AFT Advocate, Summer 2012

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Summer 2012 issue of the AFT Massachusetts Advocate, a monthly publication that reaches 25,000 teachers, librarians and higher education faculty.

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AFT Advocate, Summer 2012

  1. 1. Boston, MA 02111 Suite 402 38 Chauncy Street AFT Massachusetts Summer 2012The Community Challenge On a recent week night in Lawrence,teachers, students, parents and localleaders packed the public library for afirst-of-its-kind community forum. Onthe agenda was an ambitious plan tostrengthen ties between the LawrenceTeachers Unions, its members, andthe larger Lawrence community. Theconcept is simple: whatever divisionsmay exist within this communitywith its rich immigrant history areinsignificant when compared to whatbinds Lawrentians together. “We alllove this city, and we all want the bestfor our children,” Frank McLaughlin,president of the Lawrence Teachers In This IssueUnion, told the crowd. The Lawrence community COMMUNITY VOICE Ana Victoria Morales speaks at a community forumengagement project began months in Lawrence, part of an ambitious plan to strengthen ties between teachersago, just days after the state moved to and the larger Lawrence community. Said Morales, a recent graduate of thetake over the Lawrence Public Schools. Lawrence Public Schools: “I’m here because I want to help lift my city up.” 2 President’s Column(At press time, the state-appointed Meet the Distinguished One by one, teachers, parents and of these cities, the teachers union isreceiver was expected to announce Service Winners of 2012 leaders of community organizations the largest organized group, yet thean ambitious plan to turnaround the took to the floor to talk about their unions rarely have much of a publicdistrict’s lowest-performing schools, concerns and their hopes for the future. presence. “Given the number of people 4 Diary of a New Teacher: A teacher learns that there isincluding inviting charter schools to “Lawrence has a history of leading the we represent, we have the potential to no quick fix for confrontingmanage several of the city’s schools.) way to social change,” said Jineyda play a much more significant role inJasiela Chaves, a public education inequality and segregation Tapia, a teacher at the high school who the community,” says Brant Duncan,organizer for Jobs with Justice, which grew up in Lawrence. “Education is the president of the Lynn Teachers Union.is spearheading the project, says true way of making change—that’s why He has begun recruiting volunteers 5 The Editor of the Advocatethat the state takeover provided an Signs Off teacher have to be involved.” from within his membership to serveopportunity for Lawrence residents The effort to build a partnership as community ambassadors—teachersto have a real conversation aboutits schools. “If we want to make our between teachers and the communities and paraprofessionals who are already 6 On Campus: For-Profit Higher Education Works for Business, in which they live and work is not active in church groups or localcommunity, our city stronger, we have Not so Well for Students unique to Lawrence. Similar efforts organizations and are willing to talkto make our schools stronger too,” says are under way across the state, about what’s needed to make Lynn’sChaves, who is a recent graduate ofLawrence High School. including in Lynn, Lowell, Worcester, schools work for the children they 7 Retiree Corner Golden Apple: A father’s day Boston, and New Bedford. In most serve. Continued on page 8 tributeAward-Winning Film Gets the Story StraightBy Matt RobinsonFrom “Blackboard Jungle” to “Rockn’ Roll High School” to “Stand andDeliver,” Hollywood has done what itcan to portray what is allegedly goingon within the walls of our schools and If you’d like to receive anamongst our students. Try as theymight, however, few of these films ever electronic version of thequite measure up to reality. From Race Advocate, send an email toto the Top to high-stakes testing, to advocate@aftma.net. Pleasedata, data, and more data (Editorial include your home mailingnote: Ugh!), schools today are far toocomplex and complicated to tie up address for identification.with a happy ending and a pleasantsoundtrack. No film could ever do ourpublic schools and their teachers real RED CARPET TEACH, a film about public education by local filmmakers and Boston teachers Bob and Yvonne Lamothe (at right), at its Boston debut. Writers wantedjustice. Or could it? and as far south as Key West, FL. that has been brought on by obsessive Are you a new teacher who Created by public school teachers “The teachers were all around us,” testing, as well as what they see as the(who also happen to be married), would like to write about Mr. Lamothe says, noting that it took “dismantling” of public schools.“TEACH, Teachers are Talking, Is many of them time to overcome fears— By combining these interviews with your experiences? You’ll getthe Nation Listening?” tells the story both of the camera and of potential segments taken from union debates, $300 per column and theof today’s teachers by involving and reprisals. “Those who came forward did legislative hearings and teacher rallies, exposure of appearing in afeaturing today’s teachers. In addition so with so much commitment that their and speeches by actor Bradley Whitfordto their own ideas, filmmakers Robert statewide publication that statements resonate.” Lamothe says that and education historian and analystand Yvonne Lamothe drew on the the teachers who participated in “Teach” Diane Ravitch, the Lamothes take reaches 25,000 readers. In-insights and opinions of more than were particularly concerned about viewers deeper into the education terested? Write to:40 of their colleagues from Boston to the direction education is taking, how debate than perhaps any other film. advocate@aftma.netBrooklyn to as far west as Madison, WI, little input they have, a “joylessness” Continued on page 3
  2. 2. BOLD day will only come when the funding of schools reaches a level far beyond the current one. Over and over the claim is PRINT Thomas J. Gosnell made that Massachusetts has an achievement gap, meaning that white President, AFT Massachusetts students achieve at a higher level Outward Bound than minority students. In fact, the Two teachers from Lowell’s Wang education bill is entitled “An Act Middle School will be joining anPoverty, School Funding To Reduce The Achievement Gap.” Statistics do show that a gap exists. Earthwatch expedition this summer. Reading teacher Patricia Robinson and science teacher Dawn Thebergeand the Achievement Gap Statistics do show that the lowest will join 10 other teachers on the trip student achievement is in high poverty to the Jackson Hole, Wyoming region areas. Statistics do show that since the to study songbird population trends inG overnor Patrick’s task force Without substantial additional passage of the Act, the level of funding the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. on education presented a funding the schools will never be able for education is still far below what is Theberge says that she and Robinsonreport which stated that poverty to hire the number of professionals needed to fulfill the Act’s goals. were thrilled to be chosen to participate,is pernicious. Indeed it is. The needed to provide a comprehensive The economic times remain and will report on their adventure in anumbers of children living in poverty surround care program. tough. No doubt about it. Poverty is future issue of the Advocate. Earthwatchthroughout the nation is a national still at a high level. No doubt about seeks to engage people worldwide in In addition, the academic program it. The income gap gets wider. No scientific field research and education todisgrace. Even in Massachusetts, one can be quite deficient. Of course, doubt about it. Funding for schools promote the understanding and actionof the more affluent states, the level MCAS requires that the tested remains inadequate. No doubt about necessary for a sustainable environment.of childhood poverty is horrifying. subjects receive the greatest attention,Such a child is more likely to have but even if MCAS did not exist, a it. The political atmosphere remains    inadequate medical and dental care, robust and expansive curriculum discouraging. No doubt about it.to live in substandard housing, to have requires significant funding. In AFT MA belongs to a coalition Planet Challengepoor nutrition, and to be exposed to poor neighborhoods schools which is advocating for more revenue. Congratulations to Lynn teacher Donnacommunity violence. A child brings undertake heroic efforts to offer This coalition is working to change the Whalen and her fifth graders at thethese conditions of life to school where rigorous and expansive curriculum political atmosphere so that support Brickett School. Whalen’s studentsa stimulating and caring atmosphere which include at least some of the for more revenue will increase. are the winners of Disney’s Planetcan alleviate but not eliminate them following: social studies, art, foreign Without increased revenues poverty Challenge, an environmental contest forwithout massive support from society will continue to be widespread, middle and elementary school students languages, English, music, physical funding for schools will still be across the US. Students must pick aat large. This means a commitment to education, mathematics, and the inadequate, and the achievement gap local environmental issue and designfund much more generously education sciences. Despite the superb efforts of will continue to exist. a solution. Whalen’s students chosein low income communities. committed staff, overcrowded classes to study the effects of car emissions Governor Patrick’s task force and inadequate resources limit what Public schools have contributed and idling vehicles on people and therecommended that schools provide can be done. mightily to American society, which environment. Their prize? A trip tosurround care services so that Of course, it is indeed possible that expects schools to continue to do Disney World, all expenses paid, for 19students will participate in programs there may be schools which offer all so. However, schools by themselves students and 5 chaperones. In addition tothat will enable them to get all the these subjects but schools, to have a will not reduce poverty and close visiting the theme park, the students willmedical and dental services they rigorous and expansive curriculum, the achievement gap. This must be also be meeting famed primatologist Janeneed, a healthy diet, and a full range must offer the subjects in a way that a community effort, all segments of Goodall.of emotional supports. Even though will give students the opportunity to society. It does take a village to raisecurrent staff provides such services, explore all the subjects in depth. That a child.     their numbers are insufficient. Honoring Distinguished Appreciation Call Amy Piacitelli, a history teacher at Charlestown High School, received Service in 2012 asurprise call from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during national Teacher Appreciation Week. Duncan The official publication of AFT Massachusetts, AFL-CIO S ix educators received this year’s AFT Massachusetts Distinguished Service Award. The awards, which were called four teachers across the country to thank them for their work. Piacitelli, a history teacher at CHS and the history Thomas J. Gosnell, President announced at the state convention team’s content leader, expressed surprise in Quincy last month, are presented at the call and said that all of her co- Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer annually to AFT MA members who have workers deserve to be thanked for their VICE PRESIDENTS work. “This school is full of wonderful demonstrated an outstanding level of teachers and I don’t know that I should Patricia Armstrong service and dedication to their union be singled out, but I do feel honored,” Deborah Blinder locals. This year’s recipients included Sean Bowker Piacitelli told the Boston Globe. Amesbury High School teacher Thad Kathryn Chamberlain Brenda Chaney Ackerman; Lowell High School teacher Kathy Delaney William Donaghey; Wayne LeBlanc,     Catherine Deveney a professional technician at UMass Top of the Pops Patricia Driscoll Dartmouth; Lynn paraprofessional Marianne Dumont Five Boston high school students will Catherine Deveney, Barbara Bemis, a Thad Ackerman, math teacher, showcase their talent with the Boston J. Michael Earle paraprofessional at Carney Academy in Amesbury High School. Pops as winners of the annual Fidelity Margaret Farrell Mary Ferriter New Bedford; and retired Lowell Alice FutureStage Young Artists Competition. Ackermans,” said Leary, who teaches Jenna Fitzgerald Gunning, the long-time president of the Boston Latin School students Phuong Richard Flaherty with Ackerman at Amesbury High Lynn Teachers Union. Nghi Pham and John, Grace and Paul Georges School. Robert Carney comprise four AFT MA president Tom Gosnell Alice M. Gunning His colleagues and fellow union of the five talented winners of the Daniel Haacker praised this year’s award winners, members seem to agree. Ackerman, 2012 Fidelity FutureStage Young Joyce Harrington noting that they set a high standard who gave up a career in engineering Artists Competition. Olivia Harris Susan Leahy for the union’s future leaders. “These Francis McLaughlin to become a teacher, currently serves of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, individuals really embody what AFT Bruce Nelson as treasurer of AFT Amesbury. Local will also be featured. A panel of judges Massachusetts is about. They inspire selected the winners from among Catherine Patten president Cindy Yetman praises him James Philip their colleagues, their students and all many contestants from the Boston and for his consummate professionalism, Bruce Sparfven of us in the union movement.” Cambridge area.The winners performed and for using his love of numbers to Richard Stutman on May 29, 2012, with the Boston Pops, Gale Thomas Service counts help the teachers and paraprofessionals under the direction of Keith Lockhart. When Barbara Leary, director of of Amesbury. Says Yetman: “He Jennifer C. Berkshire, Editor can always be counted on to explain 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 mathematics at AFT Amesbury, offered her support for the nomination of financial issues to our members in Got good news to share? Send it to Boston, Mass. 02111 Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 her colleague, Thad Ackerman, her a clear and meaningful fashion. He advocate@aftma.net Fax: 617-423-0174 recommendation could hardly have is well deserving of this award and www.aftma.net been stronger. “The world would be a recognition. 2 advocate@aftma.net better place if there were more Thad Continued on page 5
  3. 3. A Film with Real Class Though they met before becoming Continued from cover teachers, the in their classes,” Lamothe says, “whose Lamothes clearly No wonder, then, that the great experience should be celebrated share their passiondocumentary was recently honored with and honored instead of branded as old, for effective educationthe Indie Spec Best Cinematography incompetent, and burned out.” With and have come toAward from the Boston International connections to the AFT, the Boston share a love forFilm Festival and has been accepted Teachers Union, Citizens for Public sharing storiesinto the Manhattan Film Festival, one of Schools, The Coalition for Equal Quality through documentary.the top festivals in the country. Education, and even the Boston School In fact, Lamothe While there has been a spate of Bus Drivers Union, they were able to get says, “the connectionrecent documentaries on the topic of multiple perspectives form a wide array between filmmakingpublic education, Lamothe suggests that of sources and sides, thereby enriching and documentingat least some have been inappropriately their story. creative work, artistic process was at the their perspectives and suggestionslabeled. “Many education movies that Lamothe explains that the film heart of our initial connection.” are to the future of education. “Theydistort the truth and promote a business emerged from a concern that teachers That initial connection has since have valuable and essential ideasview of education have millions of have been excluded from the national grown to become a means of, as and approaches to contribute to thedollars to promote their misinformation debate about public education. “We felt Lamothe puts it, “organizing around direction that education policy shouldabout education,” he says, mentioning we couldn’t sit back and let education injustice.” “Millions of dollars are being take,” he says.one ‘heroic’ film in particular. policy be determined by people who made by the testing companies and by By considering who is in charge of Lamothe explains that it was the aren’t teachers. We also felt we had the for profit charter schools,” Lamothe education and who should be, Lamothereal-life situations of real-life teachers to challenge the extremely harmful points out. “Filmmaking is a way to get hopes that viewers of his film will comethat inspired him and his wife to drive toward more and more testing that message to people. “ to see that teachers are allies who aremake the film. “Observing what was and obsession with data that is turning As technology and video-based able and eager to support not only theirgoing on in our schools, seeing what our schools into testing factories. In engagement become more prevalent in students, but their communities aswas happening to our teacher friends, addition, we wanted to draw attentions the classroom, Lamothe suggests that well. “Teachers are not the enemy ofhearing untruths about what teachers to the vast inequality of resources it can also be used more effectively to society,” he emphasizes. “Teachers aredo or don’t do in the media, the that dominates our schools and engage others outside of the classroom not stupid, but this is the message wesound bites that the general public communities. We especially felt we had as well. “Filmmaking is becoming more are hearing.”freely mimic without really thinking to bring a voice to all those teachers who and more an important element of Lamothe also hopes that the filmor knowing. These injustices, these are fighting to provide an education teaching awareness of what is really inspires more teachers to become morefalsehoods needed to be addressed and that is dynamic, creative, exciting, and happening in our society,” Lamothe involved in education activism andstories needed to be told by teachers joyful.” suggests. “Filmmaking is a means to challenge those who are trying towho we know to be wise and soulful.” Lamothe asserts that the teachers to provide an alternative source “privatize…and profitize” our educationAdds Lamothe: “Every day in the media he and Yvonne interviewed are the of information to the huge media system.we hear from the businesses, think- ones that know and care deeply about conglomerates that report a very “People are becoming aware that atankers, politicians, and administrators. children and their education, and limited perspective and often distort broad-based unified effort is needed toThis movie is about those who don’t who take home, not just lesson plans and exclude important viewpoints, challenge the coordinated attacks thatusually get heard.” and papers to grade, but concerns [including] those of actual teachers.” are being waged,” Lamothe suggests. As the Lamothes have both taught about their students’ lives. “The many In collecting and analyzing these “We are hoping that the importantfor many years, they have a deep different needs each student brings and diverse and experienced viewpoints, messages of Teach…will be heard allfamiliarity with education issues andconnections to educators in the Boston the challenges teachers have in meeting each student where they are to bring Lamothe learned a great deal about the world of education that they have both across the nation.” ▪area and far beyond. “We teachers who them along in their learning process inhabited for many years. They also Matt Robinson is an ELA teacher athave dedicated 20, 30, even 40 years is so important and yet undervalued,” learned even more about how smart Burke High School in Boston and aof their lives to teaching the children Lamothe says. their colleagues are and how important regular contributor to the Advocate. 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 3Summer 2012
  4. 4. Diary O n a recent Sunday morning, I EYES WIDE OPEN staked out a spot about 200 Bill Madden- meters from the finish line of the Fuoco says that his Providence Marathon. After a while, experiences working in the distance I spotted Ben, one of of a New Teacher my students. Well over six feet tall and in urban districts have opened his eyes from Uganda, Ben wore a bright orange to the devastating tank top signifying his participation consequences of By Bill Madden-Fuoco, in Dream Far, a marathon training inequality and Humanities teacher, program for “at-risk” students in the segregation. Says Urban Science Academy, greater Boston area. Madden-Fuoco: West Roxbury, MA Soon after Ben ran by, his face “When schools frozen in a state of exhaustion, Darcel themselves are Hunt, a physics teacher and the Dream grossly unequal,Writers wanted Far coordinator at my school, breezed by, smiling. education is the great sortingAre you a new teacher who Darcel logged hundreds of miles this mechanism. “would like to write about year – in the rain, the sun, the snow – with our school’s three Dream Faryour experiences? You’ll get runners and other teacher volunteers. to transfer for the upcoming year. His privilege-conferring education is a father had signed all the papers. On the birthright that comes with living in the$300 per column and the Everyone who works and learns in “Out-of-Assigned-District Placement” right zip code? An equity index thatexposure of appearing in a an urban school has no choice but to form, in the “reason for request” space, measures state-by-state educationalstatewide publication that wring out the best possible results from he had written: “Better educational fairness and determines federal funding what we have. Pursuit of higher MCASreaches 25,000 readers. In- scores and budget constraints have left programs, more activities, higher would be a good start. Even a move asterested? Write to: success rates, and closer to where modest as this, however, won’t come enrichments for most Boston teenagers we live.” After a long talk with Ben, I voluntarily. But with the right kind ofadvocate@aftma.net threadbare, and Darcel’s efforts to agreed to take him. pressure, it might.  create opportunities where few exist Later that week we drove to the is a model of what it means to be an central office. A nice woman told us we effective urban educator now. Congratulations had to go to Newton South High School. Meet the 2011-2012 Days before the marathon, I worked On the way there we passed Newton The Advocate congratulates New Teacher New Teacher Diarists with Ben after school. Students in my North High School, which opened two Diarist Bill Madden-Fuoco. Hiis col- 10th grade Humanities classes recently years ago and cost almost $200 million umn in the September 2011 edition of developed their own research questionsThe following new teachers contributed to build. Kids played lacrosse on its the paper, on the difference between to pursue as their final projects. Theto the New Teacher Diary during the emerald lawn and its sprawling modern teaching and ensuring that students criterion is that the question canpast school year. The Advocate thanks façade seemed like a mirage. At Newton learn, took second place in the annual lead to a reasonable debate. Here’s journalism competition sponsored byall of these fine teachers for sharing South, an administrator was one of the Ben’s: “Should one person get a better the American Federation of Teachers.their experience and looks forward to few souls left in the main office. She education just because of where he or Also receiving recognition this year:welcoming a new class of contributors informed Ben that he would have to call she lives?” I hesitated at first. On its cartoonist Joseph Quigley for his draw-next fall. the next day to make an appointment face, the question seems incapable of ing of “The New Atlas” that appeared in when the office was better staffed. TheRiana Good sparking debate. But then I came to my the November 2011 Advocate. Quigley next day Ben borrowed my phone toSpanish teacher, Boston Teachers Union senses and approved it. received a second-place prize for best make the call. A woman on the otherSchool, Jamaica Plain. Ben lives in a small condominium original drawing. Congratulations to end kept repeating “You have to live in complex through which the borders both! Newton in order to go here.”Lorena German of Newton, Brookline, and Boston The conversations we have aboutELA teacher, Lawrence High School, – imperceptibly, yet with great teacher evaluation, turnarounds, andLawrence. consequence – slice through red charters matter. Gotta have them. But brick walls and piece out educational they skirt a larger issue. I predict thatBill Madden-Fuoco opportunity. Ben goes to school in performance based evaluations willHumanities teacher, Urban Science Boston where the four-year graduation reveal that in urban districts, even theAcademy ,West Roxbury, rate is 62%. If he lived in the apartment most effective teachers – say the top 5% a few doors down, he would catch the – do not produce acceptable learningMelissa McDonald school bus that stops at the end of his gains. I say this as someone whoFifth grade teacher, Parthum Elementary street and takes kids to Newton, where believes that when it comes to learning,School, Lawrence. the student population is 74% white, teacher quality trumps everything, and the graduation rate is 96%. including out-of-school factors.Joyce Melker Ben is often whimsical. When I We need to change conditions toParaprofessional, Henry Lord Middle checked in on him, his computer screenSchool, Fall River, make effective teaching more possible: was checkered with pictures of snake smaller rosters, fewer preps, more meat, culled from a Google imagesAmanda Perez time to plan and collaborate, more search. “Ben, why are you searchingMiddle school teacher, Sarah Greenwood teachers. Such a paradigm shift could for pictures of snake meat?” I asked.School, Dorchester. begin to level the playing field, but “It’s because I eat a lot of fish, and fish the investment required is far beyond and snakes have almost the same kindMatthew Robinson anything currently being discussed. of skin,” he explained. “I wanted to seeELA and journalism teacher, Burke High Left unchecked, inequality festers. what their meat looks like.”School, Dorchester. Always. The dream of desegregation When it comes to the differences – our best-ever check against between the schools of Boston and itsRobert Tobio educational inequality – has been neighbors, however, Ben is serious. HeMath and special education teacher, Mary all but killed by the Supreme Court. can fluently navigate the DESE andLyon Pilot School, Brighton. And zoning laws that prohibit the Education Week websites to show that construction of affordable housing in students in Newton are more likely to areas with high performing schools have classes taught by highly qualified effectively act as gates to keep out teachers. He is well versed in the deep other people’s children. Dewey called catalog of classes and activities that education “the great equalizer.” But Newton and Brookline boast. Despite when schools themselves are grossly its seemingly comparable per-pupil unequal, education is the great sorting spending, Boston has a far greater mechanism. percentage of students with low- I often wonder: How is it that we socioeconomic status and students with are not out in the streets over what limited English proficiency, and its Jonathan Kozol calls “apartheid attendance rates are abysmal. education”? What will it take to Two weeks after the marathon, Ben dismantle our fealty to the principle asked me to drive him to Newton’s of local control and the premise that central office so that he could attempt 4 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  5. 5. Honoring Distinguished Service in 2012 Continued from cover Public Schools to make sure that paras Wayne LeBlanc, this year’s winner in who took the courses received salary the category of higher education, is a increases. professional technician in Griffith’s Recently Deveney had the department, Medical Laboratory opportunity to impress her colleagues Science. Says Griffith: “There is no anew when the team that she captained more admired professional technician took top honors at the first ever Lynn at UMass. His ability is so significant Teachers Union Trivia Night. “I don’t that he has become the go to guy for all know how she does it,” says Diane professional technicians on campus.” Dawe, the LTU’s recording secretary. But LeBlanc, who has been a “Cathi is a force of nature.” member of the Faculty Federation for William Donaghey, Spanish teacher, 28 years, is also a leader within the Lowell High School union. Griffith points out that because everyone he encountered: students, of LeBlanc’s role as a mentor to his staff, administrators,” says O’Brien,Barbara Bemis, paraprofessional, coworkers, union membership among who now serves as a part-time staffNew Bedford Public Schools. professional technicians on campus representative for the United Teachers In great company is 100%. LeBlanc’s dedication to of Lowell. Over the years, that gift When the New Bedford Federation mentoring extends to the union’s newest of collegiality has made Donaghey aof Paraprofessionals were considering members, the research associates and beloved figure among his students, hiswhom to nominate for the distinguished technical associates. “They were all colleagues, as well as among his fellowservice award, Barbara Bemis quickly mentored by Wayne in ‘how to survive union members. “He has tremendouscame to mind. Explains Connie Motta, and thrive here,’” says Griffith, noting integrity and an incredibly warmpresident of the local: “Barbara is a that LeBlanc helped the new members personality,” says O’Brien. Among hisdedicated paraprofessional who has write their first contract. students and fellow teachers Donagheyworked diligently for the betterment Griffith sums up the qualities is known as an outstanding teacher whoof the union, its members, and the Judith Robinson, retired teacher, of his coworker this way: “In short, helps to create a “college-bound” culturestudents of the New Bedford Public Lowell Public Schools Wayne is one of those people that all among his students and their families.Schools.” But what may be most unions need—bright, inexhaustible and O’Brien notes that Donaghey hasimpressive about Bemis, notes Motta, incorruptible—and which too few of us Continued service also served as a union leader for manyis the duration of her dedication. “She’s have in sufficient quantity. We admire years, including as an LHS building Every year AFT Massachusettsbeen a para for 41 and a half years.” him, respect him and love him.” rep, as the secondary vice president honors a retired union member whose Bemis’ colleagues at the John B. and as the high school representativeDeValles School, where she has served career has exemplified dedication and Collegiality award service. The 2012 award goes to Judy on the Education Developmentas a building rep for the past 10 years, When Bill Donaghey joined the Robinson, a beloved kindergarten Committee, which meets monthly withpraise her leadership and devotion to faculty at Lowell High School as a teacher who spent more than 30 years the superintendent. “Bill is the truethe children with whom she works. Spanish teacher nearly 30 years ago, educating the children of Lowell. But reflection of what every teacher aspires Bemis is also a role model, adds Jack O’Brien, then a house master while Robinson may no longer be in the to be,” says O’Brien.Motta. “She has been a strong leader at LHS, noticed something special classroom, the members of the United AFT MA congratulates all of thisand role model in tough times and is about his new colleague. “He had year’s Distinguished Service Award ▪ Teachers of Lowell continue to benefit an immediate rapport with almostunafraid to stand up for what’s right. winners. from her vast educational and union-Her actions exemplify what a true union related expertise. “She’s been incrediblyleader should be.” generous with her time and is always willing to offer her time to help out,” says UTL office manager Nancy Giblin. The Editor of the Advocate Signs Off Robinson currently serves as recording secretary for the local and is famous for using her scrapbooking I t’s hard for me to believe that six years have gone by since I took over as editor of the Advocate. During that skills to keep a running record of union time I’ve visited countless schools, met history. She has also played a key role an unbelievable number of amazing in helping the UTL to develop surveys educators and seen for myself the of educators in the city, the results challenges that you face everyday. The experience has been a privilege, and of which would lead to the focus on I’m grateful to all of you for being will- collaboration between the union and ing to share your stories. the Lowell Public Schools. Says Giblin: When I started at AFT Massachu- “We’re so fortunate to have someone setts, I knew very little about public as dedicated as Judy. Her voice and education, save for having attendedCathi Deveney, paraprofessional, expertise have been a real asset to the public schools from first grade all theLynn Public Schools. teachers of Lowell.” way through graduate school. Just how much did I have to learn? As a non-A force of nature Massachusetts native, I didn’t even While it is unusual for two know enough to put “The” in front of every school name! Fortunately, I’m SPEED RACER After six years at theparaprofessionals to receive the helm of the Advocate, editor JenniferDistinguished Service Award in the a quick learner and after 54 issues (or 456 pages for any math teachers out Berkshire is riding into the future.same year, Lynn para Cathi Deveney there), I finally know the difference I’m creating a website to keep an eyewas an obvious choice, says Brant on the corporate education agenda in between a PLC and an IEP. I can talkDuncan, president of the Lynn Teachers DIBELS with the best of them, and Massachusetts and the elected officialsUnion. “She’s worked tireless on behalf know enough about the new evaluation who enable it. Stay tuned...of the paras of Lynn, and she is a real system to test the patience of even my While I won’t miss the monthlyleader in our union, both at the local closest loved ones. deadlines and having to hound myand the state level,” says Duncan. “How Along the way there have been writers to get their columns in on timeshe finds time for all of her activities is a highlights (winning national recogni- (you know who you are!), living with-mystery.” tion for my story on charter school out the stories of the teachers, para- In addition to serving as 2nd vice Wayne LeBlanc, professional teachers who organized a union) as professionals, librarians and higherpresident of the local, and a member technician, UMass Dartmouth well as some low points (misspelling education faculty who make up AFT ‘judgment’ in a headline on the front Massachusetts will take some seriousof the AFT Massachusetts Executive cover). getting used to.Board, Deveney is leading an effort Dedication in action Thanks to all of you for making the Now I’m moving on. This fall I’llto provide paras in Lynn with high When James Griffith, president of last six years so rewarding. It’s been an be starting my own business to helpquality professional development. the UMass Faculty Federation at UMass unions and nonprofit groups do a incredible ride and I’ve enjoyed everyWorking with Northeastern Universityand Northshore Community College, Dartmouth, was considering whom to nominate for this year’s Distinguished better job of communicating with their members. I’m also looking forward minute of it. ▪ —Jennifer BerkshireDeveney facilitated courses for paras Service award, he had to look no to doing some in-depth reporting on jenniferberkshire@gmail.comin Lynn, then worked with the Lynn further than among his own colleagues. education issues. Last but not least, 5June 2012
  6. 6. On Campus Dan Georgianna, Political Director UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895For Profit Education Best—at Bilking PublicT he first bullet in former Governor Romney recently releasededucational policy (A Chance for Every Students at for- profit schools end Higher Education up with higher News in BriefChild: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring unemploymentthe Promise of American Education) and lower earningsis to “allow low income and special UMass Lowell Adjuncts Signneeds students to choose which school than do comparable students from other First Contractto attend.“ For Governor Romney, Adjunct faculty at UMass Low-school choice for low income students schools.They also end up with higher ell. whose fight for a first con-combines market-based policy withconcern for the poor, a sleigh of hand debt. tract lasted more than a year,that George Orwell predicted in 1984. finally have an agreement with The business model clearly works for Obama signed an Executive Order to the university. The instructors The proposed benefits of school the businesses in for-profit education, stop recruiting abuses at for-profit voted overwhelmingly to ap-choice can easily be tested with data but it does not work very well for their schools that aim at veterans. The U.S.because choice rules higher education, prove the deal last month. The students. Department of Education has institutedwith the clearest choice between for- The previously cited Harvard study sanctions at for-profit schools with high new deal includes a significantprofit schools, where the business model salary increase, grants year- of for-profit schools concluded that, default rates, including suspendingis supposed to promote good education long appointments to senior “for-profit students end up with higher them from the student loans program.at low cost, and not-for-profit schools, unemployment and “idleness” rates and Similar to new banking regulations, adjuncts and bars the dismissalwhere entrenched faculty supposedlythwart education. lower earnings six years after entering several bills have been proposed in of adjuncts without just cause. As the choice model predicts, for- programs than do comparable students Congress to force for-profits to provide The agreement came after a from other schools.” some share of student aid from their series of rallies and headlines,profit schools are the fastest growing MA Attorney General, Martha own funds. calling attention to the school’ssegment in higher education. According Coakley, and officials in other states are Contrary to Mr. Romney’s claimto a 2011 Harvard University study, decision to pay its outgoing investigating claims of false promises that school choice will lead to efficiencyenrollment in for-profit post-secondary president, Jack Wilson, more and other recruiting violations. Many in education, market based incentivesschools increased by more than 100 fold than half a million dollars. After for-profit schools budget as much for based on school choice led the for-to almost 2 million students over the a year-long sabbatical Wilson recruiting as they do for instruction. profits in higher education to thepast 4 decades. For-profit institutions The abuses of for-profit schools easiest way to make a buck: collecting will return to UMass Lowell tonow enroll over 9% of students in higher have attracted the attention of the government funds from bilking the teach for more than $200,000.education. Federal government as well. President public.  In another study, this researchgroup from Harvard also found that Student Strike in Quebecthe schools with funding from Federal Continuesstudent loan programs charge higher A massive strike by college school of education, public policy and civic engagementtuition than similar schools without students in Quebec is now inaccess to Federal student loans. Tuition its fifth month and shows no PhD/EdDat for-profit schools is more than double signs of ending. Students inthe tuition and fees at state colleges and the province went on strikeuniversities. Almost all costs at for- in February to protest a pro-profit schools is paid from governmentgrants and loans. posal by government officials to raise tuition from $2,168 Loan default rates at for-profitschools is also high, more than the in Educational lEadErship to $3,793 between 2012 anddouble default rates at not-for- 2017. While the amount ofprofit schools. According to the PewCharitable Trust, for-profit schoolsreceive about 25% of all Federal Pell a program money may seem trivial by US standards, the striking students say that that’s just the point.Grants and Loans and account foralmost ½ of student loan defaults. focused on social While the International Cov- enant on Economic, Social and justice and equality Grants, loans and loan defaultswould be much higher if not for Federal Cultural Rights, which Canadalaw requiring that at least 10% of total enacted in 1976, guaranteesstudent revenue comes from privatesources. Even 90% coverage by grants in education free higher education, students in the province say that signs ofand loans underestimates the federal 4 year program please contact: creeping ‘Americanization’ candollars that go to for-profit schools be seen throughout the Ca-because they are allowed to count designed nadian university system. “Thetuition assistance for service veterans for part-time dr. Joao paraskeva, government wants to say thatand the G.I. Bill as private funds students Graduate program director loans and debt are the solu-towards the 10% minimum. 508.910.6697 For-profit schools target service tion,” says Concordia student small  classes jparaskeva@umassd.edu Richard Hinton, while on a visitveterans because they can leverageG.I. funds to get more Federal funding to Boston this spring. “That’s state  of the art research unacceptable to us. Tuition in-for other students. According to a NY in educationTimes report (NYT, “For-Profit Colleges, leadership and policy creases make higher educationVulnerable G.I.’s” 9/21/2011), “between accessible to fewer students.2006 and 2010, the money received Saddling them with debt is notin military education benefits by just producing  education leaders and policy makers the answer.”20 for-profit companies soared to anestimated $521.2 million from $66.6 with critical thinking skills For more information on themillion.” strike visit www.freeeducation- www.umassd.edu/educationalleadership montreal.org 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate

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