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  • Boston, MA 02111 Suite 402 38 Chauncy Street AFT Massachusetts March 2012Standing Up for Children Every DayI n November, Massachusetts Photo by Brandon Slaughter,Jeremiah Burke High School, Boston residents will be asked to vote on a ballot question backed by a groupcalled, deceptively, Stand for Children.But critics of the organization, whichis funded by corporate foundationsand has deep ties to Bain Capital,say a more accurate name might beStand Against Teachers. If the ballotquestion wins the backing of voters,the controversial measure would gutworkplace protections for educators andmake it far more difficult for them toadvocate on behalf of the students whoneed them most. Stand for Children claims that theinitiative will “promote excellencein public schools,” but a closer In This Issue TAKING A STAND Members of the Boston Teacher Activist Group, whoexamination shows that it will have teach in public schools in and around Boston.The educators warn that a ballotthe opposite effect: It could drive question being pushed by Stand for Children would have a chilling effect on thegreat teachers from the classroom and ability of teachers to advocate for their students. See their editorial on page 5.silence teacher voices at the expense of 2 President’s Columnchildren. differences in teacher ratings will have that teachers can advocate for students AFT MA Endorses Warren major consequences. “When you realize and educational quality—without fearHigh Stakes Ratings that the distinction between ‘proficient’ of retribution. Taking those protections 4 Diary of a New Teacher: The If voters approve the measure, state and ‘exemplary’ is poorly defined, yet away robs teachers of the power to evaluation equationlaw will be changed so that, in cases could be the basis for decisions of hiring speak their minds freely, since doingof layoffs or budget cuts, decisions and firing, it hits close to home,” says so might result in a lower performance 5 Members of Boston’s Teacherabout which teachers go and stay Riana Good, a Teach Plus policy fellow rating or even job loss. Activist Group on Stand formust be determined by evaluation and fourth-year Spanish teacher at the Ann O’Halloran taught in Boston Children’s ballot questionratings. The initiative forces all Boston Teachers Union Pilot School.schools to tie local hiring, firing, layoff and Newton for more than three decades and was named Massachusetts 6 On Campus: In Internet Age,and transfer decisions to the state’s Who will stand up? New Role Needed for Unions history teacher of the year in 2007.brand new teacher evaluation system. Many educators say that what most Retiree CornerUnder the new system, still to be fully concerns them about the Stand for She fears that by stripping teachers of workplace protections, the Stand 7 The Golden Apple: Politicalimplemented, all teachers must be Children ballot question is that it will for Children initiative will also punish organizer Brian LaPierre onassigned one of four ratings: exemplary, prevent teachers from standing up educators who are willing to criticize the mentors who inspiredproficient, needs improvement for the children who need them most. education policies they believe are himor unsatisfactory. And even slight Current workplace protections exist so harmful. Continued on page 8For-Profit Charter Threatens Progress in LowellB ack in September Governor Deval Patrick and the state’s topeducation officials made a special the eventual 1200 seat school will divert millions of public funding from the same schools that Patrick andtrip to the Charlotte M. Murkland others so recently praised.Elementary School in Lowell. The Paul Georges, president of the If you’d like to receive anoccasion for the visit: a stunning United Teachers of Lowell has joined electronic version of therise in achievement by students at Superintendent Jean Franco of the Advocate, send an email tothe school in the city’s historic—and Lowell Public Schools, in opposing thehigh poverty—Acre neighborhood. creation of a third charter school in advocate@aftma.net. PleaseOfficials used the Murkland, the top Lowell, arguing that it jeopardizes the include your home mailingperforming level four school in the tremendous gains made in the city’s address for identification.state, as a backdrop to announce public schools. “We produced amazingthe results of the 2011 MCAS scores. results at our two turnaround schoolsSaid Patrick: “The gains exhibited at and our reward is a charter school Did you know that yourMurkland Elementary demonstrate that’s being run for profit? You explain AFT MA membershipthat when we focus efforts on to me the logic in that,” says Georges, entitles you to discountsproviding schools with the tools they who teaches English as a Secondneed, our students will rise to the Language at Lowell High School. on insurance products?challenge and progress will be made in The education reform bill passed in For more information visitclosing achievement gaps.” 2010 doubled the amount of funding MIXED MESSAGES Just five months the benefits page of our That was then. Late last month, that can be diverted from public ago Governor Deval Patrick cameapparently no longer satisfied with schools to charter schools in districts to the Murkland School in Lowell to website:the pace of reform in Lowell, state with low academic performance. In celebrate huge gains on the MCAS www.aftma.net/member-education officials, gave the green tests by students there.This week benefits/ Lowell, the public schools could loselight to a for-profit charter school in administration officials gave the as much as $24 million in the coming nod to a for-profit charter school inthat city. If the Board of Education years, undermining the progress Lowell that will compete with theapproves the proposed Collegiate they’ve made, says Georges. Murkland for scarce resources.Charter School of Lowell as expected, Continued on page 3
  • BOLD elements because of their potential to enhance the teaching profession and to increase learning opportunities for the students. PRINT Thomas J. Gosnell One can only wonder why Stand for Children is proposing its initiative President, AFT Massachusetts when Massachusetts is installing Gold standard a complicated and comprehensive Eight Boston-area teachers have evaluation system which needs the earned the highest credential in theThe Threat is Severe goodwill and participation of so many teaching profession: National Board certification. Sixty eight teachers in in order to be successful. The initiative the Boston Public Schools have achievedI t is now a routine experience to have best teachers will be in every classroom. is a combustible element which can National Board Certification to date. on the ballot in Massachusetts an One wonders why anyone would only serve to undermine the evaluation Congratulations to Gregory Banks,initiative petition which will harm advocate such procedures that are so system and to create incredible science teacher, Urban Sciencepublic education and the teachers who hostile to the democratic values we animosity in the school districts. Academy, West Roxbury; Erik Berg,work in the public schools. This year cherish. Employee rights and excellent Is it any surprise that teachers feel second grade teacher, Philbrickappears to be no exception. teaching are not mutually exclusive. devalued even though they work so Elementary School, Roslindale;Stand for Children is proposing a ballot In fact, currently all teachers in the diligently and their students achieve so Patricia Dervan, special education well? teacher, Brighton High School,initiative which would require school public schools work under collective Stand for Children maintains that Brighton; Caitlin Hollister, third gradesystems to use the new evaluation bargaining agreements and state laws its agenda is an increase in the quality teacher, Murphy K-8, Dorchester;system for all assignment decisions, which provide due process rights in Matthew Kazlauskas, history teacher,including layoffs and dismissals. accordance with long standing tradition of teaching. Unfortunately, its funding John D. O’Bryant School of Math For example, a teacher who in Massachusetts. The exercise of comes from organizations, like the and Science, Roxbury; Ellen Latham,has taught for thirty years with an these rights does not interfere with the Walton Family Foundation, which have Mario Umana Academy, East Boston;unblemished record could be laid off achievement of our students. long despised unions. Is there another Kristi Lucks, Boston Communitywhile the school system retained a Massachusetts students are number agenda? Is it reasonable to suspect that Leadership Academy, Brighton; andfirst-year teacher without professional one in the nation on the National the weakening of unions will reduce the Noah Patel, Roosevelt K-8, Hyde Park.status. How could this be? If the first- Assessment of Educational Progress power of their voices as advocates for Congratulations to all on this amazingyear teacher has a better evaluation (NAEP) test, the most prestigious quality public schools? accomplishment!mark, he can be the one to continue his national test. Our students are number Even though Stand says that itsemployment. one in the entire western world in the initiative petition is meant to increase Another frightening experience can Trends in International Mathematics the quality of teaching in the public Top chefoccur when a school closes. None of and Science Study (TIMSS). One can schools, why does it go after teachers Hotel and restaurant managementthe teachers, however well experienced only wonder why Stand for Children who have long taught well? Stand instructor Steve Whiting, a chef- would do far better to advocate for instructor at Nashoba Valley Technicalthey may be, will have a right to another does not rejoice in our students’ more resources, smaller classes, better High School for 29 years, has beenposition. The initiative petition achievements and in our teachers’ skills. professional development, and to unite named the employee of the month at thatprovides that the building administrator Massachusetts has a new evaluation school.Though Steve has led the Culinarycan determine who will teach in her system adopted last year. It is rigorous with teacher unions to accomplish these Arts program for years, this year he isbuilding. Her authority is absolute. and comprehensive, and if implemented goals. teaching Hotel & Restaurant ManagementIf the teacher is unable to obtain a properly, will provide the supports The fight is here. We shall not and brought the largest group of freshmenposition, she has no recourse. She has teachers need to become even better shrink from it. All of us must be into the program in many years. Heno due process protections. Is this fair? teachers. Even though the American involved. was nominated by Chef-Instructor FranIs this professional? Is this life in a Federation of Teachers Massachusetts If you have any questions or Zentgraf, who wrote: “Chef Whiting is very comments on this column, email me at ▪democracy? (AFT MA) opposed the use of MCAS kind and helpful to all students. He gives Stand for Children maintains that scores as one component to evaluate tgosnell@aftma.net. each individual one-on-one help along withthese procedures will guarantee that the teachers, we did support many other keeping a very successful and amazingly run technical program and restaurant.” File under: recipe for success... AFT MA Endorses Warren Grammy, Grammy The official publication of A FT Massachusetts, which represents over 22,000 teachers, librarians, nurses, custodians and Congratulations to Berklee College of Music’s Terry Lyne Carrington. The percussion professor, artistic director AFT Massachusetts, AFL-CIO college faculty, has endorsed Elizabeth for the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival, Thomas J. Gosnell, President Warren, the Democratic candidate for and Berklee Faculty Union member Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer U.S. Senate. “Elizabeth Warren vows to was nominated for a Grammy for her advocate for our concerns and the many new album The Mosaic Project This was VICE PRESIDENTS Carrington’s first Grammy nomination issues facing Massachusetts families,” Patricia Armstrong but it almost certainly won’t be her last. Deborah Blinder said Tom Gosnell, president of AFT Carrington has been playing the drums Sean Bowker Massachusetts. “She is committed since the age of seven and has toured Kathryn Chamberlain to preparing students with the best with such musical luminaries as Herbie Brenda Chaney possible education and supporting the Hancock. Congratulations! Kathy Delaney dedicated teachers and professionals of Catherine Deveney Patricia Driscoll Massachusetts.” Marianne Dumont Warren is running for the Distinguished service J. Michael Earle Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate It’s time once again for nominations for Margaret Farrell against immigration attorney Marisa the AFT Massachusetts Distinguished Mary Ferriter DeFranco and Boston attorney Jim A STRONG VOICE Elizabeth Warren Service Awards. Each year AFT MA Jenna Fitzgerald Richard Flaherty King. The primary winner will meet is challenging freshman Senator Scott recognizes members who have Paul Georges freshman Senator Scott Brown in Brown in what is shaping up to be demonstrated an outstanding level of Alice M. Gunning November in a race that’s attracting one of the hottest political campaigns service and commitment to their union Daniel Haacker attention for the impact it could have on in the country. locals. The awards are given to a teacher, Joyce Harrington a paraprofessional, a retired member control of the U.S. Senate in 2013. morally objectionable. Susan Leahy and a member under the age of 35. The Francis McLaughlin The contest between Brown and Warren harshly criticized Brown’s 2011 recipients were Medway Middle Bruce Nelson Warren promises to be one of the position. “This is an extreme attack School teacher Temma Downing, Catherine Patten hottest races in the country. The two on every one of us,” Warren told the James Philip Medway paraprofessional Susan Lynch, candidates have already raised millions Washington Post. “It opens the door Barbara Ferreira, a paraprofessional at Bruce Sparfven and, with the election just nine months to outright discrimination. It would let Carney Academy in New Bedford, and Richard Stutman Gale Thomas away, the race is sure to dominate insurance companies and corporations retired member Alice Gunning, Lynn headlines for the rest of the year. In cut off pregnant women, overweight Teachers Union. If you have someone Jennifer C. Berkshire, Editor recent weeks the candidates have been you’d like to nominate, contact your local 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 guys, older Americans, or anyone — sparring over the issue of birth control. because some executive claims it’s part president. The awards will be presented ▪ Boston, Mass. 02111 Senator Brown has signed onto an at the 2012 AFT MA convention in Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 of his moral code.” Fax: 617-423-0174 amendment that would allow employers Quincy on April 27-28. www.aftma.net and insurers to deny coverage for birth For more information visit www. advocate@aftma.net Send your good news to advocate@aftma.net 2 control and other services they find elizabethwarren.com
  • For-Profit Charter in Lowell Continued from cover profit entities created to tap into the country’s $500 billion public education system. These “corporate” Education officials in or “franchise” schools compete Lowell say that the with traditional public schools for increasingly scarce resources. approval of a third Today, one-third of the charter charter school could schools in the U.S. are operated by for-profit entities, a proportion that jeopardize big gains is growing rapidly each year. In states made in student including Michigan, nearly eight out of ten charter schools are operated by achievement in the private for-profit companies. city’s public schools. Powerful allies, questionable numbers “This raises an obvious question: In Massachusetts, SABIS has PUBLIC PRIDE Staff at the Murkland Elementary School in Lowell, whereis the state’s policy to help strengthen powerful allies, including the Boston student achievement has soared.The state is recommending a new for-profitpublic schools or is it to expand the Globe, which ran an editorial just charter school in Lowell that will compete with the Murkland for resources.number of charter schools, whatever last month urging state education several times in the Springfield Indeed, the recent history ofthe cost?” asks Georges. officials to approve the company’s school’s early history in an effort charter schools in Lowell should expansion into Lowell. The GlobeFor profit education™ to get SABIS to comply with the provide a strong cautionary tale. editorial writers praised SABIS for special education mandates in Just two years ago, state officials Massachusetts is no stranger above average MCAS scores among Massachusetts, including translating threatened to yank the charter of theto charter schools. If, as expected, 10th graders at its Springfield school, basic communications into Spanish. Lowell Community Charter Publicthe Board of Education votes to arguing that SABIS is closing the Secretary of Education Paul Reville School due to management problemsapprove the proposed Lowell school, achievement gap between its mostly cited the company’s continued and persistently low test scores. Thealong with three others in Holyoke, minority student body and white problems with special education school ultimately remained openSpringfield, and Boston, the number counterparts in the suburbs. students in his decision to oppose but was forced to contract with aof charter schools in Massachusetts But a recent report conducted by SABIS’ expansion into Brockton in professional management teamwill reach 83. The Collegiate Charter the Department of Education found 2008. and eliminate grades seven andSchool of Lowell will be one of just that far more students leave the SABIS eight, sending hundreds of studentsa handful of schools in the state, school in Springfield than graduate. Troubled history back to the Lowell Public School.however, that is operated for a profit. According to the report, “significant For Lowell education officials, Several individuals involved with theThe school will be run by SABIS numbers of students do transfer the troubled track record of SABIS struggling charter will also serve inEducational Systems, Inc., a private, out of the school at the secondary Education Systems on special the leadership of the new for-profitfor-profit company with headquarters level because their academic or education issues is anything but venture.in Minnesota and Beirut, Lebanon. programmatic needs were not being reassuring. At a recent public Says Paul Georges: “If this debateSABIS runs schools in 15 countries met.” Of the 160 students who were hearing in Lowell, Superintendent were truly about the best way toand manages 11 charter schools in the part of the grade nine cohort, just 73 Jean Franco warned that Lowell’s improve student achievement andU.S., including schools in Holyoke remained in grade ten. existing charter schools fail to provide outcomes, the state would be lookingand Springfield. The company is SABIS also has a questionable adequate services to special education at how to replicate our success atpart of a rapidly expanding network history when it comes to educating students in the city, noting that many the Murkland. That’s not what’s ▪of so-called education management special education students in its such students are forced to transfer happening here.”organizations or EMOs, for- schools. State officials intervened back to the Lowell Public Schools. Lesley University School of Education 3March 2012
  • Diary I have evaluations on the mind. From a round of peer observations with colleagues to the roll out of new state regulations getting rolled out, to the barrage of “excellent of a New Teacher teacher” articles in the mainstream press, to the question of how an observer of my 7th grade class might By Riana Good judge me. K1-8 Spanish teacher I’m having a rough go of it with Boston Teachers Union Pilot School, these seventh graders, three quarters Jamaica Plain, MA of whom are male. It is little solace that others teachers at my school Meet the 2011-2012 are struggling with this grade as New Teacher Diarists well, because these young peopleBill Madden-Fuoco are missing out. If all my teachingA humanities teacher at the Urban Science looked like it does in the 7th grade,Academy in West Roxbury, Bill was a 2012 I probably shouldn’t be teaching,Teacher of the Year semifinalist. and an evaluator would be right in saying so. But I’m not just a 7th grade LESSON LEARNED Riana Good, a Spanish teacher at the Boston TeachersRobert Tobio Spanish teacher—I teach kindergarten Union Pilot School, says that to be effective, the state’s new evaluationRobert teaches math and special education through 8th grade. That’s why it’s regulations must allow for multiple observations—by multiple observers.at the Mary Lyon Pilot School in Brighton so important that an observer wouldand previously taught at Monument High in typical practice, and that only when • Observations from coaches see my teaching at every grade level:South Boston, which closed last spring. averaging four observations by four who have expertise in teachers’ kindergartners reading the dailyMelissa McDonald message in Spanish; the 3rd graders different raters did variation in scores grade level and subject matterA fifth grade teacher at the Parthum interviewing each other and reporting based on teaching practice outweigh can be conducted moreElementary School in Lawrence, Melissa the results in Spanish; the 6th graders variation due to other, unexplained frequently.is returning to teaching after a year of competing to identify cognates to factors. In other words, a single score • The partnership betweenmaternity leave. write on our cognate wall, or the 8th is just as likely to be a fluke as it is the union and the district “ graders debating the merits ofJoyce Melker categorizing Hispanic/LatinoA paraprofessional at the Watson Elemen- as a race for the sake of census If all my teaching looked like it does in the 7th grade,tary School in Fall River, Joyce is a studentin the JET teacher training program at data and political unity. I probably shouldn’t be teaching, and an evaluatorUMass Dartmouth. In fact, all teachers would be right in saying so. But I’m not just a 7th should be evaluated basedMatthew Robinson on multiple measures and grade Spanish teacher—I teach kindergarten throughMatthew teaches English and journalism at multiple observations, even 8th grade. That’s why it’s so important that anthe Burke High School in Dorchester. when they don’t span K1-8th grade. According to recent observer see my teaching at every grade level.Riana Good article about the Measures ofWhile Riana is technically no longer a new Effective Teaching Project,teacher, this Spanish teacher at the Boston to be based on accurate indicators is strengthened, with the a single observation score is largelyTeachers Union School in Jamaica Plain says teachers union president driven by factors other than consistent of quality teaching. To be reliable,that she still feels like a ‘newby.’ aspects of a teacher’s practice. The results require multiple observations and the director of humanAmanda Perez article’s findings demonstrated that of a teacher, ideally by multiple resources generally serving asAmanda is a special education teacher at a single observation by a single rater observers. This makes good sense, panel co-chairs for the PARthe Sarah Greenwood School in Boston. was a poor indicator of a teacher’s and comes as a relief to me as I think review board. about an evaluator judging me on a • PAR results in the single 7th grade class out of the twelve development of more teacher/ classes I teach. leaders. Would you like to travel abroad on For the state’s new evaluation regulations to reliably measure • PAR helps to create a professional culture committed an inexpensive trip designed teacher quality will require a significant increase in the overall to collaborating, reflecting and instructional improvement. specifically for educators? number of observations. Since administrators, many of whom are If you’re not yet sold on PAR and the need more observations of your already overworked, can’t be expected teaching, think back to your own GEEO is a non-profit organization that runs travel to increase their load, the number of recent evaluations (or lack thereof). programs for educators. Detailed information including people who are trained and qualified I would certainly want someone to itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at to observe must increase. see the range of my teaching from www.geeo.org or call toll free 1-877-600-0105. A natural solution to the demand K1-8 before evaluating me. Still, for more observers is Peer Assistance the 7th grade outlier should not be and Review (PAR), where coaches overlooked despite the quality of chosen on the basis of their excellent my overall teaching. And so, I am teaching and mentoring support a seeking ways to hone my practice combination of 10-15 new teachers so that the 7th grade class has the and veterans who need support. productivity, content understanding Because all educators, not just new and instructional dialogue of the other and struggling teachers, benefit from grades, because all of my students collaborative analysis of their practice, need and deserve an excellent PAR would work well alongside a peer observation program such as education. ▪ Collaborative Coaching and Learning Share your comments or questions (CCL), which we are using at the BTU with Riana at rianagood@gmail.com Pilot School this year. PAR is a marked improvement on Wanted: New Teachers the current observation and evaluation The Advocate is seeking new model in the following ways: • More intensive mentoring teachers and paraprofessionals increases retention long- to contribute to the 2012-2013 term, but also ensures that all New Teacher Diary. Contributors teachers receiving professional receive $300 per column. If you’re status are in fact proficient or interested, contact jberkshire@ exemplary. aftma.net. 4 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  • BEHIND THE SCENES Ballot Question Would Silence Teachers equity firm, and a Vice President of Client Services at KGA who formerly worked for Fidelity Investments. unions and local control. If passed, there will be little motivation for school districts and unions to agree on principals and the Secretary of Education Paul Reville are opposed to the initiative. Nationally SFC has received millions issues of evaluation or possibly, in the Lastly, and most importantly, this Teacher Activist of dollars from The Walton Family future, agree on anything at all. School initiative silences the voices of teachers Group Boston Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the wealthy owners of Wal-Mart. districts can ask the state to make all final, binding decisions. The result is and makes it harder for them to advocate for their students. It weakens They have been using their money an attack on unions that undermines protections for teachers and will leave www.tagboston.org and influence to lobby legislators all collective bargaining, which in turn is many of them too scared to speak out over America and convince them that an attack on teachers and the young against the injustices their students cheaper, younger, unprotected teachers people that teachers care about most. face. Without protection, teachersS tand for Children is at it again, are good for corporations and good for What’s worse is that even if the may be afraid to stand up for an ” but this time in the state of our children. Massachusetts. The self- Massachusetts is noproclaimed “independent social justice different. SFC has already Without protection, teachers may be afraid toorganization” has been organizing to started using their cash and stand up for an English language learner or a specialcurtail the rights of teacher unions clout to collect more thanacross the country. In Massachusetts, 100,000 signatures in a matter education student who isn’t receiving the supportstheir recent and extremely complex of months. They believe our he or she deserves. Instead of standing for children,ballot initiative, “Great Teachers Great teachers need to be evaluatedSchools,” is focused on stripping due aggressively. SFC believes more teachers will be forced to stand for silence, regardlessprocess rights, silencing the voices of expensive, veteran teachers of where the children fall.child advocates, and forcing yet-to- who are historically the leadersbe-tested evaluation rules onto school of our schools shouldn’t bedistricts. The ballot initiative doesn’t valued for their experience. initiative does pass, it is hard to see English language learner or a specialmention children once and it is likely No teacher would disagree that how it can improve our public schools. education student who isn’t receivingto divide parents and teachers instead there’s a need to better our current As Mary Ann Stewart, president of the supports they deserve. Instead ofof bringing them together. Why would evaluation system in order to improve the Massachusetts Parent Teacher standing for children, teachers will beany organization want to do this? After teacher quality. In fact, Massachusetts Association, explained: “This is a huge forced to stand for silence, regardlesstaking a closer look at who is on Stand is already implementing a rigorous new distraction from what teachers and of where the children fall.For Children’s (SFC) advisory board teacher evaluation program that has parents believe is most needed to help If you believe that veteran,these apparent contradictions make a been supported by AFT Massachusetts students succeed. We need small class experienced teachers that advocatelittle more sense. and the Massachusetts Teachers sizes, excellent preschools, support for their students are valuable to our In Massachusetts, the current board Association. Why then do voters need services for at-risk students, and schools and would like to join the fightof advisors is composed of members to weigh-in on implementing another high-quality professional development against this ballot initiative, contactwho have more experience with system before the new one is rolled for teachers. Instead, this ballot Teacher Activist Group (TAG) Bostonrunning a business than a classroom.Members include the Managing out? Good question. It appears that question gives us more top-down mandates and red tape.” In addition, at info@tagboston.org. ▪Director at Spectrum Equity, a private the bill is really about weakening both associations of Massachusetts 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) Doctor of Education Apply today. 5March 2012
  • On Campus Dan Georgianna, Political Director UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895In an Internet Age, New Role Needed for UnionsT he recent one-day strike by Wikipedia and other internetsites showed that union strategies STRIKE 2.0 The recent one- that mostly paid creators of that knowledge. The Faculty Federation has a subscription to the Chronicle,developed over the past 75 years day strike by and I subscribed to the NYT until thestill work; withdrawing labor can be internet sites weight of paper wore me down.an effective tactic. Unlike the usual showed that What is the union’s role in thisreaction blaming public employee union strategies disruption of higher education? Theunions for withholding essential developed over simple answer is that I don’t know.services, users of internet services sent the past 75 years I’m not quite fossilized yet, but I’mhundreds of thousands of phone calls, still work. far from the cutting edge of socialtexts, emails and other electronic networking as education. As youmessages to Congress that stopped the can see, I still prefer face-to-faceStop OnLine Piracy Act (SOPA) bill in Nothing in the business world internet sites, some with excellent communication between teachersits tracks. is free, of course. Internet sites had credentials, such as MITx, now offer and students. Plenty of students don’t Aside from proving that strikes their own way of extracting payments. free instruction for college courses. and can’t afford to, especially non-work, the power of the internet to Apple, for example, probably loses The Federal Government’s traditional students. One thing thataffect government policy sends a money selling songs and albums for requirements for student aid from I do know is that union leadership,message for higher education through $1 that media companies sold for $15, accredited colleges is all that stands especially negotiating committee,the financial lens of intellectual but more than makes up for the loss between certified college diplomas need younger faculty and staff, whoproperty. by selling more expensive products and much cheaper, even free internet understand these changes and can Cutting through the self-serving like iPods. versions. Selingo argues that Facebook forge new roles for unions in thisideology of both sides, SOPA is afinancial and political battle between Creators of these products: musicians, actors, artists, writers, etc. and other internet companies have shown that they can find a way around internet-driven world ▪two major sectors of the modern (and their unions), were left fleeced on government regulations, especially Dan Georgianna is the Chancelloreconomy: the media industry and the sidelines, unless they could figure with millions of customers on their Professor of Economics at UMassthe internet. The media industry out some way to cash in, for example, side. Dartmouth. His column appearssold creative work: music, movies, through their own websites. This is not as far-fetched as it monthly in the Advocate. Shareart, books, newspapers etc. in some Large internet companies are now seems. A likely result would be comments with him at dgeorgianna@physical form. Internet sites now looking to “disrupt” higher education, traditional higher education with umassd.eduprovide these media products for the stodgiest of media industries. face-to-face contact between highlymuch lower prices or for free. Jeff Selingo wrote in The Chronicle paid faculty and students who can of Higher Education (1/26/2012) afford to pay at high-end colleges and March 8th is Public Higher Internet downloads cut sharplyinto sales of media companies. Jeffrey that internet companies have moved universities and cheaper internet- Education Lobby DayRosen wrote in the New York Times in beyond cheap textbooks, a welcome based education for non-traditionala review of Free Ride by Robert Levin respite from exorbitant prices, to students, who Selingo wrote, are now Please join students, faculty,(11/25/2011), “recorded music in the companies like StraighterLine that the majority with neither the time staff, parents, and alumni for aUnited States was worth $6.3 billion gives students free access to skills nor the funds to pay for classroom giant day of advocacy for our certification such as Collegiate education.in sales in 2009, less than half its public colleges and universities.value a decade earlier.” Learning Assessment. Plenty of Good classroom teaching, quality library services, and Buses and vans will be com- education-oriented ing from around the state so student services, we can talk to our legislators within a well about the importance of public designed curriculum higher education to students deliver opportunities and the state’s economy, and for a good education about what we need to im- to students willing prove affordability, quality and to use those access. opportunities. But I wouldn’t bet against the internet The day will start at 10:30 a.m. offering higher in Gardner Auditorium at the education, “rebuilt State House with Registration with people at the and a short informative Pro- center” as envisioned gram, after which groups will by Sheryl Sandberg, visit their own State Senators chief operating and State Representatives. officer of Facebook, Lunch will then be served, to as quoted in Selingo’s be followed by visits to other Chronicle article. The internet key legislators. also provides opportunities For more information contact similar to classroom phenom@phenomonline.org instruction, or visit www.phenomonline. especially to self- org motivated students. And it’s hard to beat Register now at bit.ly/MALob- the speed of access to byDay2012 knowledge provided by the internet. This article, for example, Stand up and be counted! was written from internet sources 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  • Retiree Corner • SENIOR SEMINARS Move or Stay Put? Marie Ardito, Co-founder A comprehensive 2 hour seminar on Massachusetts Retirees United retiree housing choices. www.retireesunited.org When: Saturday March 24,10 - noon Where: Presidential Park, Unit 105, 214 Main Street (Rt. 38), Wilmington.The Hidden Costs of Co-Signing • Living in Retirement as an Informed RetireeA ll of us must beware of a number of things when it comes tomoney, and not just when we purchase being denied certain lines of credit, etc. Your credit rating will also be impacted negatively if the individual makes late I asked such an establishment why they required the signature of a guarantor. They had already done Medicare, Social Security, tax shelters, 403b and more. When: Saturday April 14 10 - Noonsomething. As the old adage goes: buyer payments or misses payments. a thorough check of the prospective Where: Presidential Park, Unit 105, 214beware. Some people co-sign for a student resident’s finances and knew that Main Street (Rt. 38), Wilmington I have learned a lot about issues in who is in college so they can have a she couldn’t live long enough for herthis area from attending the Protecting credit card for necessities, Be aware assets to run out. The answer was that • Protecting Your Nest EggYour Nest Egg seminars presented by though that if the person keeps the because there is no guarantee that the Two hour seminar, presented by Elderelder law attorney, Mary Howie, which account open beyond his or her 21st person would not divest sometime after Law Attorney Mary HowieMassachusetts Retirees United offers birthday, there is no federal law saying entering the facility they had to protect When: Saturday April 28, 10 - Noonfree of charge. She cautions clients to you must be notified about any credit the institution. When you agree to Where: Presidential Park, Unit 105, 214beware of setting up joint accounts with line increases. Unlike a lease on an sign such a document make sure the Main Street (Rt. 38), Wilmingtontheir children, grandchildren or anyone apartment in which the co-signed individual understands that dispersingother than a spouse. Many people do obligation ceases when the lease their money could result in their being • Preparing for Retirementthis to avoid having funds become part becomes due for renewal, there is no put out of the facility. A comprehensive 2 hour seminar forof their probatable estate, but it can be automatic exit of a co-signed credit These are just a few areas in those within 10 years of retiring. Note:dangerous. card. Often the only way you can exit which you should beware that you do seminar is offered on multiple dates. By putting a person’s name on the the co-signing of a credit card is by not put in jeopardy your own good Holliston: Robert Adams Middleaccount as co-owner, one is literally closing the account, which in many credit rating. Beware of possible School, 323 Woodland St.saying they own half of the amount on instances requires the cardholder’s consequences to co-signing on the When: Tuesday, March 20, 3:30-5:30 PMthe account. If the person you place approval. It is surprising but true that dotted line.on your account runs into financial amounts accumulated while the co- Methuen: Methuen Educational As-problems with credit card companies, signed account was open are still your Are You About to Retire? sociation, 184 Pleasant Valley St., Suitegoes into bankruptcy, gets divorced responsibility until they are paid, even The current retirement application 1-204. for the Massachusetts Teachers When: Thursday, March 22, 2:15-4:15or is involved in an accident for which after the account is closed. Retirement System (MTRS) has no and 3:45-5:45 PM.they are at fault, half of the funds their If you are responsible for a seniorname is on will be used in the resulting who elects to go into assisted living, the insurance deduction authorization. Lawrence: Relief’s In, 1 Market St.settlements. establishment may require a guarantor There is no change, however, in When: Tuesday, April 3, 3:30-5:30 PM. Another area to be circumspect to sign. The establishment is not willing MTRS’ practice of withholding Lynn: Lynn Teachers Union, 679 West-about is co-signing a credit card to put a person out of the place and insurance premiums from retirees’ ern Ave.application for another person. There the guarantor becomes responsible to monthly benefits. Their role in When: Saturday, April 25, 3-5 PM.are a number of reasons not to do this either continue the payments or remove deducting and forwarding insurancebut the major one is that that credit the person. Your signing for this may premiums is basically a bookkeeping Upton: Blackstone Valley Vocationalcard bill is ultimately yours. As one actually appear in your credit rating as one, between them and the GIC and Regional School, 65 Pleasant Street. municipalities. They rely on the GIC When: Tuesday, May 1, 2:30-4:30 PMfinancial person put it, when you co- if you had a mortgage as it could resultsign for a credit card, you’re saying: in your making monthly payments. and the municipalities that administer For details or to register for any of the“If anything goes wrong, I’ll pay the There is no problem in doing this if you insurance benefits to inform retirees above seminars, contact Marie Ardito at about this payment method and obtain ▪balance. All of it. Plus interest and are not planning on making a major 1-617-482-1568 or e-mailpenalty fees.” Lenders will count this purchase of property or extending the the necessary authorization. mardito@retireesunited.org.debt as yours which can result in your mortgage on property you already own.The Golden B rian LaPierre recalls exactly when it was that he was first bitten by the political bug. The year POLITICAL BUG Brian LaPierre Apple with son Owen was 1985 and Lynn, MA, LaPierre’s and Hillary hometown, was in the midst of a Clinton in New heated mayoral contest. His mother Hampshire during Caroline, a secretary at Hood the presidential Elementary School in Lynn, was an campaign in 2008.Brian LaPierre active supporter of candidate Albert LaPierre, who isPolitical Organizer DiVirgilio and would often take her AFT MA’s newAFT Massachusetts son along to campaign headquarters political organizer, to stuff envelopes, or to events where credits some key mentors with young LaPierre might hold a sign on showing him the behalf of the candidate. DiVirgilio won political ropes. the election—he’d go on to serve three terms as mayor—and LaPierre was hooked. “I liked the idea of helping LaPierre says that his early voters. (See cover story.) people—being the people’s local experiences on the campaign trail Says LaPierre: “We’ve got a tough representative and helping them on have prepared him for what is certain fight before us but there is nothing issues that affect their quality of life,” to be a busy political season ahead. I’d rather be doing.” He has already he recalls. “I liked the responsibility.” “The first lesson I learned is that to begun visiting AFT MA locals and LaPierre was recently named be an effective politician you have to meeting with as many teachers, the political organizer for AFT work hard and you have to be able to paraprofessionals, librarians and Massachusetts, a position for which communicate with all sorts of people.” other public sector employees as he his early political training—and the While he has been on the job for just can. And no matter what the group, influence of some key mentors— over a month—LaPierre was formerly LaPierre says that his message to prepared him well. As political an AFT MA field representative—he members is the same. “You are organizer, LaPierre is charged with has hit the ground running. Not powerful and your voice matters. This educating, activating and engaging the only is 2012 an election year, but a is the time to stand up and advocate controversial ballot question that for your craft. No one else is going to ▪ members of AFT Massachusetts about the issues facing teachers and other would gut collective bargaining rights do it.” public sector employees today. for teachers will likely go before theMarch 2012 7
  • Standing Up for Children Every Day Stand Up Today! Continued from cover to hire and who to let go can easily the support of a single teacher that he Get the facts “Experienced teachers are less be clouded by self interest, prejudice knows. Says Liou: “And I know quite The basic facts about Stand for Children’sfearful than those who are just starting against older workers, and economic a few excellent and dedicated teachers ballot question, including a fact sheet andout. They’re not afraid to speak up about factors which make less experienced who are active in their classrooms, the text of the initiative, are available onwhat’s happening in our schools even if teachers cheaper to employ than more school communities and professional our website: www.aftma.net. Note: checkthey have to be a thorn in the side of an experienced teachers.” organizations.” back frequently as we’re adding new information all the time.administrator,” says O’Halloran, who Morris argues that by minimizingnow works with the advocacy group the role of relevant experience in good Occupy the classroomCitizens for Public Schools. teaching, the teaching profession as At a recent gathering of a teachers, Dig deeper a middle school math teacher said that In state after state, Stand for Children has And with nearly two thirds of new a whole is being diminished. “Are he’d heard that Stand for Children is aggressively pushed a corporate visionteachers leaving the profession within lawyers and doctors with less relevant funded by Bain Capital and Wal-Mart. of education reform: expanding charterthe first five years of their careers, experience more valuable than those schools, tying teacher evaluations toO’Halloran argues that the mentoring with years of practice to draw upon? Could this possibly be true? A half a student test scores and weakening work-role of experienced teachers is more In what other profession does relevant dozen heads nodded, and a high school place protections for teachers. Learnessential than ever. “If I hadn’t been experience make one a less valuable English teacher provided a quick more about the corporate educationguided by veteran teachers early on in professional?” overview of Stand’s funding, using the agenda—and how you can oppose it atmy own career I would have been out organization’s own annual report to www.parentsacrossamerica.org.the door,” says O’Halloran. Opposition is growing substantiate his claims. A growing body of education leaders In recent years, funding has Spread the wordNo experience necessary and organizations has come out in surged into the coffers of groups like Talk to your colleagues, friends, neighbors The Stand for Children initiative opposition to the ballot initiative. Stand for Children that are pushing and relatives about what’s really behindreflects a distorted—but increasingly Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul corporate education reform. Stand in Stand’s ballot question. Explain to them inwidespread view—that in teaching, Reville has publicly criticized Stand’s Massachusetts has received millions no uncertain terms how you—and yourexperience is a detriment rather than an effort, warning that the ballot initiative of dollars from the Gates Foundation students—will be affected by the passageasset. A recent Boston Globe editorial is likely to lead to a “distracting and and the Walton Family Foundation, the of this ballot question.lamented that, in an age of layoffs, divisive battle, engendering an over- philanthropy of Wal-Mart.“young, talented teachers” could lose simplified public dialogue that would But while Stand may have Get involvedtheir positions to “veteran teachers.” In alienate educators.” amassed an estimated $23 million to Public school teachers just like you arefact, in the hotly-charged debate over In recent weeks, the list of influence Massachusetts voters, the organizing in their communities and tell-the best way to turn struggling schools opponents has continued to expand group will also have to contend with ing the real story about Stand for Chil-around, experienced teachers are and now includes all of the major growing public concern about the ever dren and corporate education reform.routinely characterized as “burnt out,” education organizations in the state: expanding role of corporations in public If you’d like to be part of this campaign write to advocate@aftma.net.“lazy” and “out of touch,” as compared the Massachusetts Parent Teacher education at both the elementary andto their young colleagues, who are Association, AFT Massachusetts, the secondary levels. Says Teach Plus policydepicted as eager, tireless and selflessly Massachusetts Teachers Association, fellow Good: “Outside interests have Tell your storydedicated to closing the achievement the Massachusetts Secondary their eyes on the $850 billion spent each Teachers speak up every day to get theirgap. According to this argument, School Administrators’ Association, year on public education. It’s no secret students the help, resources or services they need. If you have a story that you’rethe best way to improve the public the Massachusetts Elementary that stamping out union protections willing to share, write to advocate@education system is to eliminate the School Principals Association, the and collective bargaining, as the Stand aftma.net or call Jennifer Berkshire atrights of its teachers. Massachusetts Reading Association, the initiative tries to do, is a move to put 781.572.1168. Haidee Morris, who serves as Massachusetts Association of College more money and power into the handsgeneral counsel for AFT Massachusetts,warns that the language of the Stand and University Reading Educators, the Massachusetts School Library of the one percent.” ▪ Who is Stand for Children?for Children initiative provides subtle Association, and the Massachusettsencouragement for administrators to Administrators for Special Education.replace more experienced teachers James Liou, a peer assistant in thewith younger, cheaper educators. Says Boston Public Schools and a nationallyMorris: “If experience is no longerconsidered a measure of merit and board certified teacher, says that he judges opposition to the ballot question A decade ago the nonprofit group Stand for Children emerged as a leading voice for more funding for with a civil rights cast to it about closing achievement gaps,” says Garberg. “The problem is, the rhetoric and reality areability, then decisions regarding who by another measure: its failure to win public schools in Massachusetts. completely at odds.” Today, former Coalitions of teachers, parents and local Stand activists like Garberg and Tracy leaders in Worcester, Medford and Novick, a member of the Worcester Gloucester began to press Beacon Hill School Committee, have emerged as the to fund the Commonwealth’s schools foremost critics of the group they once more equitably. In 2008 the group helped to lead. Novick in particular brought more than 2,000 parents, has tried to call attention to the vast teachers and advocates to the steps amounts of corporate money flowing of the Statehouse for a major rally into Stand’s Massachusetts coffers from supported by both AFT Massachusetts Microsoft and Bain Capital. and the Massachusetts Teachers That story, of one time passionate Association. Stand members, speaking out But in 2009 Stand sharply shifted against the organization’s embrace its focus. Among the group’s new top of corporate education reform, is priorities: expanding the number of being repeated across the country. In charter schools in the state, despite Portland, Oregon, Stand members the opposition of many of Stand’s who’d joined the group to advocate own members. Since then, Stand in for strengthening public schools, were Massachusetts has rushed to embrace appalled when Stand hosted screenings any number of corporate-backed of the controversial film “Waiting for “reforms,” including restricting the Superman” last year and even pushed ability of teachers and other public to lower the capital gains tax in that sector employees to bargain over health state. benefits. “The organization totally changed Roger Garberg, a former leader from a true grass-roots volunteer of Stand’s chapter in Gloucester, was decision making group to one that one of a number of activists who broke now pushes a national reform agenda away from the group to protest its new funded by corporate and Wall Street direction. In an interview with the millionaires,” educator Tom Olson told journal Rethinking Schools, Garberg the Portland Tribune. “The central said that by embracing a corporate plan now is communicating that public vision of education reform, Stand was schools don’t need additional money able to attract major new funding, to help kids succeed — only more including from corporate foundations. “reforms” that are thinly veiled union “That made it easy to adopt a rhetoric bashing.” ▪