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  • 1. Boston, MA 02111 Suite 402 38 Chauncy Street AFT Massachusetts December 2011Future Unclear for Lawrence SchoolsA palpable sense of anxiety hangs over the Lawrence Public Schools these days. Last month,state education officials designatedthree more schools in the city as“Level 4,” bringing the total numberof chronically underperformingschools there to five. Officials alsoannounced that they are considering astate takeover of the entire district, amove backed by William Lantigua, theembattled mayor of Lawrence. If the Lawrence Public Schoolsare indeed placed into receivership—meetings of union leaders, SchoolCommittee members, teachers andparents to discuss the issue werescheduled for late November—it willmark the first time that the statehas ever taken over a district. But IN THE BALANCE State officials recently designated three more Lawrence In This Issue schools as underperforming, including two small schools that are part offor educators and students in the Lawrence High. Now the mayor of that city is calling for a state takeover.city’s schools, the news comes as 2 President’s Columnjust the latest in a series of headlines “We have an unbelievable lack of another: “It’s terrifying not knowing Bold Print leadership at the top in Lawrence. what’s going to happen next or evenand setbacks. Former schools chiefWilfredo Laboy is awaiting trial for There is no one at the helm,” says how the decisions about our future are 3 Protesting “Rhee-form” McLaughlin, who notes that educators going to be made.” AFT MA Scholarshipscharges of fraud and embezzlement, in the city have been without awhile a search to replace the interimsuperintendent, Mary Lou Bergeron, contract for two years. “Morale is as Demographic challenge 4 Diary of a New Teacher low as it’s ever been and teachers feel To spend even a little time inwas recently suspended. MayorLantigua, who heads the school totally demoralized.” a Lawrence public school is to be 5 Behind the Scenes: Want no On a recent tour through several made aware of the immensity of cost and low cost classroomcommittee, is the target of a federal supplies? Meet ExCL Lawrence Public Schools, the theme of the challenges facing educatorscorruption probe. a leadership vacuum was echoed again here. Ninety percent of students areA lack of leadership and again by teachers, most of whom Hispanic, most with origins in the 6 On Campus: ‘The times they Dominican Republic, and few speak are a-changin’ Frank McLaughlin, president of asked to remain anonymous, fearfulthe Lawrence Teachers Union and of the consequences of speaking on English as a first language. It is not uncommon for students to arrive from 7 Retiree Corner The Golden Apple: Cartoonista history teacher at Lawrence High the record. “We need support in ourSchool, says that the schools don’t classrooms and we need leadership,” the Dominican Republic in the middle Joseph Quigleyneed receivership but leadership. said one high school teacher. Said of the school year. Continued on page 8Unintended ConsequencesA contradiction between state law and one agency’s regulations As more communitiesis causing some part-time workers,including librarians and educators join the Group Insurance If you’d like to receive anwho work more than 20 hours a week Commission, a growingbut less than full-time to lose health electronic version of theinsurance benefits. The problem is number of part-time Advocate, send an email toan unintended consequence of recent employees are losing advocate@aftma.net. Pleaselaws passed on Beacon Hill that makeit easier for cities and towns to move their health insurance. include your home mailingpublic employees into the Group address for identification.Insurance Commission or GIC. says Powell. While state law requires that As more cities and towns seekmunicipalities provide health to shift their employees into the Did you know that yourinsurance to employees who work 20 Group Insurance Commission in an AFT MA membership effort to save money, this problem ishours a week or more, the GIC requires likely to grow. In Wakefield, where entitles you to discountsthat employees must also participatein a state or local retirement system town employees including teachers, on insurance products?in order to be eligible for insurance. librarians and firefighters are being STAND OUT Kirk Womack and For more information visit shifted into the GIC effective JanuaryAnd that’s where the problem lies, says 1st, 13 part-time employees will lose Russell Paulding from the Urban the benefits page of ourAFT Massachusetts municipal health Science Academy in West Roxbury their health benefits unless a remedy is participate in a recent protest website:insurance specialist Andy Powell.“In cities and towns where these found. Nearly 100 full-time long-term intended to call attention to the www.aftma.net/member-employees aren’t part of the retirement substitute teachers and building based fact that teachers in the Boston benefits/ educators have already lost health Public Schools have been without asystem they’re losing their health coverage in Lawrence, which moved its contract for more than a year. Moreinsurance. Joining the GIC shouldn’t employees into the GIC last year. than 4,000 Boston educators joinedcause harm to municipal employees the early morning action.but that’s exactly what’s happening,” Continued on page 2
  • 2. BOLD taken effect. Basically the new law requires public employees to work longer for a smaller pension. The public PRINT Thomas J. Gosnell sector unions were able to prevent more severe measures from being President, AFT Massachusetts enacted, but particularly for lower paid Best laid plans employees pensions will be lower than Richard Christiano, professor of current employees will receive. facilities planning and management at theChallenges Here, There, Everywhere Some good items are in the bill. Currently the cost of living allowance Wentworth Institute of Technology and a member of the Wentworth Faculty Federation, was recently honored withT his school year and the next an award from the International Facilities school year will continue to pose Management Association (IFMA), Boston challenges that will require us to chapter. Christiano, who served oncontinue to fight hard and smart, to IFMA’s Sustainability Committee beforethink creatively, to work collaboratively being appointed as vice president ofwhen we can, and to get for the education for the Boston chapter, wonstudents the resources they need to an award for Education and Professional Development. File under good planning!obtain a superior education.New evaluation system The development of a new Leading in Lynnevaluation system for teachers Phil McQueen, an English teacher incontinues to be a center stage issue. Lynn and a member of Lynn LocalAllegedly every school system must be 1037, recently completed training inmoving toward an evaluation system the AFT’s Education, Research andthat will comply with the requirements Dissemination or ER&D program atset by the Board of Elementary and The Maritime Institute in Baltimore.Secondary Education - For example McQueen has been teaching English, ESLthe only allowable evaluation marks ELECTION QUESTION Candidate for US Senate Elizabeth Warren meets and AP Language and Composition in theare exemplary, proficient, needs with members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Lynn Public Schools at the middle andimprovement, and unsatisfactory. high school levels for the past 14 years.The latter two marks are considered while at the same time will ensure applies to the first $12,000 of a He previously taught in Japan. McQueenunacceptable and will require teachers that due process protections against pension. Now it will apply to the first says that he’s thrilled by the opportunity arbitrary and punitive actions are in full $13,000. AFT MA will send out a flyer to provide quality professionalto enter a program to demonstrate operations. development to the members of his local.immediate improvement. explaining the bill. Congratulations Phil. Teachers know better than anyoneBargaining still applies else what an outstanding teacher is. Senate election Even though new statewide While we do not applaud all aspects of Next year’s Senate election isrequirements exist, collective the new system and indeed are quite important. AFT MA will carefully Porter Prizebargaining still applies in many areas. vocal in our opposition to aspects of it, review all the candidates’ positions The UMass Faculty Federation, LocalTherefore, local communities and opportunities do exist for us to put our to determine whether we can find a 1895 has presented the Jay Porter candidate who will fight for working ▪unions can negotiate about many imprint on what happens this year. scholarship to two undergraduatesaspects of evaluations. Local unions women and men. sophomore students at the University ofcan put forward proposals that will seek Pension changes If you have any questions or Massachusetts Dartmouth. The awardsto establish a system that will enable all A new pension law for those hired comments, email me at tgosnell@ are named in honor of Jay Porter, a long-teachers to become even better teachers on January 1, 2012 and thereafter has aftma.net. time AFT MA field representative who worked with faculty and staff at UMass Health Law Has Unintended Consequences Dartmouth. This year’s winners are Cody Potvin, a sophomore student with Continued from cover a 3.7 grade point average and Jordan Part-timers on the rise Benson also a sophomore student City officials there have filed a so- For municipal employees, the with a 3.8 GPA each received a $500.00 The official publication of called home rule petition to remedy change in the insurance law coincides scholarship in memory of Jay Porter, long AFT Massachusetts, AFL-CIO the situation. with a rise in the number of part- time AFT/MA filed representative to local For part-time municipal employees time workers employed by cities 1895. Both students have a parent who Thomas J. Gosnell, President who suddenly find themselves without and towns. Librarian Dan Haacker, are AFSCME members with an additional Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer health insurance there are few good who serves as the vice president parent who is a member of Teamsters VICE PRESIDENTS options in a state where the cost of of the Massachusetts Library Staff local 140. Jay would be proud! insurance ranks among the highest Association, which represents Patricia Armstrong Deborah Blinder in the country. Notes Powell: “We employees at public libraries across Sean Bowker live in a state that mandates that the state, says that libraries in Kathryn Chamberlain Massachusetts residents have health particular are seeing once full-time School on the move Brenda Chaney Congratulations to the faculty and staff insurance and suddenly, through employees replaced by part-time staff Kathy Delaney at the Clarence R. Edwards Middle no fault of their own, we have part- as cash-strapped cities deal with a Catherine Deveney School in Charlestown. The school is Patricia Driscoll time employees who are seeing their rising tide of red ink. “When a full- the recipient of the 6th annual $100,000 Marianne Dumont coverage dropped.” time person retires a part-timer is Thomas W. Payzant School on the J. Michael Earle hired in their place,” says Haacker, Move Prize. The prize was awarded by Margaret Farrell Question of authority who is the assistant director of the EdVestors, a Boston-based school change Mary Ferriter Last summer lawmakers passed a Milton Public Library. organization focused on sustaining Jenna Fitzgerald bill that makes it far easier for cities improvement in urban schools. The Richard Flaherty Paul Georges and towns to move their employees Be prepared first middle school to qualify for the Alice M. Gunning into the GIC. But the GIC’s regulation With many more municipalities prize, the Edwards has seen consistent Daniel Haacker that an employee must belong to a likely to be joining the GIC in the improvement in recent years and is Joyce Harrington retirement system has created a huge coming year, it is inevitable that considered a model for collaborative Susan Leahy education reform. Last spring AFT gap in health insurance coverage for more part-time employees will find Francis McLaughlin president Randi Weingarten visited Bruce Nelson part-time municipal workers whom themselves facing the loss of health the law says are entitled to health insurance coverage. That makes it the school to call attention to the role Catherine Patten of its faculty and staff for leading the James Philip insurance. Because local retirement essential for local unions to identify Bruce Sparfven successful school improvement initiative. boards are not required to include early on exactly who among their Richard Stutman Congratulations to everyone at the part-time employees, these employees members is likely to be affected and Edwards for their hard work! Gale Thomas are now faced with loss of health try to negotiate a remedy as part of Jennifer C. Berkshire, Editor insurance coverage if their community any agreement with the city or town, 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 decides to join the GIC. says Powell. “Municipalities aren’t The Advocate loves good news. If you’ve won Boston, Mass. 02111 “It isn’t realistic for every city and joining the GIC so that they can see an award, attended a conference, given a Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 Fax: 617-423-0174 town that runs into this problem to go their employees lose coverage but performance, etc, let us know. Send your directly to the legislature,” says AFT that’s the unfortunate consequence of good news to advocate@aftma.net or call ▪ www.aftma.net advocate@aftma.net MA general counsel Haidee Morris. the new health law.” 617.423.3342 x 235. 2
  • 3. Educators, Students Give “Rhee-form” a Failing Grade took the stage. Former chancellor of the Rhee was greeted by a crowd of Washington DC public educators and students who were protesting outside. Among them were schools Michelle Rhee members of the Boston Teachers continues to provoke Union, the Teacher Activist Group, Alliance for Educational Justice and controversy and strong the Boston Area Youth Organizing opinions. Her admirers Project, which represents students in and detractors were both the Boston Public Schools. “The outpouring of demonstrators on hand when she visited shows there are a number of true Boston to speak on education reformers who think [Rhee’s] policies are bankrupt,” education reform. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Mainardi suggested Richard Stutman, presidentBy Matthew Robinson of the BTU. Jennifer Doe, an organizerAdvocate correspondent from Massachusetts Jobs withT Justice which sponsored the protest, o her admirers, Michelle Rhee, argued that the policies that Rhee the former chancellor of the implemented in Washington created Washington DC schools is a havoc for students, teachers and themiracle worker who led that district community in general. Said Doe:from among the worst in the country “We believe that teachers and parentsto one that saw surging test scores, should work together to create aenrollment and graduation rates. system with adequate staffing that isTo her detractors, the woman who PROTEST PARADE Protests greeted Michelle Rhee, the controversial former supportive of all students.”was featured in the film “Waiting chancellor of the Washington DC schools, when she visited Boston lastfor Superman” is anything but a Difference of opinion month. Protestors charge that Rhee has demonized public school teachers and created a culture of cheating and test score inflation.heroine. They regard Rhee as a Others said that they were movedunion buster who has demonized to join the protest because of Rhee’s issues. Tenured teachers are the first speak as he pushed his way toward theteachers and stripped educators of key positions on specific issues affecting to stand up in the face of bad policy entrance of Symphony Hall.workplace protections. As for those teachers. Ross Kochman, a sixth grade decisions for our students. If we lose Though Rhee may have been themuch vaunted test scores? Rhee’s ELA teacher at the Harbor School in tenured teachers because we abandon focal point of the protest, Framinghamcritics point to mounting evidence of Dorchester and a co-founder of the seniority-based layoffs than our special education teacher Amirahcheating on standardized tests in the Boston chapter of the Teacher Activist students lose some of their strongest Goldberg suggested that the protestDC public schools. Group, criticized Rhee’s campaign to allies.” was really about ‘reframing the Both camps were on hand when eliminate tenure. “I disagree with her On this night of protest and discussion’ about education reform.Rhee spoke at Symphony Hall last assumption that great teachers are provocation, however, even that view “Rhee and others want us to believemonth as part of the Boston Speakers lost through seniority based layoffs,” was controversial. “Nobody has a that the problem with our schools isSeries. And even Rhee admitted to said Kochman, noting that he himself job for life,” announced a ten-year ‘failing teachers’ and the teachers’being “highly controversial” when she had been laid off due to seniority teacher who’d come out to hear Rhee union. But the real issue in our schools is that we’re being asked to do more with less.” Goldberg says that her caseload has been getting bigger 2012 AFT MA Scholarship Program every year, even as the programs and support staff to help struggling O nce again AFT Massachusetts teacher, or principal by Monday, students are eliminated. will be awarding scholarships December 13th. A packet including Wanted: civilized dialogue to eight eligible high school seniors one labor history study guide and To hear Rhee say it, though, she and who are dependents of AFT MA one application is sent to each high her detractors may not be so far apart. members. Every year AFT MA school in the state in November. A As the protestors paraded outside, awards eight $1500 scholarships study guide is also available on our Rhee told the audience that she too on the basis of a labor history exam website. wanted to cooperate and collaborate administered by the Massachusetts This year’s labor history exam in the name of children. “Teachers AFL-CIO, in cooperation with will be given on Wednesday, know our system needs to be changed,” the Massachusetts Department February 1. Once a student has Rhee suggested. “The only way that of Education. One additional submitted an application to AFT can happen is to come together and scholarship is being awarded by the Massachusetts and notified a have civilized dialogue.” Continued AFT MA Professional Staff Union in guidance counselor, he or she is Rhee: We need to “honor, respect, and memory of long-time AFT MA field considered registered for the exam. recognize teachers for the incredibly representative Jay Porter. To be considered for the Additional scholarships difficult work they do every day.” Additional scholarships But the educators gathered scholarships, named in honor are also available through the outside charge that civilized dialogue of Albert Shanker and Sandra Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Be sure is impossible as long as self-styled Feldman, both former presidents to visit www.mass.aflcio.org/ reformers like Rhee paint public of the American Federation of scholarship-program to learn school teachers as the enemy. “Real Teachers, and Jay Porter, the about other opportunities. school change can’t happen when student must be a dependent of an Last year ten children of AFT you insult and dismiss educators and AFT MA member and a high school Massachusetts members were families,” said Jen Rose-Wood, an senior. The student must also attend awarded $1500 scholarships. English teacher at Brookline High a college or other post-secondary The 2011 winners include Moira School who helped to organize the school in the fall of 2012. McCrave, Marysa Angelli, Emily protest. “We are valuable people with Applications LaRochelle, Eric Muench, Deirda valuable experience and we should be a powerful voice in the process of ▪ Applications for the 2012 McLaughlin, Sarah Stutman, scholarships are available on the Samantha Torpey, Elizabeth Parks, change.” AFT MA website: www.aftma. John Powers and James Fiore. net. The deadline for submitting Congratulations to last year’s Matthew Robinson teaches English applications is December 19. winners and good luck to all of this and journalism at Burke High School To take the labor history exam, students should apply directly to year’s applicants. ▪ For more information call in Dorchester. Send comments to ad- vocate@aftma.net their guidance office, social studies 617.423.3342. 3December 2011
  • 4. Diary R emember when you were young and everyone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? I do. I played games like house and would always insist on being the of a New Teacher mom, but my playmates would tell me that wasn’t enough; I had to have a real job too. I always chose to be a teacher By Joyce Melker because it was the one job that let me Special needs paraprofessional, be with the younger children that I so Watson Elementary enjoyed. Fall River, MA Flash forward to today and I am a wife, a mother and an educator. I am Meet the 2011-2012 a paraprofessional in the Fall River New Teacher Diarists school system—and I love it. This year I began working at Watson ElementaryBill Madden-Fuoco and my new appointment has placedA humanities teacher at the Urban Science me in a position where I feel that I canAcademy in West Roxbury, Bill was also a be of the most use. It’s a well-knownsemi-finalist in the state’s 2012 Teacher of fact that if students aren’t able to grasp TEACHER IN TRAINING Fall River paraprofessional Joyce Melker is studyingthe Year contest. the basics taught in elementary school, to become a teacher through the JET program at UMass Dartmouth.Robert Tobio they will continue to fall farther and but also nineteen sisters and one have become a woman on a mission: toRobert teaches math and special education farther behind in the upper grades. Asat the Mary Lyon Pilot School in Brighton brother who share my enthusiasm for continue my work as a special education a special needs/inclusion para I workand previously taught at Monument High in teaching. We support and encourage instructor and help the children who with children who face tremendousSouth Boston, which closed last spring. one another when the trials of being need me the most. challenges in school. Sometimes we students, teachers and parents begin This May I will graduate with aMelissa McDonald have a diagnosis and documentation to pile up. We’ve even a slogan: “Don’t bachelor’s degree. But it doesn’t endA fifth grade teacher at the Parthum of a learning disability; other times be a baby duck! Lead. Teach.” For us there. I’m also working on my master’sElementary School in Lawrence, Melissa learning problems are the result of the image of a brood of yellow fluffy in teaching as well as a certification inis returning to teaching after a year of stress and anxiety over situations ducklings following along behind the special education for children with mildmaternity leave. outside of school. Regardless of the mother also represents that of a teacher to moderate disabilities. cause of a child’s learning difficulties myJoyce Melker and her eager students. As I look forward to graduation I’m goal is simple: I want to be the teacherA paraprofessional at the Watson Elemen- Some people are really good at conscious of the fact that for me this who encourages children to look pasttary School in Fall River, Joyce is a student sitting back and taking it easy. Not me. is only the beginning. As a life-long their current problems and see thein the JET teacher training program at I am happiest when my plate is full and resident of Fall River and a product of potential in themselves that I see.UMass Dartmouth. I am in a constant state of motion. In a public school education, I know that While working at the Henry LordMatthew Robinson 2001, I learned the most difficult lesson there are quality educators in our city School in Fall River my principalMatthew is beginning his second year of my life: Life is short and there are no who truly care about the work they encouraged me to apply to the Journeyteaching English and journalism at the second chances. That year my mother do. It’s a challenge and an opportunity into Education and Teaching programBurke High School in Dorchester. died after a short illness, and our son, for me to give back to the city I am at UMass Dartmouth and become a now thirteen, was diagnosed as severely proud to call home. For me, there isRiana Good teacher. It crossed my mind at the and profoundly autistic and showed no better feeling than breaking throughWhile Riana is technically no longer a new time that maybe I was getting too very few signs of ever improving. The the barriers and seeing the light bulb ofteacher, this Spanish teacher at the Boston old to go back to school, but with the combination of these two events has acknowledgement go on in the eyes ofTeachers Union School in Jamaica Plain says encouragement of my husband I took changed the course of my life and a child with a learning disability. I can’tthat she still feels like a ‘newby.’ a shot. The JET program uses a cohort turned me into a crusader for children, think of a better challenge than that to model and it has been wonderful. I have not only gained more knowledge, especially those with disabilities. I take on every day. ▪ Lesley University School of Education 4 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  • 5. BEHIND A re you looking for free supplies EXTRAS Lindsay and materials for your classroom? Keyes, executive Extras for Creative Learning THE SCENES can help. The nonprofit organization, director of Extras for Creative which recently relocated from Boston Learning, surveys to Lynn, takes materials that area a calendar clock. Extras for Creative businesses no longer want and ExCL which recently relocated provides them to teachers at little to Learning no cost. On a recent weekday, Jodi from Boston to Schmidt and Lindsay Keyes, who Lynn, accepts donations of www.exclrecycles.org oversee the operation, were celebrating materials from the arrival of hundreds of pounds area businesses of sidewalk chalk, a pile of calendar for teachers and A Lynn nonprofit takes clocks and thousands upon thousands artists to use in donated supplies and of popsicle sticks. Explains Schmidt: their classrooms materials from area “We have all of these interesting tactile at no or low cost. things for teachers and artists to use, businesses—and gives and because we get them in bulk you’re them to teachers and able to get all of what you need.” currently able to join for $25 thanks While most of their patrons are artists for use in the The thirty-year old organization, to a generous donation for the local teachers, ExCL also welcomes artists classroom. which had its headquarters in the United Way). The membership entitles for whom the cost of supplies can basement of the Boston Latin School teachers to six shopping trips, during be prohibitive. Schmidt became a until this fall, is one of several in New which they can take away as much passionate ExCL member as a result of England that provide surplus materials as they like. During a typical visit a her experiences teaching art in several for use by educators and artists. The teacher leaves with an average of $224 Massachusetts public schools. As a concept is simple: businesses, from worth of materials, says Schmidt. And young teacher in Worcester she taught small offices to major manufacturers, while some objects obviously lend 30 art classes per week on a budget donate supplies that they no longer themselves to classroom use others that amounted to less than a dollar have use for. “It could be paper that’s require a more creative approach. And per child. “This is a way of making art headed to the shredder, binders, that’s part of the fun, says Schmidt. projects affordable,” says Schmidt. even the contents of a desk,” explains When a local company donated “Teachers get free supplies, kids get Keyes, who serves as ExCL’s executive thousands of cell phone cases it didn’t materials, and businesses get rid of director. “It doesn’t make sense for take Schmidt and Keyes long to come stuff they don’t need. It really works for them to throw away staplers and tape— those are things that teachers need.” up with a function for them. “They make a perfect carrying case for flash everybody.” ▪ Businesses that donate their leftovers cards,” says Schmidt. There is also Extras for Creative Learning is located get a tax write off, while educators an area of for-sale items, including at 20 Wheeler Street in Lynn. Contact get access to a limitless—and ever furniture. The most expensive item at them at 781.599.9939 or visit www. changing—array of items for use in the present is a top-of-the-line wooden exclrecycles.org for more information classroom. white board that ExCL is selling for about hours of operation and Individuals pay $50 for a 12 month $50. “Even the items that we charge for membership. membership (Lynn teachers are are very low cost,” says Keyes. Enrich Your Career at Northeastern University Gain the knowledge, skills, and perspective you need to move ahead in your career. MAT and Licensure Programs Master of Education (MEd) • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) • Higher Education Administration - Elementary Education Licensure (I) • Learning and Instruction - Secondary Education Licensure (I) • Special Education • Teacher in Context (for secondary practicing teachers Doctor of Education with preliminary license) (I) • Educational Leadership (K-12) • Special Education (Moderate Disabilities) (I,P) • Higher Education Administration • Mathematics and Science (P) • Jewish Education Leadership • Principal Licensure • Organizational Leadership and Communication I = Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure P = Leads to Professional Teacher Licensure Apply today. Winter classes start on 1/9/12 and 2/20/12. www.northeastern.edu/cps | 1.877.668.7727 5December 2011
  • 6. On Campus Dan Georgianna, Political Director UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895For Higher Education, Times are A-Changing“Massive college debt RISING COSTS by faculty “anxiety that they’ve lost control of the institution.”threatens not only col- The cost of higher education Both books agree that there arelege students’ futures but is growing at double or more too many administrators who create the rate of the cost of living.the financial health of the unproductive work for productive The rising cost of college— faculty and staff. Higher Educationeconomy. I see little dif- and the uncertain job pros- quotes statistics showing that collegeference between college pects for college graduates— administrators per 1,000 students hasdebt and mortgage debt is proving to be a combustible doubled since 1976. combination. It is easy to see both books asin a long term recession. laments for the loss of the good oldBoth give hostages to the days when liberal arts professors tenured and tenure-track faculty. our money and failing our kids”: cutfuture.” They add that administrators make costs and reduce reliance on student ruled. Still, the excessive reliance on loans, the peculiarity of tenure, and work for themselves at excessive loans, eliminate courses that focusM ore than at any time since the the surfeit of administrators ring true salaries, their numbers increasing on training rather than on education, mid 1960s, “the times they are with me. exponentially as the number of full- abolish tenure because it doesn’ta-changing.” Unlike the 1960s, few time faculty are decreasing, and most protect academic freedom, eliminate Mortgaging the futureof these changes appear promising. college staff, especially those in sports sabbaticals and research that detracts Colleges are too expensive, andGlobal warming, a financial crisis that and non-academic student services, from teaching, and spin off university massive college debt threatens notdoesn’t seem to end, and the world- don’t contribute anything to higher research centers. Given the choice only college students’ futures but thewide recession that it caused evoke education. between funding research faculty or financial health of the economy. I seeimages of sea water lapping at our adjunct faculty, they want adjunct Broken promises little difference between college debtdoor steps, worthless currency, and faculty paid more, with office space and mortgage debt in a long termunemployment. The authors’ central concern is and other facilities. recession. Both give hostages to the Higher education also doesn’t seem the rising cost of higher education, The fall of the faculty future.as promising for faculty, staff and growing at double or more the rate of Tenure does not protect academicstudents as it did a generation ago. the cost of living. Four years of college The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise freedom for the 2/3rds of the faculty As its title suggest, Higher costs anywhere between $50,000 and of the All-Administrative University who are not covered by the tenureEducation: How Colleges are Wasting $250,000 and few graduate in four and Why It Matters by Benjamin system. The end of tenure would beOur Money and Failing Our Kids years. College cost is rising because Ginsberg, also a college professor at a terrible blow to academic freedom,- And What We Can Do About It is students and their parents are willing a major university (Johns Hopkins), but privileges for the few cannot longnot a comfortable read for people to pay, mostly by mortgaging their agrees with much of the problems survive restrictions for the many.who work in higher education. The futures. Student debt approaches $1 in college education portrayed by There are too many administrators,authors (Andrew Hacker and Claudia trillion in the U.S., about double the Higher Education, especially the and they have too much power. TheDreifus, one full-time and the other national debt of Greece that threatens declining quality of education, but model of faculty and administratorspart-time professors at Queens the economies of Europe and the rest places the blame squarely on the on leave from teaching determiningUniversity) portray most faculty as of the world. increases in numbers and control curriculum and pedagogy has mostlyself-serving and overpaid, especially The authors’ solutions to “wasting by administrators. The author sees disappeared. More troubling, teaching the major problem as is only one of many divisions at most confusing ends with universities, often on an equal footing means. For faculty, with administration and finance, human and physical student services, fund raising, and structures in colleges athletics. and universities are Other, more positive, changes a means to the twin are occurring on college campuses, goals of teaching and however. The faculty who were research; for college hired in the 1970s had to fight for administrators, academic freedom and control of teaching and research the curriculum in the golden age of are the means to the tenure-track appointments. Younger end, the financial faculty, both tenure-track and adjunct, viability of the who replaced them came through a institution. tougher process. They will either keep He wants faculty their heads down in the self-seeking to take back control environment of the modern university of education and or join together to create a new, better research by convincing paradigm of teaching and learning. My boards of trustees, the media, students, parents, and alumni money’s on the latter. ▪ Dan Georgianna is the Chancellor that administrative Professor of Economics at UMass power is misplaced and Dartmouth. Share comments with focus should return to him at dgeorgianna@umassd.edu teaching and research driven by faculty control. By contrast, Higher Education argues that research subtracts from teaching and much shared governance is wasteful, driven 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  • 7. Retiree Corner SENIOR SEMINAR Preparing for Retirement Marie Ardito, Co-founder Are you planning to retire in the Massachusetts Retirees United near future? Learn the ins and outs www.retireesunited.org of preparing for retirement, includ- ing Medicare, working in retirement, pensions and other issues. Don’t beCelebrating a Legislative Victory caught by surprise! When: Thursday, January 12 (snowA sk and you shall receive” may work in prayer but when it comesto legislative issues one should not between what your pension is and your salary would have been had you remained working plus $15,000 to January 1975 and were you forced to take unpaid leave for maternity reasons prior to that date: January 18) Where: Billerica, MA, location andonly ask to have a bill filed but also additional. This bill took close to four date? time to be announced.work to get it passed. In between the years to bring to completion. 2. Did you have a child within 9“asking” and the “receiving” are years The second bill, The Maternity months after leaving? Contact Marie Ardito for details atof research and education on the issue Bill, took over ten years to reach the 3. Did you return at some future 1-617-482-1568 or e-mail mardito@to justify the bill’s passage. Governor’s desk. It was first filed date to teaching in a public retireesunited.org. Massachusetts Retirees United by now Registrar Rachel Kaprielian school in Massachusetts?is very proud of the efforts of all its while she was still a representative, 4. Did you retire with less thanmembers in getting two bills filed and and would have allowed those who 80%? We have no problem with thatincluded in the recent Pension Reform were still working to purchase up to 5. Did you retire prior to as it will allow the MTRS time to doBill. Hopefully, by the time you read four years of their unpaid maternity September 2000? this additional work. I have offeredthis column Governor Patrick will leave as long as the leave began to help the MTRS unofficially in thehave signed it. no later than January 1975. Her If you answered yes to all the above process so please direct any questions The first bill will benefit retirees argument was that women retired on you will probably receive an increase to me mardito@retireesunited.orgwho wish to continue working in much lower pensions than their male in your pension. The following is the and get the word out to those whothe public sector after they retire. counterparts because they were forced process that MTRS plans to use. First retired prior to September 2000. IPresently, one can work up to 960 by contract to leave teaching because they will send out an announcement have a database to keep those who willhours or make the difference between of pregnancy. In some instances and questionnaire, most likely benefit updated on the process.what your pension is and what your teachers had to leave as soon as they in January. If the answers to the When one retires the varioussalary would have been had you became pregnant. One teacher told questions above show that you qualify retirement groups in the state sendremained working in the position from me that her administrator warned her for the benefit, they will pull your file letters of invitation to join theirwhich you retired, whichever happens “not to dare to wear maternity clothes to verify the information. They will organization. They promise a lotfirst. In other words yearly raises for to school”! then add to the creditable service but Massachusetts Retirees Unitedactive teachers increase what they can This bill, for which MRU is solely you had at the time you retired the delivers. Thanks to all who helpedearn. This is calculated on a calendar responsible, will extend the same number of years for which you qualify with their emails and phone callsyear not a contract year. The bill that benefits to those who were retired at (up to a maximum of four years) to bring these two bills to fruition.MRU was instrumental in getting the time the original bill passed. You and recalculate your pension. The Persistence pays off and unity bringsfiled and re-filed yearly increased thatamount by $15,000. So going forward,assuming that the Governor signs it, are probably eligible if you can answer yes to all of the following questions: 1. Were you teaching in a public House version of the bill says that the increase cannot occur until July 2012, however the Conference Committee success! ▪you will be able to earn the difference school in Massachusetts prior version uses an April 2012 date.The Golden with whom we came in contact within and beyond the classroom. The adage about life being an education was more no limit to what could be brought into the classroom. My students Apple than a platitude. It was reality. Having come from various backgrounds and experiences our may not have been as lucky as I had been, but that did not mean they teachers instilled in us a desire to should be limited. The By Joseph Quigley learn as much as we could so when it suits of armor, harpoons, came to our turn to teach, we would go model ships, biologicalW hen I was young I wanted to beyond what the curriculum called for specimens, old books, become a priest, not odd for a and educate the whole person. historic artifacts and boy growing up Boston Irish We had teachers who had spent other such items thatCatholic in the 1950’s. I came to know their youth in such settings as the comprised the furniturethe Salesians of Don Bosco, whose Spanish Civil War, Europe before, and decorations inmission was to teach youth. Its founder during, and after World War II, the my homes duringstarted by gathering abandoned youth Middle East, and parts of Asia, and the summer monthsin Italy and teaching them a trade some had to escape before the Iron made their way intoalong with academics. Curtain came down. Our curriculum my classrooms during I attended a “Juniorate,” a type of was typical of any high school, but the year so studentsboarding school, in historic Ipswich, it was supplied by people with life could see, touch, andMassachusetts, housed on what had experiences beyond anything we might experience what theybeen the estate of the descendants of have experienced in our home towns, encountered in textbooks.John Proctor of Salem Witch Trial and often delivered in unconventional the cultures from which our students It was as if the teachers I had in highfame, and the international aspect ways. would come, and to respect and school were in the room with me, andof the order meant that we not only History was learned through its address students in accordance with I was often able to pass on what I hadhad a faculty from the United States, participants. Because of the multi- how they were raised and influenced. received from first hand sources.but from countries around the world. acre nature of our school’s property What was instilled was the necessity Sadly, though, with the presentThe students were also from many we learned from, and to care for the of educating the whole student, going emphasis on testing and test scores,states, including a few from Canada. environment. Astronomy was learned beyond the strict confines of the this approach has been condemned byOur school’s relationship with similar during night walks as the meanings curriculum. Where students might not those who want us to teach to the testschools allowed exposure to teachers and histories of the constellations be able to go out into the greater world, and use all the classroom time for testand students from all over as well. were explained to us. Science was we were to bring it to them. Students preparation. And the students have lostWe were visited by internationalpersonalities, and, because of the a firsthand experience as the lakes, rivers, and wetlands in the area served would learn what was presented, so it was important to present as much as out. ▪Salesian mission, education in all as our laboratory. Our environment humanly possible, and to sometimes do Joseph Quigley is a retired teacherthings was at all times paramount. became a resource, and we were lucky it in unconventional ways. and political cartoonist. His cartoonsEducation was not limited to to have had it. When I first entered teaching appear regularly in the Advocate.academics, but included whatever Because our influences were as an English teacher and later as alessons could be learned from those multi-cultural, we learned to respect special education teacher, there wasDecember 2011 7
  • 8. Future Unclear in Lawrence GREAT EXPECTATIONS Dianne Traynor, an Continued from cover A.P. English teacher years. That approach holds that large at Lawrence High “Anyone making urban schools should be divided into School, says that smaller autonomous units, resembling decisions that will affect more closely the size and structure of more turmoil in the city’s schools is teachers in Lawrence private schools. The new campus of the last thing that needs to spend time in Lawrence High School reflects that Lawrence students belief in its very architecture. Each need. “The students our classrooms and in the of the six small schools has its own are fearful—you can hallways of our schools. facility, while students who attend the feel it in the air.The individual schools wear designated time they spend here You need to walk in our uniforms. Of the schools that were in our classrooms shoes.” recently classified as chronically is the safest most underperforming by the state, two, structured part of —Kathy Delaney, guidance their lives and they Business, Management and Finance and counselor, South Lawrence East really depend on us.” the International School, were divisions Middle School of Lawrence High School. Meanwhile, after the reapplication process. “It was to monitor accountability measuresAnd whether these new students speak the Gates Foundation, the single largest a really wrenching experience—very piles up.English or not, that is the language in funder of the move to break up large hard on morale,” says Delaney, who iswhich they must be taught—and tested. urban schools, has begun to move away also a vice president of the Lawrence Providing stabilityIn 2002 Massachusetts voters approved from that approach. Not long after the news broke that Teachers Union. In addition to thea ballot initiative requiring that all Mayor Lantigua was urging the state topublic school students be educated Turnaround tale staff shake up, both schools have also implemented extensive changes take over the Lawrence Public Schools,solely in English. Efforts to improve student in an effort to boost the fortunes of a student approached Dianne Traynor, achievement at the city’s leastSilver bullets? struggling students. The school day has an A.P. English teacher at Lawrence performing schools have intensified been extended, educators are required High. “He came up to me and said ‘I’m In the coming weeks and months a in recent years. After state education to attend professional development sorry you’re going to get fired,’” recallsplethora of policy recommendations will officials classified two Lawrence schools sessions after school as well as on some Traynor, who teaches at the Businessbe made for how best to turn around the as “Level 4” in 2010, educators at the weekends, and to provide after-school Management and Finance school, oneLawrence schools. But Lawrence is no Arlington Elementary School and the tutoring for students. At the Arlington, of two high school units to receive thestranger to school improvement trends. South Lawrence East Middle School where the student population includes a Level 4 designation.Lawrence High School is actually six were forced to reapply for their jobs. substantial number of English language Traynor, like a number of teacherssmall schools, a reflection of the small Kathy Delaney, a guidance counselor learners who aren’t literate in their at the high school, expressed deepschools movement that has swept at middle school, explains that out of own languages, teachers have made a concern about what the uncertain fatethrough public education in recent 51 educators there, just 15 returned major push to reach the families of their of the school will mean for its students. students. The school has even offered “The students are fearful—you can feelFormer Paras Embrace a Challenge English classes to parents in hopes of better involving family members in their it in the air. The time they spend here in our classrooms is the safest mostW hen Genevieve Bard decided to apply for a teaching position atSouth Lawrence East Middle School children’s education. But while both schools saw student structured part of their lives and they really depend on us,” says Traynor. ▪ achievement improve last year asafter it was designated a Level 4 school measured by the state’s MCAS exam,by the state, she admits that she was neither made the kind of progress thattaking a big risk. After all, Bard had restructuring was supposed to produce.worked as a paraprofessional at another The schools are currently in the secondLawrence middle school, the Robert year of a three-year turnaround plan, Photo by Amika Kemmler-ErnstFrost, for nearly years before. “I was up after which still more drastic measuresnear the top professionally,” says Bard, can be implemented. What will happenwho completed her teaching degree— to the schools should the entire districtwith high honors—at the age of 50. “I be placed in receivership remainstook a leap and I’m glad I did it.” unclear. Bard, who now teaches fifth gradescience at South Lawrence East, is Uncertain fateone of six former paraprofessionals or At press time, state officials werebuilding-based educators who’ve gone preparing for two meetings, including aon to become teachers in the city’s level LEAP OF FAITH David Duncan, a public hearing, intended to determinefour schools. Joining Bard are Gretchen former special education para at the fate of the Lawrence Public Schools.Ortiz, Elizabeth Richardo and Heather Lawrence High, is now a full-time Earlier this year the president ofLong, all new teachers at the Arlington teacher at South Lawrence East the Lawrence Teachers Union madeElementary School, and David Duncan Middle School. Duncan is one of headlines by issuing a very publicand Patricia Britton, new teachers at six former paras or building based educators who are now teaching in a invitation to Mitchell Chester, theSouth Lawrence East. state’s Commissioner of Education, to The new teachers picked a Level 4 school in Lawrence. visit to Lawrence for a first-hand lookchallenging time to join the faculty at them to make healthier choices is the at its schools. While Chester hasn’t yetthe schools, both of which are in the best part of the job,” says Duncan. indicated whether he plans to visit themidst of multi-year turnaround plans. Both Duncan and Bard made city, educators here have expressedThe schools now have an extended day, use of the Paraprofessional Teacher repeated concern that state officialsa new teacher evaluation system and Preparation Grant program to pay for simply don’t understand the challengesan intensive professional development their teacher training. The program, that they face. “Anyone makingprogram. Teachers routinely stay late— which AFT Massachusetts helped to decisions that will affect teachers inor come in on weekends—for additional create, offers financial support to paras Lawrence needs to spend time in ourtraining as well as to provide students who want to become full-time teachers, classrooms and in the hallways of ourwith tutoring. as long as they commit to working in the schools,” says Delaney. “You need to “It’s definitely been a big public schools. walk in our shoes.”adjustment,” says David Duncan, For Bard, who grew up in Lawrence, In a recent anonymous survey,who formerly worked as a special the opportunity to teach in its most educators painted a bleak picture ofeducation para in a substantially challenging schools was too tempting crowded classrooms and a physicalseparate classroom at Lawrence High to pass up—even if the road to get there infrastructure in distress: leakingSchool. The 28 year old Duncan now hasn’t been easy. “I had to juggle family, roofs, poor air quality, persistent moldteaches health, including social and work, homework. But if you’re doing problems, crumbling walls and rodentmental health, to more than 500 South what you really want to do you’ll get infestation. Meanwhile, at school afterLawrence East students. “Getting to there,” says Bard. “It’s always been myknow all of the students and helping dream to teach.” ▪ school, teachers reported that morale is sagging even as the paperwork intended 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate