divisive battle, Early Faculty Career Development Awards. Sean Bowker Don’t be fooled. In the interest Kathryn Chamberlain engendering an over-simpliﬁed public The faculty members, who will share a of helping to ensure a high-quality combined $1 million in grant money, were Brenda Chaney dialogue that would alienate educators Kathy Delaney education for every student, we urge recognized for research which has the and prevent us from achieving a variety you to ask your legislators to reject H Catherine Deveney potential to revolutionize their ﬁelds.The Patricia Driscoll of reform goals.” 3883 and call on Stand to immediately UMass Dartmouth honorees, all members Marianne Dumont Secretary Reville’s comment withdraw its initiative petition. of the Faculty Federation at that school, J. Michael Earle addresses both the progress we have include Katja Haltta-Otto, Department Sincerely, Margaret Farrell made and the dangers of the Stand of Mechanical Engineering; Chandra Mary Ferriter John Walsh initiative. The new teacher evaluation Chair Orrill, Kaput Center; and Nima Rahbar, Jenna Fitzgerald Richard Flaherty process is designed to put in place Massachusetts Democratic Party Department of Civil and Environmental Paul Georges a thorough system of accountability Engineering. Congratulations to all on this Alice M. Gunning for educators, schools, and districts. Thomas Gosnell outstanding achievement! Daniel Haacker Moreover, policy changes in education President Joyce Harrington AFT Massachusetts should not be brought about by Susan Leahy Francis McLaughlin gimmicky slogans designed to make Wanted: New Teachers Paul Toner The Advocate is seeking new teachers Bruce Nelson complex issues seem simple. Yet Catherine Patten President and paraprofessionals to contribute to that is exactly the course that Stand James Philip Massachusetts Teachers Association the 2012-2013 New Teacher Diary. is taking by asking voters to provide Bruce Sparfven Contributors receive $300 per column and it with a quick political victory that Richard Stutman Steve Tolman the opportunity to write for a statewide Gale Thomas would not improve public education President audience of more than 25,000 public school in Massachusetts. Stand’s proposal is educators, librarians and public higher Jennifer C. Berkshire, Editor Massachusetts AFL-CIO extremely long and hard to understand. education faculty. Past contributors have 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 The initiative includes 11 sections even won national recognition from the Boston, Mass. 02111 Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 making changes to many different state American Federation of Teachers.To be Fax: 617-423-0174 laws. On Election Day, a voter can only considered, applicants must have ﬁve or www.aftma.net give a yes or no answer. fewer years in the classroom. Send inquiries email@example.com 2 It is worth noting that putting a to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The power of knowledgeHealthy Outcome in Lexington 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 Andy Powell, an AFT unilaterally. He agreed, recallsMassachusetts ﬁeld representative Bateson, stating that the town was speed on the complex issues before Insurance Bargainingand municipal health insurance them, holding weekly ‘brieﬁng’ open to any approach that wouldexpert who worked with the Lexington help it meet the goal of saving $4 meetings at the library that included Partner uplibrarians, says that the experience of 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 inthe new health law shows that when negotiate provided the coalition with considered by the public employee your community, get started today.towns and coalitions work together, an essential ingredient: time. “Weinnovative solutions can be the result. coalition. Says Donovan: “We all did bought ourselves some time to look Get the facts“The cost of health insurance is an the research and it really sunk in: for options that would be amenable to Health insurance issues are complexissue that affects everyone. The way there are costs that we didn’t have but with a little research you can be an both sides,” says Bateson.to address that problem isn’t to force before.” expert in no time.a solution on town employees,” says Fact ﬁnding The hard work of the librariansPowell. “A cooperative process really But getting the town to agree to and their coalition partners paid Consult an expertproduces the 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 of to speed. the ins and outs of the various healthnew for Lexington’s librarians, insurance plans available to municipal the money saved in the form of an Follow the leaderteachers and ﬁrst responders. The employees. They also began to develop improved contribution split, a health Reach out to AFT MA members in com-town was one of the ﬁrst to adopt a deeper understanding of the needs reimbursement account, and money munities that are health insurance successso-called Section 19 coalition of everyone in the coalition, including set aside to help employees pay for stories to learn about their experiences.bargaining back in 1993, a process retirees. “It was a real coalition and no excessive co-pays. “There was really In Lynn, Lexington, Chelsea, Wakeﬁeldby which public employees bargain one was shy about speaking up,” says something for everyone.” and other cities and towns, coalitionswith a municipality as a single Donovan. “What it all came down to The librarians say that in have negotiated cooperative agreementsentity. And while the Lexington though was the idea that we all pay for addition to learning more than they that work for everyone. For more infor-employees had made several changes everyone it isn’t just what’s good for ever thought they’d know about mation contact email@example.com their health plan over the years the teachers or the ﬁreﬁghters—this is health insurance, they also have ain an effort to save the town money, new appreciation for the power of 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- a coalition. Bateson says that the whatever changes are being consideredonly intensiﬁed. Donovan says that hand appreciation of the complexities process established a deep sense of to their health insurance plan. Hold regu-conversation in Lexington is much of health insurance. Before long camaraderie among town employees. lar brieﬁng meetings to keep memberslike that taking place elsewhere in they were ﬂuent in the language of “It was nice to see so many people who informed and don’t sugar coat the issues.the country. “Instead of asking why it premiums, deductibles, co-pays and care so much,” says Bateson.is that everyone doesn’t have decent health reimbursement accounts. And As for the old stereotype of Collect storieshealth care beneﬁts there is a loud when there was something they didn’t librarians being demure ‘marms,’ Too often the debate over health insur-chorus demanding that our beneﬁts armed with nothing more powerful ance is reduced to numbers. But behind understand they asked for help. Thebe brought down to the level of the than a pencil and the power to shush, 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 forget about it, says Donovan. “As or retiree in your community who willDonovan. to great lengths to educate themselves we showed in Lexington, librarians be deeply impacted by health insurance Back in November, Lexington’s about the issues, even recruiting are not afraid to speak up. And we changes? Ask them to share their story.selectmen voted to accept the health nationally recognized health insurance don’t wear our hair in buns anymorecare reform law. The next step: expert Jonathan Gruber to come and either,” she says with a chuckle. “Nowurging the town manager to bargain give a talk at the library. we have tattoos.”with the existing employee coalition Lesley University School of Education 3April 2012
Diary Spring 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 students are still teenagers. of a New Teacher I continue to ﬁnd myself in awe of the modern day teenager. Every day I spend with them I am reminded about By Amanda Perez how hard it is to be a teenager as I am Middle school teacher confronted with how hard it is to teach Sarah Greenwood School, a teenager. When I was working on Dorchester, MA getting my license to teach K-8, I never really considered the 6-8 portion of my Meet the 2011-2012 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
BEHIND T he chalkboard in Michael Maguire’s LETTER MAN classroom at Boston Latin Michael Maguire, Academy is draped with newspaper THE SCENES clippings, a pennant-like display of the a Latin teacher 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 a lot dozen letters to the editor on such issues to say.” as charter schools, teacher evaluation and standardized testing. In 2003, one the night—Meghan is now three, his son Maguire often looks to Julius Caesar for of Maguire’s letters appeared in both Alexander, six—Maguire still writes at inspiration. “Think about ‘All Gaul is the Boston Herald and the Boston least one letter per week. Along the way, divided into three parts’—now there’s a Globe—on the same day. The Globe Maguire has identiﬁed some simple great topic sentence.” He’s also a fan of has since implemented a exclusivity lessons for good letter writing—tips, he rhetorical devices, including rhetorical policy, a change that Maguire can’t help insists, that anyone can follow. Chief questions, metaphor and alliteration. but wonder if he brought about. “It’s a among them: keep it succinct. “Long Finally, Maguire makes sure to stick to thought,” he says. 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, Inspire through teaching Earn your Master of Arts in Teaching at Northeastern Offered through Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies, the Master of Arts in Teaching allows you to secure your master’s degree and teacher’s license in as few as 12 months. graduate certiﬁcate www.northeastern.edu/cps/MAT or call 1.877.668.7727 Next classes begin July 2, 2012 5April 2012
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 eveningdomination by one religion to read and their multiple curriculums thatthat President Kennedy wanted to the bases, asking state governors the past 10 years, while funding per include liberal arts courses. But iteliminate religion from public life. to increase spending on K-12, stop student has increased for other types will take more than a few dollars toSenator Santorum later said that he cutting funding for state colleges and of colleges and universities. develop the education needed forwished he had the line back. universities, and proposing an $8 Governor Patrick praised workplace development. Senator Santorum’s calling Obama billion Community College to Career community colleges for their multiple There’s no reason that bachelora “snob” for wanting everyone to go Fund to train students for “targeted, roles of preparing students for granting colleges and universitiesto college was equally puzzling. After certiﬁed training for jobs in rapidly bachelor degrees, providing post- can’t also educate students for jobssome dancing around the need for growing industries.” (Whitehouse secondary remedial education, and in technical ﬁelds. Jobs are a goodhigher education for a good job in themodern economy, which mirrored blog) “We’re talking about somebody satisfying intellectual needs for all age students but focused on training ▪ thing.President Obama’s position, Sen. going to a community college workers for new careers. He called on Dan Georgianna is the ChancellorSantorum used statistics to argue and getting trained ... for that the state’s business leaders to join the Professor of Economics at UMassthat colleges indoctrinated students manufacturing job that now is Commonwealth in funding community Dartmouth. His column appearsagainst religion. His statistics on requiring somebody walking through colleges for more workplace monthly in the Advocate. Sharestudents giving up religion in college the door handling a million-dollar development. comments with him at dgeorgianna@turned out to be backwards. Religion piece of equipment.” (as quoted by It’s easy to see this as college umassd.edudrop-out rates are higher for young MSNBC.com) education for some and job trainingpeople who don’t go to college. In this January’s State of the for others, a class division that is “Should all students go to college?” Commonwealth Address, Governor widening in the U.S. due to restricted Students, Faculty Stand Upis a serious question, however. This Patrick also asked for additional $10 access to bachelor degrees for students for Public Higher Educationquestion usually refers to students million for community colleges to who can’t afford them. But I think thatpursuing a degree, speciﬁcally a build up workforce development. Governor Patrick is trying to buttress Hundreds of students, faculty $10 million sounds like a lot, but it is the community college system that isbachelor’s degree. The easy answer and staff from public collegesis “no” because some students less than 2% of the total budget for unique to the U.S. in giving students across the Commonwealthprefer education for the trades, community colleges in Massachusetts. multiple chances at education. Nation-wide, funding per student for Education vs. training is based on a converged upon the State-medical ﬁelds, and other good jobs. community colleges has dropped over false comparison, however; education house last month to lobbyPresident Obama tried to cover all is process-oriented, and training is for more resources for higher goal-oriented. The education in Massachusetts. process of education Participants in the day-long shows students event represented nearly every how to make sound public campus in the state, but judgments in delivered a single message: complex situations Public Higher Education is and to how to follow ethical principles critical to the residents of Mas- in community life. sachusetts, to our economy, This process of and to our future, and must be education continues adequately funded. as the subject “Costs have risen dramati- matter changes from cally,” said Melanie T. Mulvey, kindergarten through 21, a senior at the Amherst post-graduate campus. “It’s really hurting the education. university and the state. Low- Can job training follow educational income students are some of processes? Of the people who need these op- course it can. Using portunities the most because President’s Obama’s education really levels the play- example, training for ing ﬁeld.” expensive equipment Mulvey and nearly 400 requires sound other student, staff and faculty judgment and ethical advocates, urged the legisla- principles in working ture to increase the operating with others. It all comes down to good budgets of the 29 campuses teaching within a and to increase the scholarship sound educational account, both by 5%. curriculum. For more information on how The ﬂaw in the training rather than to join the campaign visit www. education strategy is phenomonline.org. the assumption that training can be 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
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 in close proximity to you as the illness could be prolonged. They should be able to be assertive, both with hospital When: Saturday April 14 10 - Noon Where: Presidential Park, Unit 105,care, and advance directive. Whatever themselves, and very often will ask personnel as well as family, without 214 Main Street (Rt. 38), Wilmingtonyou call it, you should deﬁnitely have that one person be spokesperson for alienating them. Make sure they willone. the family. Another reason for the respect your wishes even if they may Protecting Your Nest Egg This document sets forth your importance of having this document not agree with all of them. Make sure Two hour seminar, presented by Elderwishes for health care in the event is that if you cannot make health care they understand that you will continue Law Attorney Mary Howiethat you are ever unable to speak for decisions for yourself, and you do not to make your health care decisions foryourself. The contract that most of us have a document naming someone to yourself as long as you are able. When: Saturday April 28, 10 - Noonhave may simply name the person or do it, your loved ones will have to go Most people make life-ending Where: Presidential Park, Unit 105,persons who will make the decisions through the costly process of having choices while they are in good health. 214 Main Street (Rt. 38), Wilmingtonfor us. Typically, one individual is the decisions made by the court Thus it is very easy at such a time tonamed as decision maker, and if they in case of a dispute among family say, “I do not want any extraordinary Preparing for Retirementare unable to perform the task, an members as to what should be done. measures used at the end.”. But if it A comprehensive 2 hour seminar foralternative candidate. This document is particularly vital if it is necessary for another individual teachers, paras and education support This article focuses primarily upon is a non family member that you wish to make that decision for you, you personnel within 10 years of retiring.why you should have this document. to name. need to be able to trust them to use Note: seminar is offered on multipleThought must be given as to who It is advisable to name only one common sense. Is there a possibility dates.you name and the assurance that the person as primary spokesperson and that, after being on life support, youperson named will fulﬁll your wishes. another as secondary. Multiple people can return to a good quality of life? If Chelmsford: McCarthy Middle Illness, even serious illness, can confuse the process. It should the life support is simply prolonging a School Lecture Hall, 250 North Rd.pays no respect to age. Most of us be someone open to discussing and vegetative state of life they shouldn’t Chelmsford, MAremember the battle that was waged in keeping other family members in the agree. If you believe quality of life is When: Monday April 9, 4-6 PMour newspapers between parents and loop, but not intimidated by others in more important than quantity of life,a husband in Florida when one party order to fulﬁll your wishes. Whoever be sure they know this. Lynn: Lynn Teachers Union, 679chose to disconnect “life support.” The you name should be someone who Do some reading and thinking on Western Ave.patient was just twenty-ﬁve. This is can handle what this involves. Most the topic and don’t procrastinate if When: Saturday, April 25, 3-5 PM.clear proof that one should not wait importantly, whomever you name you have put off doing one of thesefor “old age” to create a proxy. should be aware that you have documents. If you don’t know what Upton: Blackstone Valley Vocational With privacy so strictly adhered selected them. It should be someone measures you want and don’t want, Regional School, 65 Pleasant Street.to in hospitals, doctors and nurses you trust completely, can discuss how can you expect your loved ones towill no longer divulge information tojust anyone. They want the patient’s what measures you do or don’t want, and most importantly, that they have know? ▪ When: Tuesday, May 1, 2:30-4:30 PM For details or to register for any ofpermission to do so, and when he/ common sense in making decisions. It Marie Ardito’s column appears the above seminars, contact Marieshe cannot give this permission they is important that you convey to them regularly in the Advocate. Contact her with questions or column ideas at Ardito at 1-617-482-1568 or e-mailwill speak only to those authorized that you expect them to use discretion firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com one of these documents. Also, in the process. The person should liveThe 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 what she did for 32 years: educating. Dickinson says that she’s particularly herself had been busy teaching and Two editorials by Dickinson on the pleased at the participation of retirees raising two children. That all changed, Occupy movement and the importance in the protests. “One gentleman is though, says Dickinson. One day the of citizen activism have appeared in 80 and uses an oxygen tank, another couple was watching TV footage of the the Cape Cod Times in recent months. woman has a walker—I feel honored to Arab 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