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  • Boston, MA 02111 Suite 402 38 Chauncy Street AFT Massachusetts May 2012Teachers Tell Stand: “Sit Down”S ome of the state’s top teachers made a special trip to Beacon Hill last month to urgelegislators to reject a measure thatwould eliminate many workplaceprotections for teachers. In hours ofpassionate and eloquent testimonybefore the Joint Committee onEducation, the teachers argued thatthe controversial ballot measurewould silence them, thus making it farmore difficult for them to advocate onbehalf of the students who need themthe most. Teachers and legislators alsohad an opportunity to hear fromrepresentatives of the outside In This Issuegroup, known as Stand for Children,that is pushing the measure with EXPERT TESTIMONY Lowell teacher Susan Uvanni and Boston teachera major financial assist from Riana Good look on as Ross Kochman, a 6th grade teacher at Boston’s Harborcorporate foundations including the School, testifies to members of the Joint Committee on Education about aconservative Walton Foundation. controversial proposal that would gut workplace protections for educators. 2 President’s Column Bold PrintAt the hearing, Stand chief Jason voices aren’t heard enough in policy appears to be far more concerned withWilliams spoke to the powerfulimpact that great teachers can have discussions because we’d rather be in our classrooms,” said Tang, the ways to limit the ability of teachers to bargain collectively than with the 4 Diary of a New Student: A teacher returns to the class-on struggling students. But while the recipient of a Sontag Prize in Urban lives of actual children who attend rooms where she was once aeducators present no doubt share Education, an award to outstanding Massachusetts schools. studentthat view they argued forcefully that educators across the country. Tangthe Stand initiative will punish the said that her own insights into what No silver bullet 5 Behind the Scenes: Travelvery teachers who take on the most students need in order to succeed While Stand’s Williams stated in opens a new teacher’s eyeschallenging assignments. had come from students themselves, his testimony that there is “no silver bullet” for turning around struggling Happy Birthday Phantom Jessica Tang, a 6th grade along with input from parents andhumanities teacher at the Young community members. “Students have schools, the educators argued that the TollboothAchievers Math and Science ballot measure represents a one-size-Pilot School in Boston, told the practical concerns, parents want more opportunities for their kids and fits-all approach that would essentially 6 On Campus: Responding to school shootingslegislators that the seriousness of community members want schools handcuff them, making collaborationthe threat facing educators in theCommonwealth had brought her they can be proud of. This proposal addresses none of those,” said Tang, and innovation in their schools far more difficult. 7 Retiree Corner Senior seminarsout of her classroom. “Teacher noting that the ballot initiative Continued on page 8 1-A-4-A: 2012 ConventionParaprofessional Pride, Unity on Display SupplementW hen Chris Lopez, the library para at Boston’s Condon ElementarySchool, realized that a teacher neededurgent assistance with a student incrisis, she knew just where to turn.Lopez sounded an urgent call forveteran para Sharon O’Dwyer whoquickly arrived on the scene. “We help If you’d like to receive aneach other out,” said O’Dwyer. “We electronic version of thesupport the teachers and the students— Advocate, send an email towe’re part of a team.” advocate@aftma.net. Please The team ethos that is the ruleamong paras at the Condon was on include your home mailingvivid display at the recent statewide address for identification.Paraprofessional Conference at theBoston Teachers Union hall. More Did you know that your PARA TEAM Paraprofessionals from the Condon Elementary School inthan 20 paras attended from the SouthBoston school, far and away the largest Boston. Close to twenty paras from the Condon attended the recent AFT MA membership statewide Paraprofessional Conference, the largest delegation at the event.delegation at the event. The Condon entitles you to discountsparas say that they look forward to said Manning, to the delight of her new that gets too little recognition. on insurance products?attending the gathering all year. “It’s Tom Gosnell, the president of AFTa day for us,” said Sheila Yetman. This colleagues. For more information visit The Condon paras say that they Massachusetts, acknowledged thatyear, the group succeeded in bringing exemplify the spirit of the annual para in his remarks to the crowd. “You are the benefits page of oura brand new recruit: Casey Manning, gathering, this year themed as “A critical to the success and support of website:who started at the school as a long- Tribute to Paras.” Each year paras from our students,” said Gosnell. “You have www.aftma.net/member-term sub and is completing her first schools across the state meet up here to an extremely demanding job.”year as a para. “They made me come,” benefits/ recharge and celebrate an occupation Continued on page 3
  • BOLD ensure that all students have excellent teachers. This is another distortion. The Ed Doherty reality is that seniority does not protect anyone from being evaluated by their PRINT Special Assistant to the President, supervisors and being dismissed if his or her performance does not measure Full STEM Ahead AFT Massachusetts up to expectations. It does not matter Maureen Parker, an eighth grade whether a teacher has been teaching physical science teacher at the LockeExperienced Teachers for two years or for forty-two years, Middle School in Billerica, has been that person can be fired if he or she is selected to participate in the 2012 Siemens STEM Institute this summer.Deserve Respect unable or unwilling to do the job well. Parker is one of fifty middle and high Seniority rights are not a protection school STEM educators who will spend for bad teachers; on the contrary, a week at the world headquarters of these rights are a protection for good Discovery Communications where theyM ost people facing open- methodologies, and too old to relate teachers. Seniority is a protection will be immersed in hands-on STEM heart surgery would seek out well with students; while younger against capricious and arbitrary professional development. Followingan experienced doctor who has recruits are enthusiastic, energetic, decisions by the employer; and further, the Institute, the Fellows will serve assuccessfully performed the operation eager, and committed. The message these rights act as a barrier to prevent STEM ambassadors in their schoolsover a number of years. Very few, if coming from this distorted picture age discrimination, racial bias, or any and communities as they continueany, would search for a young man or is that younger is better and that other form of prejudice. Seniority working together on STEM projects andwoman just out of medical school with seniority rights in teacher contracts rights prevent school districts from empowering peers with the tools andscant experience. The same would hold are an obstacle to keeping younger firing higher paid teachers in order knowledge gained from the Institute.true for people looking for a lawyer to teachers in classrooms; therefore, these to replace them with teachers on the Parker began teaching at the Locke inrepresent them in an important legal rights for teachers must be eliminated. 2001 after a 16 year career in industry as lower salary steps. Seniority allows In Massachusetts an attack on an electron microscopist, histotechnician,proceeding. Their first choice would experienced teachers to advocate teachers’ seniority rights is currently and environmental chemist.probably be the firm’s senior partner, for children and to have a voice innot the rookie, just out of law school, being spearheaded by “Stand for educational decisions; and, when    who has only appeared a handful of Children,” an organization whose necessary, to disagree with a principaltimes before a judge. In medicine innocuous name has nothing to do with or superintendent or school committee Pencil Projectand law, experience is valued. There its real agenda. One only has to look member without fear of retribution or Kudos to students in fifth throughis a presumption that those who have at some of Stand for Children’s major job loss. eighth grades at South Lawrencebeen in these professions for a number donors, including Bain Capital and the Attacks on our teachers’ rights East School who took part in twoof years have talent, knowledge, Walton Family Foundation (Walmart), are totally unwarranted given the community service projects to collectand ability that exceeds that of their to realize that what it “stands” for is outstanding work of our state’s school supplies for a school in Kenyayounger colleagues. Big Business and not for children. teachers. For the past four years and pajamas, socks and underwear for Unfortunately, in the field of These are organizations that like to the pediatric unit at Lawrence General Massachusetts has been rated be able to say, “you’re fired,” without Hospital. Jill Riker, an eighth-gradeeducation, the notion that experience number one in the nation in student worrying about such things as fairness, teacher at South Lawrence East, workedis a positive attribute in one’s achievement on the National due process or anti-discrimination with sixth-grade teacher Pat Briton,professional life is not as prevalent. Assessment of Educational Progress to organize the projects. Students atFor example, a recent Boston Globe protections. in both math and reading. This is South Lawrence East began work oneditorial lamented the idea that Stand for Children’s major strategy an incredible record. Our teachers the project in February, settling on the“young, talented teachers” could in its attack on teachers’ rights is to deserve a great deal of the credit for logo, “Bring On The Love.” The entirelose their positions to “veteran place a ballot question before voters our students’ outstanding academic school collected school supplies for Theteachers.” Experienced teachers are next fall that would restrict teachers’ performance. The experience and Pencil Project, for a total of seven largeoften characterized in the media as collective bargaining rights around dedication of our teachers should boxes for a school in Kenya through anburnt-out, lazy, unfamiliar with new issues of evaluation, assignments, and be valued and respected, just as we organization called Kawelle. Congrats to transfers. Further, it would prohibit value experience and dedication in Riker, Briton and your students for their the use of seniority as a determining inspiring work. other professions. Our teachers do factor in teacher layoffs. Stand for not deserve to have their reasonable Children’s claim is that seniority     protections and legitimate rights The official publication of protects “bad” teachers, and that the goal of the ballot question is to abolished. ▪ Trivial pursuits Congratulations to the winners of the AFT Massachusetts, AFL-CIO first ever Lynn Teachers Union Trivia Thomas J. Gosnell, President Letters to the Editor Night. The team headed up by Diane Dunn and Cathy Deveney, an AFT MA Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer Dear Editor: of a retirement. Executive Board and paraprofessional VICE PRESIDENTS Some of the issues addressed during In addition to this, Boston’s at the Thurgood Marshall Middle the Telephone Town Hall on 3/28/12 principals are not strangers to School member, took the top spot in Patricia Armstrong are already being implemented in nepotism, favoritism, other preferential the event, successfully answering the Deborah Blinder Sean Bowker treatment in their hiring of employees most number of stump-worthy questions. Boston Public Schools. Older teachers Kathryn Chamberlain The event, which was emceed by AFT are being given less than satisfactory for their buildings. Some principals Brenda Chaney MA’s own Brian LaPierre, attracted more evaluations in various areas and are simply politically connected than 70 Lynn educators from schools Kathy Delaney Catherine Deveney are being told outright that they figureheads who wield their power in across the city. If you’d like to organize Patricia Driscoll should retire. Some have even been corrupt and inappropriate manners a trivia night for your union, contact Marianne Dumont terminated with the loss of their in their schools. They hire teachers jberkshire@aftma.net. J. Michael Earle retirement that they have worked so who don’t have proper credentials to Margaret Farrell     Mary Ferriter hard to accrue. Principals are doing take over positions as they become Jenna Fitzgerald this in response to a not very subtle available in their schools as they see fit. Employee of the Month Richard Flaherty mandate from the Superintendent’s If you want to get corroboration Gabriella White, the Academic/Testing Paul Georges office. about this information, just ask some Coordinator, has been named Nashoba Alice M. Gunning The aim, of course, is to reduce the of the older teachers around the city. Valley Tech’s Employee of the Month. Daniel Haacker school’s budget. Many not so subtle They know what is being done in the Gabby was nominated by Andrea Watson, Joyce Harrington Susan Leahy tactics are being used to “get rid of” schools. Jeremy Slotnick, Jonathan Roman, Emily Francis McLaughlin older staff members. Smith and Eric Stevenson, who praised her Bruce Nelson The methods being used with the Name and address withheld upon request. for her hard work and dedication to her Catherine Patten students at Nashoba Valley. “She is always older teachers are being used system James Philip available to give advice and suggestions Bruce Sparfven wide. Principals walk up to older about ways to improve classroom Richard Stutman teachers and tell them verbally that performance, and is often seen talking Gale Thomas they “should retire.” Then various to and encouraging students to do their Jennifer C. Berkshire, Editor tactics ensue to wear down the best. She inspires us to work our hardest 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 teacher whch destroys the teacher’s under any circumstance and should Boston, Mass. 02111 morale piece by piece. Eventually, if all be commended.,” wrote the students. Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 hints and tactics haven’t been heeded Congratulations Gabby! Fax: 617-423-0174 the harassed and totally morale www.aftma.net frazzled teacher gets terminated. The Got good news to share? Send it to 2 advocate@aftma.net teacher then leaves without the benefit advocate@aftma.net
  • Para Pride, Unity on Display Continued from cover counterparts in Amesbury. “The lesson here is that we have to work together to At the statewide Para be successful,” says Duncan. Conference, celebration Under siege mixes with a palpable The featured speaker of the day was Ruby Newbold, president of the Detroit fear for the future. Association of Educational Office Paras across the country Employees and an AFT vice president. Newbold reported having seen one of are losing their rights the misleading television ads being as their profession and aired here by the controversial group Stand for Children (see cover story). way of life comes under Said Newbold: “They don’t stand assault. for people who actually work with children.” She cautioned the audience members to be wary of organizations While much of the day was devoted that claim to speak for ‘children’ orto celebrating the hard work of the ‘parents’ but are really mouthpieces for SPECIAL DAY Iris Santana (left) is a first year para at the Holland School ineducation support personnel, serious a corporate agenda. “They have a plan Boston. Her friend Jacqueline Stroud has worked at the school for 6 years.issues dominated the discussion. and they’re following it,” said Newbold. This was the first time either had attended the Paraprofessional Conference.Several Massachusetts school “They want our schools, our unions Fitzgerald, the Paraprofessional Field the event for the first time. Jeromedistricts have sought to privatize and our way of life.” Representative for the Boston Teachers Anderson, a para at the Washingtonparaprofessional services in recent In Michigan, paras, teachers and Union. “We have to remind ourselves Elementary School in Lynn, whichyears, a trend that is likely to accelerate other public employees have found ‘this is who we are’ and ‘this is what we serves students with behaviorgiven the deep financial straits in themselves under a full-0n assault in believe in.’” problems, said that staff at thewhich many cities and towns find recent months. Lawmakers recently Despite the immense challenges school were trying to do a better jobthemselves. In Amesbury, paras who passed a measure banning public facing paras, teachers and other of working directly with parents inwork with special education students employers from deducting dues from public sector union members today, an effort to help them understandsuccessfully fought an effort to the paychecks of school employees. Newbold told the crowd that she what paras do. “Parents don’t alwaysoutsource their jobs by working with Union leaders say that the bill was remains hopeful. Said Newbold: “We realize,” says Anderson, a first-timeparents and community members. passed to punish school employees for have something the other side doesn’t attendee at the conference.Still, their victory came at a significant exercising their free speech rights in have: each other—we have solidarity. First year para Iris Santana wascost to the paras—already the lowest calling for a constitutional amendment They may have money but we have attending the event with her friendpaid educators in the city—who gave to protect collective bargaining rights right.” She encouraged the paras to Jacqueline Stroud. Both work atup vacation days, longevity bonuses in the state. help educate their colleagues about the the Holland School in Dorchester.and reimbursement for professional Community solution importance of belonging to a union, Santana said that Newbold’s speechtraining and education in order to hold Newbold said that the experience and to get involved if they aren’t had encouraged her to become moreonto the jobs they love. of the paras and teachers in Michigan already. “Get informed and involved in active. “She really challenged us today.” In Lynn, the Lynn Teachers demonstrates that it isn’t enough to our fight—because that’s what it is: our Stroud nodded in agreement. “We doUnion which represents the paras in struggle.” this work because we love kids,” saidthat city’s schools, has fought off asimilar privatization bid—for now.President Brant Duncan notes that the merely belong to a union. “We have to organize ourselves,” said Newbold, who serves on the AFT’s Paraprofessional That message seemed to resonate with the paras in the audience, a Stroud. “That’s why we’re here.” ▪ Advisory Council with Jenna number of whom were attendingLynn paras learned much from their Lesley University School of Education Providing a better learning experience for teachers for more than 100 years. Lesley’s Graduate School of Education is marked by its commitment • Master’s programs leading to initial and professional licensure to the preparation and professional development of educators, • Licensure-only programs innovative and challenging coursework, and lifelong learning. • 12-credit post-Master’s options We offer a wide range of learning opportunities for education • Advanced Professional Certificates professionals, including: • Ph.D. programs Lesley offers programs to fit your lifestyle. Learn on-campus, online, or at a location near you. Questions? Contact info@lesley.edu | 888.LESLEY.U School of Education teach.lesley.edu/advocate 3May 2012
  • Diary I n my classroom there is a young TEACH FOR LAWRENCE girl. She came to the US when she Lorena German, a was little. She was raised here in third year teacher at Lawrence and all her schooling was in Lawrence High School, the public schools. In middle school has come back to teach of a New Teacher she was very involved in her studies. at the same school She always did her homework and that she once attended. then some. She won city wide spelling German brings with her By Lorena German bees, read endlessly, participated a direct knowledge of English Teacher the challenges that her in after school activities and even Lawrence HIgh School students will face when tutored peers when allowed. She was they go onto college. “I responsible in her education and had want them to see, through serious goals for her life. College was me, that they have a already on her mind. She graduated chance to make a change.”Writers wanted from eighth grade with honors. Then, she went to Lawrence HighAre you a new teacher who School. She sat in classes packed She went away during the summers will be a sea of white Americanwould like to write about with other students and was highly to various college-sponsored programs students and she will start to question distracted by the dysfunction. She sawyour experiences? You’ll get students who dropped out long before for high school students as a way to her identity as a Latina in the U.S. She$300 per column and the compensate for what she was lacking will not understand what the class is graduation day. She saw classrooms during the year and to boost up her talking about as they discuss Britishexposure of appearing in a plagued by endless standardized resume. She still hadn’t given up on poetry or when the teacher correctsstatewide publication that tests and busy work. She experienced that college goal. her paper and grades her down for absent teachers and a few others whoreaches 25,000 readers. In- seemed like they were only coming in Senior year rolled around and the “poor syntax.” She will start to wonderterested? Write to: A student had become a B/C student. why each time she says that she’s from for a paycheck. She sat there and was Then it was time to apply for college. Lawrence people give her funny looks.advocate@aftma.net frustrated. She was angry. She knew Since she hadn’t had a real counselor She will learn that her experience that not every school operated that for four years, she finagled and got a is not unique because she will meet way because she visited other schools teacher to list herself as a counselor. other students from other inner cities and she knew students in other places. She then wrote her own college like her. She wished and hoped, but that wasn’t recommendations. She passed them to That young girl in my classroom is enough. the teacher and the woman signed on me. And that is why I returned to the During the school day she couldn’t the dotted line. Office aids, personnel same classrooms in which I was once breathe properly because the air was and teachers didn’t understand a student, this time to teach. I teach perfumed by so much gossip and her vigor or frustration and just because I really know and understand negativity: students who were more questioned why she walked around the young people that sit in front of concerned with their social lives and with a puffed up chest. Maybe because me. I want them to see, through me what boyfriend they had that week; that’s all she had. and through my experience, that they young people arguing about what What she doesn’t know is that too have a chance to make a change. I he said and she said. Meanwhile the search for a new superintendent continued. while she’ll get into college she won’t be academically prepared. Her classes teach for Lawrence. ▪ ENGAGE, MOTIVATE, and EDUCATE the 21st-Century Learner Master of Education Learning and Instruction Concentration Designed for a broad range of educators, the Master of Education with a concentration in Learning and Instruction provides an in-depth look at themes that are transforming education — technology and distance learning, globalization, creative and critical thinking, assessments, and learning outcomes. Complementing these themes are seven areas of focus: • Adult and Organizational Learning • Math • English Language Learning • Science • Literacy • Technology • Leadership Offering online and on-campus courses as well as flexible enrollment options, this program allows you to study where and when it’s convenient for you. Learn more: Call 1.877.668.7727 or visit www.northeastern.edu/cps/MED-LI 4 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  • 2012 Convention Report The State of the Union Report on OrganizationBy Tom Gosnell Tennessee. Rhode Island has seen aPresident, AFT Massachusetts diminution in the pensions of those By Annemarie Dubois disproves that theory.I n the last convention report I already retired and the future pensions Director of Organization, AFT In one unintended consequence wrote about challenging events of those currently working. Massachusetts of the new law, in virtually allin Massachusetts and in the nation. What has happened throughout the communities where officials haveMuch has also happened this year. nation was bound to have some impact AFT MA members will long raised the issue, union leaders have In Wisconsin the governor and on us. remember this past year as one formed strong bonds as they workedthe legislature massacred collective What has happened in of immense challenge, significant together , and many have resolvedbargaining for public employees. Massachusetts is not nearly as change, and strong coalitions. to continue to work as the PublicCourt challenges did not succeed. draconian, but we have not escaped Collective bargaining, health Employee Coalition on issues thatHowever, the unions collected twice unscathed. Our voice in bargaining insurance, teacher accountability and affect any or all union membersthe number of signatures to put on the about health insurance is not as robust. evaluation, and continuing financial in the coalition. As we mobilizeballot the recall of Governor Walker, However, the public employee unions deficits in many cities and towns to defeat the Stand for Childrenthe architect of the assault on collective were able to get into the legislation the dominated our members’ lives as Innitiative, our coalition membersbargaining. The campaign is fierce. right to negotiate mitigation monies to they struggled to do the work they provide us a natural springboard inI have told the AFT leadership in offset any large increase in co-pays and love in schools, colleges, and libraries our communities as we take our fightWisconsin that AFT MA will give them deductibles. In addition, the premium across the state. directly to the voters.all the assistance we can. split is still subject to negotiations. Public employees in If we enlist their assistance, we Repeal of collective bargaining Pensions for those hired on or Massachusetts faced an can spread our message more quicklyalso happened in Ohio, but in a after April 2, 2012, will see changes unprecedented assault on their to other public employees, theirpowerful display of solidarity the requiring more years to be worked to collective bargaining rights when families and the community at large.unions gathered a massive amount get full pensions. Those hired before the legislature passed a bill allowing Our coalition colleagues will certainlyof signatures to put on the ballot that date will not be affected. municipalities to transfer their face the same assault on senioritya repeal of the legislation. Then The most prominent current employees to the Group Insurance and other employee protections ifthey persuaded the voters to repeal challenge is the initiative petition Commission (GIC) to obtain health the largest sector of public employeethe legislation. Showing our union which, if passed, will cause chaos and insurance. Although the legislation unions, teachers, lose this fight. Wesolidarity, we gave them financial confusion. In the convention folder promises financial relief to must build on the strength we haveassistance. there is an abundance of literature municipalities in these still difficult found in coalition with our municipal The Indiana legislature passed which explains the petition and gives financial times, it does nothing to union colleagues to effectivelya bill, signed by the governor, many, many talking points which can reduce health care costs. It simply combat those who would destroy alleliminating the right to collectively be used both with our members and shifts those costs to employees of us.bargain about practically everything. the general public. in the form of higher copays and Stand for Children threatensIdaho teachers have lost tenure and deductibles. While the bill will the very foundations of teachercollective bargaining is history in Continued on page 4A drastically change the health care due process rights as well as landscape for our members, the state collective bargaining over the terms Legal Report Public Employee Coalition, including and conditions of employment. AFT MA, worked tirelessly and They claim, as do their corporate effectively for months at the State supporters the Walton Foundation, House to avoid a total catastrophe the Gates foundation, and Bain By Haidee Morris, General excluding relevant experience from that would have left unions Capital, among others, that Counsel, and Joseph Lettiere, primary consideration. This is an completely out of the process. eliminating teacher rights will Associate Counsel, AFT open invitation to discriminate on the Some municipal leaders have improve public education and “close Massachusetts basis of age, as relevant experience used the law as a springboard for the achievement gap”. They assert is excluded from the primary real negotiation about the issue Evergreen Clauses determining factors. that by staffing classrooms with of high cost health insurance, and young, enthusiastic, innovative Last year we reported on the Furthermore, the principal is not have worked with union leaders in teachers and eliminating the “old nullification of evergreen clauses by required to consider only performance coalition to both reduce costs and dead wood”, at risk students will the Supreme Judicial Court in the evaluations. The principal has carte to lessen the burden on employees. succeed. Boston Housing Authority case. We blanche to consider “merit and In those communities, union Make no mistake about the real are pleased to report that, through ability” which includes performance leaders have worked together as issue in this fight-money. If veteran union cooperation we were able evaluations, as well as other never before, setting aside their teachers with multiple advanced to successfully pass legislation unspecified factors related to job differences, to negotiate successfully which reinstated evergreen clauses. degrees earning salaries at the top of performance and the “best interests” multiyear health insurance plans Evergreen clauses are once again the salary scale lose their jobs, and of the students in the school or that protect members, especially the valid, retroactive to the time of the district. The principal also has younger inexperienced teachers with SJC decision. Evergreen clauses most vulnerable, with mitigation bachelor’s degrees replace them, at unfettered discretion as to whether to can be important for preserving plans that span the length of the the low end of the salary scale, school accept a teacher in a transfer or layoff arbitration rights and including stipend situation, leaving a teacher without agreement. districts will save millions of dollars positions as regular compensation rights or, ultimately, a job. Sadly, in other communities, annually. If the cycle continues to for retirement purposes. If you do leaders used the new law as a club repeat itself, and without due process not have an evergreen clause, make The petition would end layoff to transfer employees to the GIC rights for the new young teachers sure to negotiate your contracts protection for teachers with and to beat unions into acceptance who in ten or so years would find retroactively to the expiration date professional teacher status over of a one year mitigation fund, the themselves at the top of the scale, it of the last contract to avoid these those without such status, prevent minimum required by the new would, the savings would multiply as problems. less than full time teachers from statute. Despite utilizing a strong getting professional status, and each crop of “old dead wood” met its “Stand for Children” Petition coalition approach, these union fate. creates endless bureaucratic red tape leaders could not provide any benefit Some will argue that public regarding appointments, dismissals, and Looming on the horizon, with evaluations. These are but a few of the to their members beyond the bare education simply could not function significant funding from right wing many bad aspects of this petition. bones statutory requirement. under such circumstances and that sources, the assault on teacher unions If we ever had any thought career educators would continue to continues. With the ink barely dry AFT Massachusett is signing on to that without collective bargaining, work in education. Perhaps some few on the new performance evaluation an amicus brief with the AFL-CIO in politicians would treat our members would, those necessary to serve as standards required by the latest solidarity with the MTA, which has fairly and maintain contract education reform act, the corporately principals or district administrators, filed a legal challenge to the petition items that provide good working funded “Stand for Children” in non- union positions. Since they being on the ballot. However, it is easy conditions, salaries and benefits, organization has filed an initiative to get on the ballot and hard to get have no protection other than what petition which would put decisions the unbridled use of power some exists in their individual contracts, a petition denied, so we anticipate a about whom to keep and whom to municipal leaders have demonstrated their longevity to the age of difficult fight at the ballot box.  layoff in the hands of the principal in the implementation of the new retirement seems doubtful. based on many subjective factors, but health insurance statute certainly Continued on page 3A 1A
  • Executive Board Members 2012 AFT Massachusetts Patricia Armstrong, Deb Blinder, Holliston Sean Bowker, SE Regional Kathryn Chamberlain, Boston Teachers Union, Federation of Teachers, Teachers Federation, Chelmsford Federation Local 66. Patricia a labor Local 3275 Deb teaches Local 1849 Sean teaches of Teachers, Local 3569 member of the Democratic Spanish at Adams Middle biology at SE Regional Kathryn teaches 6th grade State Committee. School in Holliston. Vocational Technical HS. math and science. Brenda Chaney, Boston Kathy Delaney, Catherine Deveney, Lynn Patricia Driscoll, Lawrence Teachers Union, Lawrence Teachers Teachers Union, Local Teachers Union, Local Local 66 Brenda is the Union, Local 1019 1037 Cathy is a a para at 1019 Pat taught for 35 community outreach Kathy is a middle school Marshall Middle School and a years in the Lawrence Public coordinator for the BTU.. counselor and union VP. VP of the LTU. Schools. Marianne Dumont, J. Michael Earle, United Margaret Farrell, Mary Ferriter, Chelsea United Teachers of Teachers of Lowell, United Teachers of Teachers Union, Local Lowell, Local 495 Mickey Local 495 Michael is vice Lowell, Local 495 1340 Mary is the lead is the Education Issues president of the United Retired after 47 years of teacher of the Chelsea Chairperson for the United Teachers of Lowell and teaching, Midge is now Middle School Alternative Teachers of Lowell. taught honors biology at chairperson of the retired Program, located in the Lowell High School. teachers group in Lowell. Browne Middle School. Paul Georges, United Alice Gunning, Lynn Daniel Haacker, Joyce Harrington, Salem Jenna Fitzgerald, Boston Teachers of Lowell, Local Teachers Union, Local Massachusetts Library Teachers Union, Local Teachers Union, Local 66 495 Paul is president of the 1037 Alice was president Staff Association, Local 1258 Joyce is president of Jenna is the paraprofessional United Teachers of Lowell of the Lynn Teachers Union 4928 Dan is VP of the the Salem Teachers Union field representative for the and a VP of the Mass. AFL- until last year and a longtime Massachusetts Library and a 5th grade teacher. Boston Teachers Union. CIO. elementary teacher. Staff Association. Richard Flaherty, Susan Leahy, Billerica Frank McLaughlin, Bruce Nelson, Peabody Catherine Patten, Medway Federation of Federation of Teachers, Lawrence Teachers Federation of Teachers, Amesbury Federation of Teachers, Local 3645 Local 1677 Union, Local 1019 Local 1289 Bruce is Teachers, Local 1033 Dick is former president of Sue recently retired as a Frank is president of the president of the Peabody Catherine is a 2nd grade the Medway Federation of first grade teacher at the Lawrence Teachers Union Federation of Teachers. He teacher at Amesbury Teachers and a retired social Vining School in Billerica. and a history teacher at is a retired English teacher. Elementary School. studies teacher. Lawrence High. James A. Philip, Boston Bruce Sparfven, UMass Richard Stutman, Gale Thomas, Lynn Teachers Union, Local Faculty Federation, Boston Teachers Union, Teachers Union, Local 66 Timo is a member of Local 1895 Bruce is Vice Local 66 1037 Gale is a long-time the executive board of the President of the UMass Richard is president of the activist in the Lynn Teachers Boston Teachers Union. He Faculty Federation at UMass Boston Teachers Union. and Union and works part-time teaches social studies at Dartmouth. He is also chair a former math teacher in at the Harrington School in2A 2012 Convention Report Brighton High School. of the Educational Services the Boston Public Schools. Lynn providing intervention Unit. instruction.
  • AFT Massachusetts Staff MembersWalter Armstrong, Jennifer Berkshire, Michael F. Canavan, Eileen Carney,Field Representative Editor Field Representative for SecretaryWalter was previously the Jennifer is a freelance Legislation Mike formerly Eileen is a graduate ofpresident of the Bellingham journalist and an adjunct worked for the National Boston College andMunicipal Employees, part of faculty member in Labor Association of Government considers herself a proudAFSCME Council 93. Studies at UMass Amherst. Employees and SEIU. advocate for public education.Jennifer L. Daniel, Office Edward Doherty, Annemarie T. DuBois, Carmela Dyette,Manager Special Assistant to the Director of ReceptionistJennifer graduated from President Ed served as Organization Past Carmela is a graduate ofBristol Community College president of the Boston president of the Peabody the Boston Public Schoolsand has been with AFT Teachers Union before Federation of Teachers, and is currently attendingMassachusetts since 1994. joining the staff of AFT Annemarie was a former the Wentworth Institute of Massachusetts. English teacher. Technology. system, including the use of student achievement and student/parental and staff feedback, over at least the next two years. Our members in Boston continue their protracted fight for a fair contract as do their colleagues in Peabody, Salem Diane Frey, Field Brian LaPierre Political and Lawrence. Our members in Lynn,Shawn Flood, Field Joseph R. Lettiere, Representative Diane Organizer Brian was a Lowell, Westport, and Pittsfield amongRepresentative Shawn is a Associate Counsel began her long career in field representative for AFT others, settled contracts this year. Theformer field representative Joe formerly served as the labor movement as MA and taught history atwith the AFT Northern associate counsel for settlements in Pittsfield gave all five an organizer for 1199 and both the Thurgood MarshallNew England Council and Council 93 of the American bargaining units multiyear contracts for worked most recently for Middle School and Lynnan organizer for the New Federation of State, County the first time in years. AFT in Vermont, organizing English High School.Mexico Federation of and Municipal Employees. One of the most significant changes early education workers.Teachers. this past year occurred at AFT MA itself. Veteran field representatives Steve Asadoorian, Dianne Heeley, and Political Director Cathy Dwyer retired. Long time secretary Mary Ann Dority also retired. Brian LaPierre moved into the job of political organizer, and Andy Powell, Walter Armstrong, and Mike Regan joined the staff as field representatives.Haidee Morris, General Dan Murphy, Director of Andy Powell, Field J. Coley Walsh, FieldCounsel Representative for Eileen Carney joined the staff as Education Policy RepresentativeHaidee was formerly A former researcher, writer Legislation secretary and Carmela Dyette became Andy formerly worked as athe labor counsel to the and analyst, Dan came Coley was formerly a our receptionist. health insurance consultantBoston Public Schools to AFT MA from AFT’s guidance counselor at the Shawn Flood, Diane Frey, with Boston Benefitsand the Massachusetts national headquarters in Partners, advising public Lawrence Regional School. Special Assistant to the president EdCommunity Colleges. Washington DC. sector unions. Doherty and I joined our new field representatives working with our locals. Report on Organization Dan Murphy, director of education policy and programs worked with our members and with DESE on their also face the same fate, albeit in out to members of the Lawrence behalf.Continued from Convention Report, page 1A different forums. community including parents, church John Coley Walsh and Mike Canavan The issue has far-reaching The state placed the Lawrence and civic leaders to create coalitions so worked as lobbyists at the State Housemonetary impact at the state level as Public Schools into Level 5 status, that the opportunity to transform the on behalf of our members.well. Lower teacher salaries would receivership, a first for any district schools will succeed and will impact As always, Jennifer Berkshirelessen municipal demands for local in the state. Commissioner Chester life in the city itself positively. told our stories in The Advocate andaid increases. If teachers didn’t stay in appointed Boston principal Jeffery Teacher accountability and teacher assisted our locals in establishingthe profession long enough to qualify C. Riley as the receiver who wields evaluation dominated the year in our communication networks to facilitatefor retirement benefits and work unprecedented singular authority over Level 4 schools in Boston, Lawrence, the distribution of information andlong enough to collect a pension, the the system as he attempts to improve Lowell, and Lynn, but they now move political action.unfunded pension liability the state student outcomes in the district. He to the forefront in our Race To The Jennifer Daniel, our office manager,faces would disappear. signed a three year contract, but has Top districts for next year. Many continued to assist our members at the The consequences of a Stand stated publically that the turnaround of our members have voiced their AFT MA office.victory reach far beyond teachers and may take longer. He has begun an frustration as they have tried to As we face the coming year andeducation. They threaten every public intense evaluation process of some 60 negotiate what became a moving target the immense challenges ahead, weemployee whose unions would face teachers. They will learn by the end since DESE failed to meet its own commit ourselves and our resources tothe same draconian legislative and of the school year whether or not they deadlines for the release of guidelines fighting the attacks that threaten theballot initiative fights to destroy their will have jobs for the next school year. and rubrics. Teacher evaluation will rights of our members and of all publicdue process and collective bargaining The Lawrence Teachers Union dominate negotiations for years to employees and the institutions in whichrights. Private sector unions would working with AFT MA and AFT has come since DESE will continue to roll they work. joined Jobs With Justice to reach out some aspects of the evaluation 3A2012 Convention Report
  • Secretary Treasurer’s Statement of Financial Position: April 30, 2011 REPORT ASSETS Cash 626,436 Receivables 561,096 The State of the Union’s Finances Prepaid Expenses Furniture & Equipment 62,971 30,725 Security Deposit 12,465 TOTAL ASSETS 1,293,693 Mark Allred as collective bargaining rights. Secretary Now, in 2012, we face yet another challenge in the so called “Stand LIABILITIES & NET ASSETS Treasurer, AFT for Children” initiative petition. CURRENT LIABILITIES Massachusetts Everyone wants an excellent teacher in every classroom. Accounts payable 14,14726,986 However, as you will hear at this Accrued Expenses 47,174 Once again, I am pleased to convention as well as your local ‑ Employee Benefits Payablereport that the finances of the leaders, if this petition passes, itorganization are sound. We have will gut our collective bargaining TOTAL LIABILITIES 111,634weathered another year of assault agreements. TOTAL NET ASSETS 1,293,693on our collective bargaining rights This will be a massive fight andas well upon our dignity as public TOTAL LIABILITIES & ASSETS 1,293,693 the winds are currently not in our(and private) servants. The toll has favor. However, the leadershipbeen massive but we continue to of this organization will do battle REVENUESfight the good fight to protect what without any increase in revenue Per Capita Dues 3,678,638we have. Our members, whether for the coming fiscal year. We At large Dues 1,340they be teachers, librarians, understand that times are tough AFT Rebate 40,658paraprofessionals, cafeteria for all of us and we will work 0 AFT Defense Fund Grantworkers, college professors, within our existing resources to 30,240 AFT Assistancebus drivers or secretaries, are win this battle. However, each and 4,483 Interest Incomedoing the job every day for every one of our members must do Insurance Administrative Fees 2,967the good of the citizens of the his or her part to spread the wordCommonwealth. After all, isn’t to defeat this wretched petition. TOTAL REVENUES 3,758,326the state of Massachusetts tops in Thank you for the opportunityeducation? And the strange thing to be your Secretary-Treasurer. EXPENSESis that Massachusetts is the most Advertising 3,798 It is an honor to serve this 62,365unionized state in the nation. Assistance to Members and Locals organization. Enjoy the ▪ Automobiles 204,348 Over the past year, we have convention! Charitable Contributions 25,336battled the assaults on our health Citizens for Public Schools 0care plans, our pensions as well 43,678 Conferences & Conventions Contributions to Cand. & Refer. 144,080 Depreciation 16,626Congratulations! Employee Benefits 455,577 Expenses Reimbursements 83,185 Insurance 22,379 Library 24,133 Maintenance 789 Newspaper 72,919Distinguished Service 2012 AFT MA Scholarship Office Supplies 73,675Award Recipients Winners 154,377 Payroll TaxesCongratulations to the win- AFT Massachusetts congratu- Pension Plan 294,222ners of the 2012 Distinguished lates the winners of the 2012 Per Capita – AFT 3,308 Postage 18,616Service Awards. The awards Albert Shanker, Sandra Feld- 35,865 Professional Feesare presented annually to AFT man and Jay Porter Scholar- Public Relations 39,000MA members who have demon- ships. Each winner, a high Rent 184,446strated an outstanding level of school senior and dependent of Salaries 1,805,235service and dedication to their an AFT Massachusetts mem- Scholarships 12,000 Telephone & Utilities 13,300union locals. ber, will receive $1500 towardsK-12 Educators the cost of his or her college TOTAL EXPENSES 3,793,257Thad Ackerman, AFT or post-secondary education. INCREASE IN NET ASSETS 71,020Amesbury Congratulations to this year’s winners and best of luck with ASSETS AT BEGINNING OF YEAR 1,226,656William Donaghey, United your future endeavors. ASSETS AT END OF YEAR 1,182,059Teachers of LowellPublic & Private HigherEducation, Municipal Li- Albert Shanker, Sandra Feld- man and Jay Porter Scholar- President’s Reportbrarians or Nurses ship Recipients Continued from Convention Report, page 1A the continuation of quality publicWayne LeBlanc, UMass Rose Allocca education for our students from pre- Go to the AFT MA web page at www.Faculty Federation Abigail Heingertner kindergarten to higher education, and aftma.net to learn much more. We Brandon Higgins the maintenance of public libraries for shall work very hard and very smart toSchool Related Personnel Kayla Marandola all residents. defeat this initiative.Barbara Bemis, Amalia Mendoza As we move forward, all AFT MA Since the challenges will continue,New Bedford Fed. of Shawn Morrissey members need to be activists, willing public employee unions will continueParaprofessionals Boris Stanchev to articulate the values and ideals we to band together to fight, to fight hard, Sarah Vandewalle believe are necessary for a civilized and to fight even harder.Catherine Deveney, Lynn I shall repeat what I wrote the last society.Teachers Union AFT MA Professional We want what is good for students, two years. Staff Union Jay Porter fair to all educational workers and ▪ AFT Massachusetts, in allianceRetired Member Scholarship librarians, and collaboratively done. with like minded organizations, willJudith Robinson, United Benjamin Soper fight for increased revenues, theTeachers of Lowell avoidance of layoffs, the amendment of the education bill, the preservation of health care coverage and pensions, 4A
  • BEHIND T eacher Chaya Harris’ students may TRAVELING not have accompanied her on her TEACHER THE SCENES 16 day trip through Latin America Chaya Harris, a last summer—but they have been the fifth grade teacher beneficiaries of her experiences none at the Mather the less. All year, Harris’ has used School in Boston. pictures and stories from her travels Harris traveled Chaya Harris through Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil through Latin with a group of nine other teachers to America last A new teacher discovers communicate a simple but powerful year with GEEO, a nonprofit that lesson to her students: there is a world a passion for travel beyond Dorchester. offers affordable trips to educators. “Students in our community don’t Says Harris: have opportunities like this and they “When my don’t know anyone else who does students see me, either,” says Harris, a fifth-grade an older version teacher at the Mather School. “When of them, they they see me and I’m basically an older think ‘maybe I can version of them, they think ‘maybe experience other I can experience other worlds too.’ worlds too.’ It It opens up their minds to what’s opens their minds possible,” says Harris, who grew up to what’s possible. It opens up a new just blocks away from the school where world.” she now teaches. The trip was organized by Global Exploration for Educators, a nonprofit her travel mates. Among them: hang excitement to contend with since she that runs affordable group tours for gliding, barefoot hiking, different styles returned. “Being a new teacher is an teachers. (See information below). of dance and plenty of unusual food. adventure every day,” says Harris, who GEEO is currently offering trips to the “We ate parts of the cow and pig that followed the lead of her mother, Boston Galapagos Islands, Peru, China, and none of us had ever tried before.” teacher Donna Hill Harris, into the a 15 day trip to Turkey. Participants The group also visited some classroom. The younger Harris studied are promised a well-planned trip with elementary schools in Uruguay where journalism at Northwestern in Chicago plenty of freedom to explore, as well students were participating in an but opted to return to Boston and as the opportunity to travel with other after-school program. Harris says pursue a teaching career. teachers. that she and the other teachers were Harris says that she’s already Harris says that exploring Latin fascinated by the differences between looking forward to her next trip: to America with a group of educators the Uruguyan school and their own the Galapagos Island—but not for a only deepened the rewards of the trip. facilities. “The teachers didn’t have a few years. “The experience was just “Teachers are naturally compassionate lot of supplies to work with and yet amazing. Other teachers should take and we’re always thinking about how to they were obviously doing a lot with the opportunity to travel if they have share. We’re also very open-minded,” what they had,” says Harris. it. The trip was a real adventure for me says Harris, who notes that the trip And while her travels may be over and it opened up a new world for my included plenty of “firsts” for her and for now, Harris has had plenty of students too.” ▪Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50 Global Exploration for Educators Orga- nization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit By Matt Robinson organization that runs summer profes-T hough perhaps best known for the award-winning book The PhantomTollbooth (which recently celebrated sional development travel programs designed for teachers.its 50th year as a favorite of young GEEO is offering 13 different traveland old alike), Norton Juster spent programs for the summer of 2012:many years teaching. As such, the India/Nepal,Vietnam, Thailand/Laos/architect who once designed homes Cambodia, China, Russia/Mongolia/and curricula has a thing or two to China, Turkey 8 day, Turkey 15 day,say about education and how it has South Africa/Mozambique/Zimbabwe/changed. Botswana, Morocco, Peru, Ecuador, The Galapagos Islands and Costa Rica. The After receiving a Ford Foundation deadline for signing up is June 1st, butgrant for what was supposed to be a Space is limited!book for children on cities and urbanplanning, Juster began work on a book Educators have the option to earnabout a fantastical world where words graduate school credit and professionaland numbers lived in harmony. development credit while seeing the “It is a story about a kid who didn’t world. The trips are 8 to 24 days inlike school,” he explains, noting the length and are designed and discountedsimilarities between his hero and to be interesting and affordable forhimself. “I see things differently,” he teachers. GEEO provides teacherssays. “I start with images and do things educational materials and the structuredifferently than the way most writers to help them bring their experiences PAY THE TOLL Norton Juster, into the classroom. The trips are opendo.” Though he attributes his unique author of the children’s classic, says to all nationalities of K-12 and univer-approach to his architectural training that there is too much emphasis sity educators and administrators, as(which, he suggests, makes you look well as retired educators. Educators are on testing in education today andat everything from different points also permitted to bring along a non- not enough on creativity.of view), he says that he felt the need educator guest.to write his book because, even 50years ago, he was seeing how so many noting that both his daughter and Detailed information about each trip,students were not allowed to shape granddaughter both scold him for including itineraries, costs, travel dates,their own perspectives. trying to suggest alternate ways to deal and more can be found at www.geeo. “In school today, you learn one with problems and ideas. “They say org. GEEO can be reached 7 days away to do a thing,” Juster suggests, they can only do things one way. That week, toll free at 1-877-600-0105 be-recalling the “deadly” dictum he makes me angry because the essence of tween 9AM-9PM EST.learned in the Navy of “tell ‘em what why [people] go to school is to developyou gonna’ tell ‘em, tell ‘em and a way to look at things from variousthen tell ‘em what you told ‘em” and points of view.” Continued on page 7. 5May 2012
  • On Campus Dan Georgianna, Political Director UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895School Shootings Prompt Reflection, DebateF ive years ago this month, a student sharing ideas, the UMass Faculty Students at Virginia Federation program has started a who had been diagnosed with Tech commemo- monthly program for faculty and staffanxiety disorders shot 57 students and rate the killings of for advice and discussion this semester.faculty at Virginia Tech, killing 32 of 52 students and The first meeting, for example,them and then himself. The killings faculty, five years covered what to do when a distraughtat Virginia Tech became the focus for ago this month. student comes to an office. A facultynational debate over violence, gun Since then there member from the UMass Dartmouthlaws, and mental health on college have been two Law School advised faculty and staffcampuses, especially after many more shootings at that the choice of open or closed doormore incidents of killing on college the school. should be the student’s. Every meetingcampuses, including two more atVirginia Tech. with a student should be noted with For me, the murders at Virginia time, place and details about the University officials waited more discovered was a reasonable amount ofTech illustrate misguided laws and meeting. The likelihood of something than two hours after they knew he time.university policies that defy common bad resulting from the meeting had killed two students in a dormitory The shooting had little effect on gunsense. Virginia Tech officials were should be reported immediately to a to notify the campus and then sent a control laws due to the usual deadlocknot allowed access to the killer’s long supervisor with details in writing. careful though misleading message between forces in favor of gun controlhistory of mental illness, including a Further meetings are planned on about a shooting “incident” in a on campus and opposition that arguedjudge, who ordered treatment ruling response to a fire during class, advising dormitory. An earlier warning may faculty and students licensed to carrythat he was mentally ill. Two years students in abusive situations, what have saved some of the other 50 guns could have stopped the shooting.before the murders, his English to do with a threatening student while victims who were shot in classrooms Virginia Tech had rules againstprofessor warned university officials waiting for the police to come, what to around the same time that the message carrying guns on campus, and Virginiathat the shooter’s writings showed do if a student has a seizure in class, was sent out. The U.S. Department of had background check laws for gunmental instability and aggression and while horrific to contemplate, Education initially ruled that Virginia purchases that should have stopped thetowards his classmates. University perhaps what to do when the shooting Tech had been negligent in warning the killer from buying handguns.officials did nothing. She wrote later starts. campus, but a special administrative Following the killing, the Federalthat Virginia Tech administration While far from the usual salary and judge recently exonerated Virginia Disclosure of Campus Security Policyseemed more interested in preserving working conditions negotiations, these Tech, ruling that warning the campus and Campus Crime Statistics Act washis privacy than protecting the campus. are common problems that educators two hours after the first murders were amended to require colleges to issue face that require practical solutions “timely warning” when notified of and advice. If the administration is danger to the campus. mainly interested in covering their you school of education, public policy and civic engagement Most faculty and staff know to report shooting or other acts of violence immediately to campus police. know what, unions need to step in. Share comments with Dan ▪ Few know what to do when directly Georgianna at dgeorgianna@umassd. PhD/EdD confronted with violence. A student edu at Okios University, where a student recently shot and killed six students UMass Lowell Adjuncts and a secretary, had the good sense to lock the classroom door, turn out the Fight for Fairness in Educational lEadErship lights and keep everyone quiet when the killer approached. She told the local UMass Lowell may brand newspaper, “We were so scared, we itself a “world class university,” a program didn’t have any idea what to do.” While murder and violence but the adjuncts who teach many of its classes for as little focused on social thankfully are rare on campus, few as $3500 a course, say that to faculty or staff know what to do with earn that distinction the school the more common difficult situations must treat its employees fairly. justice and equality on campus, such as an angry student coming to a faculty office to argue a grade, a student reporting sexual The Lowell adjuncts voted to form a union last year and in education abuse, a student showing signs of suicidal intent or something as simple have been trying to reach an agreement with the university 4 year program please contact: as a fire bell going off during class. since then. While adjuncts at designed These are practical matters. Faced with other UMass campuses receive students crying in their offices, most health and retirement benefits for part-time dr. Joao paraskeva, faculty and staff do not know what to Graduate program director as well as regular wage in- students do as they listen to stories that they creases, the Lowell adjuncts get 508.910.6697 would rather not hear. The decision none of these. small  classes jparaskeva@umassd.edu to leave the office door open when a distraught student asks to shut it can The school recently made state  of the art research be difficult. headlines for its decision to in education University administrations are not pay outgoing president, Jack leadership and policy much help. I’ve attended workshops Wilson, more than half a mil- on reporting sexual abuse and other lion dollars. After a year-long producing  education potential crimes that focused on sabbatical Wilson will return leaders and policy makers protecting school officials’ you know to UMass Lowell to teach for what rather than give sensible advice to with critical thinking skills more than $200,000. faculty and staff. Seeing no campus policies, www.umassd.edu/educationalleadership processes, support systems or even For more info visit www. safe forums for asking questions and adjunctmajority.org 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  • Retiree Corner SENIOR SEMINARS Marie Ardito, Co-founder Protecting Your Nest Egg Massachusetts Retirees United Two hour seminar, presented by Elder www.retireesunited.org Law Attorney Mary Howie When: Saturday June 23, 10 - Noon“Grammy School” In Session Where: Presidential Park, Unit 105, 214 Main Street (Rt. 38), WilmingtonB ack in the dark ages, when those of us who retired were still inthe classroom, this was the season that offer free materials, as I have grandchildren at multiple grade levels. The Dollar Store is another great as well. Take an adventure walk during which the children learn about trees, look for certain plants, or identify the Preparing for Retirement A comprehensive 2 hour seminar for teachers, paras and education supportwhen one anticipated the end of the teacher aide with many inexpensive flowers in a neighbor’s yard. Look personnel within 10 years of retiring.school year; only one more day off, workbooks at a reasonable rate. for other opportunities to expand Note: seminar is offered on multipleMemorial Day! It was full steam Field Trips are also a component experiences. Most libraries offer free dates.ahead to the finish! Today many of of “Grammy School.” Consultation passes to children’s museums andus, both male and female, have taken with your local children’s librarian other places of interest—even state Upton: Blackstone Valley Vocationalon other roles. We are guardians of can provide you with age appropriate parks. Sign up for one of these. Regional School, 65 Pleasant Street.our grandchildren, best known as materials for your grandchild to read Kids love working on the computer When: Tuesday, May 1, 2:30-4:30 PMbabysitters. Now we anticipate the end if you are not knowledgeable about and there are numerous games andof the school year from a different lens. current children’s authors. There is learning experiences with their favorite Peabody: Higgins Middle School One of the great lessons I learned nothing better to turn a reluctant TV characters, and puzzles. Some good Auditorium, 1 Kint St. Ext., May 9,very early in my teaching career was reader on than finding an author each websites are pbskids.org, nickjr.com, 3:30-5:30 PMhow much knowledge some youngsters child likes. Introduce them to series scholastic.com, and jigzone.com.lose when idle for two months during books that are age appropriate and One thing you will discover is that For details or to register for any ofthe summer. Depending upon their when they find a series they like you others will want to use these ideas the above seminars, contact Marieage, a child can lose as much as a have turned a reluctant reader into an with their children. Unless you want Ardito at 1-617-482-1568 or e-mailgrade level if they do not read over the eager reader! to babysit the neighborhood share this mardito@retireesunited.org.summer months. With this in mind I It is equally important that information with them.try to do something that encourages children spend a little time each day Advance planning on your part will make this work. Start now. As Important Informationreading and math skills during the on arithmetic to keep math facts freshsummer months for my grandchildren. in their minds. Download worksheets you learned when you were teaching, for Active EmployeesNow I convene “Grammy School” with or construct your own. Use materials preparation of your lessons took care If you have creditable service thatmy youngest grandchildren and have in your food pantry. A multi-modal of discipline. So too, preparing for you have not purchased and that youseen positive results in them. Our new approach is the way to go. Make it what you will do in “Grammy School” are eligible to receive it is imperativeroutine makes the summer pass with fun! will help make the summer months that you begin the process at once.ease and productivity. Some school districts only teach pass happily and educationally. Your On April 2, 2013 the interest rate will “Grammy School” follows a cursive writing for one year. The kids grandchildren will never be heard ▪ increase to 8.25% making the cost ofschedule and lasts anywhere from either get it or they don’t. School saying: “I’m bored.” buying back this service substantiallyone hour to an hour and a half each districts are happy to lend you books more.day. The Internet is my assistant, as to use during the summer describing Marie Ardito’s column appearsthere are numerous websites offering their method. Five or ten minutes a regularly in the Advocate. Contact If you need aren’t sure whether orappropriate materials not only in day of cursive practice is all it takes her with questions or column ideas at not you are eligible to buy back ser-arithmetic and reading, but in other to assure that the next generation will mardito@retireesunited.org. vice,Visit www.mass.gov/mtrs/. If you have questions or need additionalareas as well. Google a grade level and know how to write by hand. information, contact me at mardito@subject area and you will be surprised All work and no play make Johnny retireesunited.org.with the results. I use only those sites or Jane dull so be sure to do fun thingsThe Golden Continued from page 5 When he wrote and tried to publish PHANTOM AT 50 Norton Juster, a Apple his book, Juster was told that it long-time teacher, would not work for children because says that his the ideas were too advanced and writing has been complicated. “It was general opinion inspired by the of editors that it was not a children’s problems he had as a student. “INorton Juster book,” Juster recalls. “The vocabulary started having was too difficult and the ideas wereTeacher and author of the fun and messing well beyond kids and they would neverPhantom Tollbooth get the word play and punning….And around with to top it all off that fantasy was bad for ideas that I had children!” misunderstood in Five decades later, children of all schoollike what ages continue to get happily lost in the letters and words wonderful world Juster created. ‘taste’ like and “All my learning since I was a kid what music ‘looks’ was fantasy,” explains Juster. “It was like in color and the only way I could learn or get my taking expressions head around things….Everything I did like ‘jumping in school was based on doing things to conclusions’ totally different than other kids were literally.” doing…so I make sure to this day that when I go to schools and talk to open-minded practices that allowed editors and colleagues and even his kids that it is what they think that is him to write and teach and achieve all own family may take issue with how important. that he has. Juster experiences and expresses There is no one meaning, “ Juster “I started having fun and his world, he says contentedly, “it all emphasizes, “even if it is what the author wanted it to say!” messing around with ideas that I had misunderstood or had problems worked out.” ▪ Decrying standardized testing with in school,” explains Juster, “like Phantom Tollbooth fan Matt and other one-sided systems, Juster what letters and words ‘taste’ like Robinson is an ELA teacher at Burke supports a more open-minded, and what music ‘looks’ like in color High School in Boston and a regular cross-pollinating way of looking at and taking expressions like ‘jumping contributor to the Advocate. and dealing with the world. It is such to conclusion’ literally.” And thoughMay 2012 7
  • Teachers Tell Stand: “Sit Down” Continued from cover science training for urban educators, told legislators that he fears that if Will You Take the ballot measure becomes law, the achievement gap will actually widen. the Pledge? Vigeant said that while he considers himself a good teacher—his students’ test scores in New Hampshire were the Join us in standing up highest in the state—he isn’t sure that for public education and he would enlist to be an urban teacher again. “There are so many elements keeping our schools on that, as a teacher, you have absolutely the right track. Go to no control over,” said Vigeant. “When I taught in Lynn I had students who www.aftma.net and take lived in cars.” the pledge today. Advocacy imperiled Teacher Ross Kochman left his SPEAK UP Ada Fuentes, the public education organizer for Massachusetts Second grade teacher Susan Uvanni classroom to attend the hearing, Jobs with Justice and a recent graduate of the Boston Public Schools, told statetraveled from Lowell to tell educators something he does only rarely. “I didn’t legislators that public education should remain public. “My children’s futureabout the success that she and her even miss class when my grandfather should not be in the hands of the Walton Foundation,” said Fuentes.colleagues have had in boosting died last month,” Kochman, a 6thstudent achievement at a formerly grade ELA Teacher at Boston’s Harbor By Ross Kochman, father to visit the school with mestruggling school in that city. Uvanni School, told legislators. Kochman 6th grade ELA teacher, the during one of my work periods.teaches at the CW Morey Elementary described in detail the lengths that Harbor School, Boston We walked around the building,School, where more than half of our he’d gone to help a student find the Anna is just beginning to learn talked to teachers, and observed astudents speak a first language other services she needed within the Boston English and her parents chose to math class. He was impressed. Wethan English, and more than 80% are Public Schools. “Her story would send her to my middle school in went straight to the administrationlow income. She told legislators that have ended differently if the Stand Boston not knowing we didn’t have building to fill out the paperwork.in the past four years, the percentage for Children ballot proposal were in a Structured English Immersion We were told that the window forof students at the school scoring effect. I could not have risked offending program for her. transferring students was closed.proficient or higher on the math administrators at the school and city My co-teacher and I knew it Another blockade from centralportion of the MCAS more than tripled, level if my livelihood were completely would be hard for her to succeed administration.while the school was one of just 18 in their hands,” said Kochman. (See at our school. Our administrators I asked them to open a transferacross the state last year to meet AYP full testimony at right.) wanted to get her transferred, but file anyway and I used connectionsand exist accountability status. The key The Joint Committee on Education September turned into October and I had made during my years in BPSto the teachers’ success, said Uvanni, is expected to announce a report on nothing happened. to push the process along. Withinwas a culture of trust at the Morey that the proposed measure later this spring. Meanwhile, we moved Anna days, Anna was finally at a schoolencouraged risk taking and innovation. Under Massachusetts law, initiative into a homeroom with another ELL that would give her a chance to “There is no silver bullet, no “one- petitions go first before the legislature student so my co-teacher could succeed.size-fits-all” educational protocol. Statutes may be adopted by the give them semi-private instruction It’s for students like Anna that IReaching the students who need us the legislature by a majority vote in both – only 55 minutes a day, but it was became a teacher.most will take more than slogans or TV houses. If the statute is not adopted, the best we could do. But her story would have endedcommercials. We need time, trust, and proponents must collect another,leadership that empowers teacher, not smaller round of signatures to place the Anna’s Story: A teacher fights for atears us down,” said Uvanni.Innovation at risk statute on the ballot this November. ▪ student—and puts his job on the line. Former Lynn teacher Francis For more information, visit www.Vigeant, who now provides hands-on aftma.net The school’s administration differently if the Stand for Children team frowned upon the move, but ballot proposal were in effect. I Building a ultimately they accepted it. All of us knew this new homeroom would be best for Anna. could not have risked offending administrators at the school and city level if my livelihood were Social Still, she wasn’t in the right school. The admin team said her completely in their hands. The connections I have made within Justice parents had to go to a central the system, through my years administration building and of teaching, aren’t valued in the make the switch themselves. Stand proposal even though they Education I knew that wasn’t going to happen: Anna’s parents weren’t ultimately made the difference in finding the right placement for equipped to navigate the confusing Anna. Movement student assignment system. More importantly, Boston’s central This story is a small example of the larger picture that groups like administration wasn’t behind the Stand simply don’t understand. a free conference move. Staff members were warned The corporations that mostly that my school was trying to “get sponsor their attempts at reform for educators, rid of” our English Language haven’t been to my classroom. students and Learners. It appeared that they They don’t know the students and were trying to make it harder for the families that I serve and they activists us to find the right placement for haven’t asked for the input and Anna. knowledge of teachers. They are Help us Build a movement for quality education If I continued to advocate for too busy supporting the narrative that combines the visions of youth, communities, finding a better school for Anna that teachers are the problem and families and teachers... would I be labeled as a teacher veteran teachers with experience who tries to get rid of his students? are hurting our schools. As Would central administration teachers we want to reform JOin TAG Boston for our 2nd annual conference put a negative report in my file? I education. We want what’s best ultimately decided that with the for the communities we serve. But Saturday, May 19, 2012, 9 am-5 pm protection of the Boston Teacher’s we can’t ensure a quality public The Curley School, 493 Centre Street, Union I could do the right thing. I education for all if corporate groups Jamaica Plain, MA decided to help Anna’s family find a shut us out of the conversation. better school for her. Support teacher voice and teacher For more information, visit www.tagboston.org There was an excellent program in a school near Anna’s house. So, advocacy. Tell Stand to sit down. ▪ Share • Inspire •democr atize •debate •activate using my weak Spanish, I got her