Boston, MA 02111                                                                                                          ...
BOLD                                                                                     nutrition, housing and the ancill...
Controversial Film Takes Aim at Teachers                        Continued from cover   in court. “Both divided the parent ...
Diary                                      M                                                      y first year of teaching...
BEHIND                      G                                  raffiti on a classroom wall. A                             ...
On Campus                           Dan Georgianna, Political Director                           UMass Faculty Federation,...
Retiree Corner                                                                                            SENIOR SEMINARS ...
October2012web
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October2012web

  1. 1. Boston, MA 02111 Suite 402 38 Chauncy Street AFT Massachusetts October 2012‘The Education Election’S pecial education aide Denise Hurley is calling this year’s electoral contest ‘the educa-tion election.’ “That’s how impor-tant it is,” says Hurley, who worksat the Callahan Elementary Schoolin Lynn. Hurley is particularlyimpassioned about the presidentialcontest. “I already had an oppor-tunity to see what Mitt Romneyis like when he’s in charge and Ireally don’t need to see that again,”says Hurley. “My question is, whatis Romney going to do for thelittle people? It worries me that hedoesn’t seem to care about us at In This Issueall.” Massachusetts residents may MEET AND GREET US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren greets somenot be experiencing the barrage of young supporters in Hyannis. Warren, a former public school special educationattack ads funded by super PACs teacher, is locked in a tough election battle with Senator Scott Brown.that voters in swing states must of public education and collective ably since he governed the Com- 2 President’s Columnendure, but that doesn’t mean that monwealth. In his book, No Apol- Bold Print bargaining in the Commonwealth.key contests in the Bay State aren’t Here’s a look. ogy, Romney singles out teacherheated. The Senate race between unions for particular ire, claimingformer public school teacher Eliza- Top Spot that the fight to maintain low teach- 4 Diary of a New Teacher: A first year teacher navigatesbeth Warren and the sitting Sena- Republican Presidential candi- er-student rations is a union ploy.tor, Scott Brown, is one of the most date Mitt Romney has been mak- chaos and confusion in the In his years as a GOP Presidentialclosely-watched in the country. At ing plenty of headlines for remarks Lawrence Public Schools contender, Romney has become apress time, on the eve of the first he’s made behind closed doors. But vocal advocate for so-called schooldebate, polls still had the contest Governor Romney’s positions on choice. Under Romney’s education 5 Meet the Legal Eagles ofas too close to call. Meanwhile, a education have long been public. Lowell plan, tax payer dollars could beslew of state-level elections are As Governor of Massachusetts, used to attend any school, includingalso being fiercely contested. (For Mitt Romney cut funding for early private institutions. Advocates for 6 On Campus: Higher education and the 2012 electionsa complete list of endorsed candi- childhood education and scrapped public education have warned thatdates, see back page). The choices the nation’s first bilingual educa- such a plan would serve to hastenmade by Massachusetts voters—and tion law. He was also a vocal critic the dismantling of the nation’s pub- 7 Retiree CornerAFT MA members—in November of teacher unions, a position that lic schools. Golden Apple: A new teacherare likely to determine the direction appears to have hardened consider- Continued on page 8 pays tribute to the teacher who saved himControversial Film Takes Aim at TeachersBy Matt Robinson parents in many states can use toS literally take over a school. In 2010, ince the release of “Waiting a group of parents tried to put this for Superman,” the political law to use in California’s Los Ange- level of films about educa- les County (which is also the hometion has been ratcheted up a notch. of Hollywood). Among the potential If you’d like to receive anWhile local filmmakers Robert powers that petitioning parents electronic version of theand Yvonne Lamothe had great may be granted are the rights tosuccess with their documentary dismiss staff and convert the school Advocate, send an email to“Teach” (see Summer 2012 issue), to a charter school. advocate@aftma.net. PleaseHollywood is upping the ante with Though it wasn’t scheduled to hit include your home mailingthe forthcoming release of the theaters until the end of September, the film has had education advo- address for identification.star-studded feature “Won’t BackDown.” cates up in arms for months. Many The film tells the story of two claim that “Won’t Back Down” is nomothers and their efforts to “trans- more than a slick means of promot- Did you know that yourform” a failing school in the inner ing the parent trigger movement. AFT MA membership “The film is being presented as acity. Directed by Daniel Barnz (who feelgood movie about parents fight- entitles you to discountsalso helmed 2001’s “Beastly”), thefilm stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola ing for their children against evil on life insurance?Davis and Academy Award-winner unionized teachers and uncaring CONTROVERSIAL MESSAGEHolly Hunter. public school bureaucrats,” sug- The new feature film “Won’t Back For more information visit gests Caroline Grannan of Parents According to the studio (which Down” vilifies public school teachers www.aftma.net.promotes the film as “a fictional Across America, a grassroots group and their unions. Released by thestory inspired by actual events,”) that connects parents and activists makers of “Waiting for Superman,”“Won’t” deals with the so-called to fight what Grannan calls “the the new film is packaged as a feel-“Parent Empowerment” law (better corporate education reform jugger- good film about parent rights.known as the “Parent Trigger”) that naut.” Continued on page 3
  2. 2. BOLD nutrition, housing and the ancillary resources necessary to help them do well in school. No one wants to use poverty as an excuse for a student’s PRINT Thomas J. Gosnell inability to do well in school, but failure to recognize the powerful President, AFT Massachusetts impact that it has on a child’s On the Radio entire life insures that it will not Gerald Bellivue, a fifth grade be addressed, thus denying what is teacher at Lynn’s Lincoln ThompsonAutumn Challenges desperately needed. AFT MA and the Lawrence Teachers Union continue to assert Elementary School, was featured in a recent WBUR story. Reporters came to Bellivue’s classroom to observe while his students performed a hands-on scienceA that we want what is good for experiment involving electric circuitry. FT Massachusetts has students, fair to teachers, and Students at the Lincoln-Thompson endorsed Elizabeth Warren No one wants to use collaboratively done. School use a science curriculum provided for U.S. Senate. Let me tell poverty as an excuse Working collaboratively is by KnowAtom, a company started byyou why. recognition that teachers, those The incumbent senator, Scott for a student’s inability former Lynn teacher Francis Vigeant. who know most about the education This year, for the first time, teachers inBrown, voted against allowing the to do well in school, but of their students, have wise all Lynn Public Schools will utilize thesenate to vote on the American failure to recognize the views about the development of KnowAtom curriculm. To hear the storyJobs Act. This proposal would have educational plans. for yourself, visit www.aftma.net. powerful impact that itcreated nationwide as many as Unfortunately, the newtwo million new jobs, would have has on a child’s entire life leadership in the Lawrence Public    prevented 280,000 teachers from insures that it will not Schools does not yet recognizebeing laid off, would have brought Turning the Page be addressed, thus deny- this. Recently the union and the The AFT Massachusetts Advocate willback other educators who had lost school department submitted theirtheir jobs, would have extended ing what is desperately soon have a new editor at the helm. differences to a three person panel Former Boston teacher Matthewunemployment insurance benefits to needed. composed of a school department Robinson, who taught most recentlyfive million jobless Americans, and appointee, a union appointee, at the Burke High School. Robinson,would have provided investments in His record is not that of his and a neutral selected by mutual who was a regular contributor to theinfrastructure repair. predecessor, Edward M. Kennedy. agreement. Whenever an issue Advocate last year, combines a first-hand He also voted against allowing When it comes to advocacy for the was not resolved between the knowledge of education issues with athe Senate to consider another values we cherish, Senator Brown is school department and the union, passion for journalism. Robinson replacesbill which would have prevented no Senator Kennedy. the neutral considered the union’s outgoing editor Jennifer Berkshireteacher layoffs, would have rehired Our other senator, John Kerry, positions more compelling. A lesson who is leaving to start her ownthousands of teachers and other voted in support of jobs and communications company. Robinson, to be learned.school employees who had lost their whose story on the controversial new public education when each one AFT MA will continue to film “Won’t Back Down,” appears onjobs during the past three years, and of these bills came for a vote. If work with the Lawrence teachers the cover, will take over the Advocate inwould have kept thousands of police Elizabeth Warren had been our to develop the best possible time for the November issue. Welcomeofficers and firefighters on the job. U.S. Senator, she would have voted education for every student. Since aboard Matt! Senator Brown voted to permit voted in support of jobs and public Massachusetts students are thethe use of public money for private education. highest achieving in the nation, ourschool vouchers in the public Elizabeth Warren speaks teachers are teaching at a high level.    schools of Washington D.C. This eloquently for the middle class Those who manage the schools needprogram would have drained money which has been far harder hit to recognize this. Dancing Shoesfrom the public schools which have by the recession than those who Riana Good, a Spanish teacher at thebeen grossly under-funded. contributed so powerfully to the Congratulations to those locals Boston Teachers Union School in creation of the recession. who have recently negotiated Jamaica Plain, spent two weeks in Havana studying AfroCuban dance with the In addition Senator Brown, if contracts. Conjunto Folklórico Nacional. Good’s reelected and the Republicans win I wish all of you in the schools trip was paid for by a grant from a grant the senate, will vote for Senator and in the libraries a good year. I from the Fund for Teachers, which Mitch McConnell to be majority thank all of you for the fine services allows teachers to pursue opportunities The official publication of leader of the U.S. Senate. Watch out you give to the children and the around the globe that will impact their AFT Massachusetts, AFL-CIO for what we value. Medicare, social adults of Massachusetts. They are teaching practice, the academic lives Thomas J. Gosnell, President security, funding for education and fortunate. of their students and their school many public services, and loans to If you have any questions or communities. Good will be teaching Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer students for their college education comments, you can email me at some of the dance and chanting that VICE PRESIDENTS Tim Angerhofer will be under assault. AFT MA is deeply involved in the tgosnell@aftma.net. ▪ she learned to my Spanish students and incorporating what she learned campaign to elect Elizabeth Warren about AfroCuban identity into a unit Patricia Armstrong Deborah Blinder to the U.S. Senate. If you would like AFT MA Gives $5000 on AfroLatinos. If you had a summer adventure you’d like to share, sent it to Sean Bowker to help, email our political organizer, Kathryn Chamberlain Brenda Chaney Brian LaPierre at blapierre@aftma. to Chicago Teachers advocate@aftma.net T Kathy Delaney net. he Executive Board of AFT Catherine Deveney     Massachusetts has approved a Patricia Driscoll Marianne Dumont LAWRENCE donation of $5000 to the Solidarity And The Emmy Goes To... Brant Duncan Fund of the Chicago Teachers Union Berklee College of Music faculty The Department of Elementary J. Michael Earle (CTU). AFT MA President Tom member Bill Elliot, an associate professor and Secondary Education has Margaret Farrell Gosnell told CTU President Karen of contemporary writing and production, Mary Ferriter taken over the Lawrence School has been nominated for an Emmy System. Unfortunately, the City of Russell that teachers in Massachu- Jenna Fitzgerald award. Elliot received a nomination for Richard Flaherty Lawrence and the Lawrence School setts strongly supported last month’s Outstanding Music Direction for Michael Paul Georges Department has had in recent time strike by 26,000 educators and Feinstein:The Sinatra Legacy. Elliot was the Daniel Haacker support staff in Chicago. “Thank you some leaders who do not qualify music director for the concert by grammy Joyce Harrington for your bold stand on behalf of the Susan Leahy as stellar. In fact, the most recent winning pianist Feinstein, which appeared permanent school superintendent students and teachers and all edu- on PBS in 2011. Berklee received a total of Francis McLaughlin Bruce Nelson has managed to get himself cational personnel,” Gosnell wrote nine nominations but Elliot was the only James Philip convicted of felonies. Aides to the in a letter to Russell. “I admire your faculty member to receive the honor.The Bruce Sparfven courage and determination.” Berklee Faculty Union is affiliated with current mayor have been indicted Richard Stutman Members of the Boston Teach- AFT Massachusetts. Congratulations to Bill Gale Thomas within the past few weeks. These ers Union sent an additional $1000 and we’ll be wishing him good luck at the sordid events are bound to have Jennifer C. Berkshire, Editor to the CTU. The BTU also ran a full Emmy’s on September 23! a negative impact on the school 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 page ad in the Chicago Sun Times system. Boston, Mass. 02111 supporting the strikers and taking Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 Poverty is widespread in Got good news to share? Send it to Lawrence. Widespread poverty issue with comments made by Chi- Fax: 617-423-0174 advocate@aftma.net www.aftma.net usually means that students have cago Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the recent contract settlement in 2 advocate@aftma.net ▪ inadequate healthcare, dental care, Boston.
  3. 3. Controversial Film Takes Aim at Teachers Continued from cover in court. “Both divided the parent tions like PAA continue to fight. Get the Facts about “‘Waiting for Superman’ communities and caused explosive In an effort to support them, the “Won’t Back Down” controversy,” she adds. American Federation of Teachers was actually full of false- As the film apparently changes recently sent out a list of “talking Who funded the film? hoods and was a vicious the parameters and rules regarding points” that can be used to counter The movie was funded by Walden Media, attack on teachers, unions a “parent trigger,” it may be diffi- pro-trigger arguments. (See “Get the same company that produced “Wait- cult for people to connect the actual the Facts”). Among these are the ing for ‘Superman,’” which is owned by and public schools. ‘Won’t dots. Even so, Grannan says, it idea that trigger laws are distrac- the ultra-right-wing oil billionaire Philip Back Down’ is clearly an puts forth the idea in a high-profile tions from the real issues, including Anschutz. Anschutz has funded many effort to take that pro- package that is intended to make the growing number of children in organizations that operate against the paganda to a wider audi- people feel good about what parents this country who live in poverty, public interest in favor of corporate can do, even if nobody has actually and soaring class sizes—a conse- interests. ence.” done it yet. “The fact that there has quence of the economic downturn. Caroline Grannan, Parents never been a successful parent trig- AFT is also encouraging members What are Parent Trigger laws? Parent trigger laws are a favorite legisla- Across America ger still makes that into a lie,” she and public education advocates to tive strategy promoted by the Ameri- maintains. use the film’s release as a starting can Legislative Exchange Council, the As the film is being released by Fanning the flames is the fact point for discussions about how right-wing group that brings togetherWalden Media, which also released that so many of the entertainment best to strengthen alliances between corporations and legislators to promote“Superman,” Grannan suspects that world’s “A-list” have gotten behind parents, teachers and community a conservative policy agenda. The lawsmany of the same issues and, in her the film (and the movement). In organizations. For a detailed tool- allow parents to take control of a publicopinion, misrepresentations will be fact, on August 14, a concert called kit, visit www.aftma.net. school, but can be used to mislead par-involved. “[Superman] was actually “Teachers Rock” was held in Los Though many advocacy groups ents into giving control of public schoolsfull of falsehoods and was a vicious Angeles to promote the film. Among are already on the case, teachers to for-profit corporations.attack on teachers, unions and pub- the celebrity participants in the can also do more on their own tolic schools,” she says. “Won’t Back concert (which was aired on CBS) learn about the issues involved that Do Parent Trigger laws giveDown is clearly an effort to take were Carrie Underwood, Meryl affect their lives. parents more say?that propaganda to a wider audi- Streep, Jennifer Garner, and Usher. “Most teachers are not activists Ironically, the same laws that would makeence.” This, combined with the studio’s and many are not well informed it easier to hand public schools over to What potentially makes the heavy promotion package (which about what is happening,” observes private operators, would actually give claims that, “In order to truly trans- Marilyn Segal of Citizens for Public parents and teachers ess say, over theirsituation worse, Grannan suggests, form our children’s future for the Schools (www.citizensforpublic- schools not more. The sole example of ais that few of the people involved better, it’s incredibly important for schools.org). Even so, Segal says, group of parents taking over a school inwith the film may actually be aware as many people to see Won’t Back they need to get involved so that California proved to be incredibly divisiveof the larger issues involved. More and went forward only after a judge ruledimportant than that, however, is the Down as possible, so that the real they can protect their schools, problems facing our schools, teach- that parents could not take their namesfact that no parent group has yet their students and their profession. OFF of a petition they’d signed.been able to successfully enact the ers, and children can be brought to “Teachers no longer have the luxuryso-called “trigger.” light”), make the battle against the of sitting on the sideline,” says Se- Where can I find out more? film and its supporters difficult. The gal. “They need to learn how to fight ▪ “There has never been a success- The following websites have detailedful parent trigger ever, anywhere,” studio is even using social media back.” information about the film and the agendaGrannan says, noting that both to find and recognize “deserving behind it: teachers” and to get them and their Matt Robinson is a former Englishattempts (one if not both of which www.aftma.net colleagues behind the film and be- teacher at Burke High School in www.parentsacrossamerica.orgapparently inspired this film) either Boston and the new editor of thefailed or are still being battled over hind the “trigger” movement. Even so, grassroots organiza- Advocate. Contact him at matthewsrobinson@mac.com Lesley University Graduate 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 to the preparation and professional development of educators, innovative and challenging coursework, and lifelong learning. We offer a wide range of learning opportunities: • Master’s programs including those leading to initial and professional licensure • Licensure-only programs • Certificate programs, including Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) • Ph.D. programs Lesley offers programs to fit your lifestyle. Learn on-campus, online, or at a location Inquire about our near you. new M.Ed. in Questions? Effective Teaching! Contact info@lesley.edu | 888.LESLEY.U teach.lesley.edu/advocate 3October 2012
  4. 4. Diary M y first year of teaching taught SHIFT HAPPENS me that “shift” happens. Lawrence High School First, obsolete DESE teacher Eliana Martinez letterhead got in the way. I applied spent the first year of her for my initial license and followed up of a New Teacher in person, online and via telephone, teaching career adjusting to a climate of confusion, but for months my license remained including a delay in getting “pending.” After weeks of fruitless her license because of a By Eliana Martinez, conversations, I discovered that the three-year-old address Social Studies teacher, Department had not been housed at on DESE letterhead. A International High School, the address printed on the form for traveling teacher, Martinez Lawrence High School approximately three years, and that had no classroom of her Lawrence, MA mail was no longer being forwarded own and saw an ever to their current location. I wondered changing population of how many other aspiring teachers students. Writes Martinez: had been affected by such a glaring “As the year carried on, Meet the 2012-2013 oversight, and how many essential students transferred New Teacher Diarists documents had never reached their in and out, became intended destinations. homeless, dropped out That same summer, the six-school and faced other difficult The following new teachers will be Lawrence High School complex transitions. “ contributing to the New Teacher Diary reduced the number of principals during the 2012-2013 school year. The from six to three, forcing three of have enough classrooms for every room my desk was located, the Advocate thanks all of these fine teachers the schools to rearrange everything teacher to be stationary, so I was assistant principal who made herself for sharing their experiences. from administrative operations to one of several traveling teachers. I available despite her own mounting bell schedules. The school in which taught in three classrooms and had responsibilities, the guidance Bradford Green I teach adopted the schedule of the an advisory period in yet another counselors who remained patient English Language Arts teacher, Pickering adjacent school, but our students did room. I never stayed in the same through the tumult, the teachers Middle School, Lynn not have enough courses to fill their room during consecutive periods, whose space I borrowed, and the Chaya Harris new daily schedules. The guidance and I displaced two teachers from students who remained upbeat Fifth grade teacher, Mather School, Boston counselors worked frantically to draft their rooms during both of their non- despite constant change. Only that a functional solution, and student teaching hours. This arrangement HR specialist and those guidance Himilcon Inciarte and faculty schedules were not was far from ideal. I felt disorganized, counselors are still in their positions Fourth grade Spanish teacher, Dever-Mc- finalized until mid-October. in the way and out of place for much today. As I soon learned, work Cormack, Elementary, Boston While I waited for my permanent of the school year. relationships also shift, as good schedule, I taught three courses: As the year carried on, students people move on, and others come to Karina Koff-Tessio Model United Nations, Caribbean transferred in and out, became enhance your life in a different way. Paraprofessional, Zanetti Montessori Studies and U.S. History I, including homeless, dropped out and faced During the 2010-2011 school year, School, Springfield a section of Structured English other difficult transitions. As the year I began to keep a journal of rants, Immersion, which felt like a fourth came to a close, my colleagues and raves and reflections. I began to see Bill Madden-Fuoco course for me. Having missed the I were informed that the following that its flexibility is precisely what Humanities teacher, Urban Science first week of classes because of my year, our school would house the makes Lawrence so special. I learned Academy ,West Roxbury, licensure delay, I struggled to get Newcomer Program. Our students to appreciate the opportunities that my bearings. I had not attended would have to transfer to one of the lay behind seemingly insurmountable Eliana Martinez new teacher orientation either, so I other five academies to accommodate changes. Today my city is subject Social studies teacher, Lawrence High was in the dark about basic campus the incoming population of English to many, much larger changes than School, Lawrence protocols. I was at a loss for how to Language Learners. I realized that the ones I’ve described. I remain seek help managing my class load, the changes were only beginning. fiercely hopeful about the future and Amanda Perez especially amidst the climate of I had no choice but to adapt to committed to our students, and that Middle school teacher, Sarah Greenwood confusion fomenting all around us. I the continuous shift. I observed is probably the only thing that will School, Dorchester. knew that student teaching had not how remarkably resilient the people not change.  prepared me to be this independent, around me were. As I look back, Eliana grew up in Lawrence. She is an Robert Tobio and I felt foolish and insecure. I admire the Human Resources Math and special education teacher, Mary active participant in a program called To make matters worse, I was Licensure Specialist that expedited Teach Lawrence that encourages the Lyon Pilot School, Brighton. itinerant. The school simply did not my license, the colleague in whose city’s young people to train to become teachers.AFT MA Welcomes New Field Rep locals, including paras in Spring- field, teachers in Chelmsford and atC Nashoba Valley Tech, as well as the aryn Laflamme, AFT Massa- to help preserve the middle class, I faculty at the Wentworth Institute of chusetts’ new field representa- needed to either go into teaching or Technology. “These are really toughtive, has the labor movement in her go to work for a union,” Caryn says. economic times and that makes itblood. Her father is a retired labor She picked the latter and became an even more important that we getlawyer, her grandfather was an or- organizer the American Federation people engaged in their unions,”ganizer for the International Ladies of State, City and Municipal Employ- says Caryn.Garment Workers Union in Pennsyl- ees (AFSCME). The highlight of that When she’s not working, Carynvania, while her grandmother served job, Caryn recalls, was an organizing enjoys spending time with her fam-as a shop steward for her local in the campaign with paraprofessionals ily: her husband Brian, a residentialNational Treasury Workers Union. in Manchester, NH. “I got to spend carpenter, and their two-year-oldCaryn’s step-grandmother was a whole summer visiting paras and son Luc. She also loves to travel, andinstrumental in helping organize the taking to them about what it was like while Luc’s arrival has made travelfirst union of nurses in California. “I to be in the union.” somewhat more challenging, thegrew up understanding that work- Her new position at AFT Mas- Laflammes head west to see Caryn’sers deserve rights at work and to sachusetts, which Caryn began last family as often as they can. Andbe treated fairly,” Caryn says. “I got April, represents a perfect meld- which coast does Caryn prefer?that from my family.” ing of her interests in education “I call the East Coast home but Caryn, who grew up in Los Ange- and labor, she says. She also brings there are still some things I findles and headed east to attend college a wealth of experience to the job. hard to get used to.” One example:at Brandeis University, says that a Caryn spent the past 8 years work- LABOR LIFE New AFT MA field expressions that have one definitionclass with economist Robert Reich ing as a field representative for representative Caryn Laflamme with along the Atlantic, another alongon the growing disparity between AFSCME Council 93, assisting city her husband Brian and two-year- the Pacific. “In California, if we saythe rich and the poor in the US and town employees with contract old son Luc. Caryn comes from a the weather is mild it means that it’shelped her to decide on her own ca- negotiations. At AFT MA she’ll be long line of labor activists and says cold. Here it means that it’s warm.”reer path. “I realized that if I wanted working with a range of member she learned from her family the  importance of workers’ rights. 4 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  5. 5. BEHIND G raffiti on a classroom wall. A student, clad in jeans and a THE SCENES hooded sweatshirt, spotted near the scene of the crime, writing on the wall with a purple Sharpie. A clear-cut case. Or is it? That was the evidence that Susan MacLeod confronted students in an after- and school-program at Lowell’s Robinson Middle School last year. Cathie Watkins The students had to untangle the case for themselves as part of an innovative mock trial program Lowell’s sponsored by the nonprofit Discovering Justice. With the Legal Eagles support of local attorneys who volunteer to act as coaches, the students take on ripped-from-the- headlines legal problems, learn An innovative after to engage in legal analysis and ORDER IN THE COURT Susan MacLeod and Cathie Watkins model their ultimately try a case before an actual plaque from their students’ successful showing at a mock trial competition. school program gives judge in a real courtroom. eight year teaching at the Robinson, Watkins and MacLeod say that Teachers Cathie Watkins and Lowell students a be- Susan MacLeod, say that the mock says that many of the students who while enrichment programs are signed up for the course didn’t often made available to honors trial program offers students an hind-the-scenes look at up-close look at the legal system. realize that they’d be acting out students, or students in wealthy an actual trial. “They all took it districts, the mock trial program Along the way, the students also the judicial system. learn valuable skills, including how incredibly seriously and they did a is for kids who are usually left out. fabulous job,” says MacLeod. Discovering Justice, the nonprofit to analyze evidence, how to ask The course culminated in a that oversees the mock trial questions in a legal context, and hour-long trial, the fictional Gaines program, offers it only to schools what the appropriate etiquette is in vs. Genovia School District, before in communities with significant a courtroom. two Lowell Juvenile Court judges, populations of underserved Watkins says that in addition and a jury of students, lawyers and students. In addition to Lowell, to their new understanding of teachers. The jury heard testimony the trial program is also being the legal system, the Robinson from the young man suspected of offered in Boston, New Bedford and students gained something even “tagging” the school wall and, who Worcester. The program is intended more important: self-confidence. in turn sued the school, claiming to expose younger students to the “Some of the students were so shy that his rights had been violated by judicial system in a positive way. when they started, but by the time the principal’s excessive search. The Watkins says that as far as it ended they were able to get up in jury ultimately found in favor of the she’s concerned the verdict for the front of a judge and a jury and make defendant. program is in. “It was new for us their case,” says Watkins, who is Student Lane Longtin, who and it’s been a real success. We have beginning her fifteenth year at the participated in the mock trial students who now feel comfortable Robinson. program, says that he signed up speaking in front of a group when After they were presented with because he’s always had an interest they didn’t before.” She says that the case of the graffiti-marked in the law—particularly famous for a school that has the challenges classroom wall—and a suspect to unsolved cases. (Longtin counts faced by the Robinson, which serves go with the crime—each student among his favorite books a series some of Lowell’s poorest students, was assigned a part in the legal starring a kid lawyer).Thanks to being able to offer an innovative drama that followed, including a the after-school-program, Longtin program like Discovering Justice live hearing before a local Lowell is now thinking that he’d like to means a lot. “Eighty percent of our judge. Students had to give opening be a lawyer—when he gets out of students are on free or reduced statements, closing statements middle school. “I got to do the cross lunch and homelessness is an issue and question witnesses. While examination for the defendant’s for some of our kids,” says Watkins. local prosecutors and defense side,” says Longtin. “I’ve met some “This after school program enriches attorneys assisted with fine tuning, the writing—not to mention the acting—was all done by the students lawyers before but this is the first time that I got to really see what it’s ▪ their lives.” For more information about like to be in the courtroom.” Discovering Justice, visit www. themselves. MacLeod, now in her discoveringjustice.org AFT Debuts Free Lesson Site T he American Federation of Teachers has introduced what will become the largest online com- investment ever in a tool to improve the teaching profession.” Share My Lesson allows users to munity for teachers to collaborate upload their own resources, review and share teaching resources and and rate resources on the site, and innovative ideas, with an emphasis download anything at all, at no on resources to guide them on im- charge. The site is open to all edu- plementing the new Common Core cators, from preschool to college. standards. Called Share My Lesson, The user-generated content will be the free site categorizes resources supplemented by tens of thousands by grade level, subject and type of of resources from content partners, resource, such as video or handout. including the Encyclopaedia Britan- Since its debut at the AFT conven- nica. Says Weingarten: “Share My tion in Detroit this summer, Share Lesson supports teachers by giving My Lesson has amassed more than them a place to come together and 250,000 resources. share their knowledge, skills, lesson “Teachers are expected to do so plans and effective classroom strat- much, often with very little support, egies. It’s by teachers, for teachers, and they are thirsty for the tools and is an easy-to-use source for they need to improve instruction,” classroom resources—and it’s free.” says AFT President Randi Wein- garten. “The AFT decided to accept Visit www.sharemylesson.org to get the challenge and make its biggest started. 5October 2012
  6. 6. On Campus Dan Georgianna, Political Director UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895Higher Education a Big Issue in 2012 ElectionM itt Romney’s selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as hisrunning mate sharpened his differenc- 3 percent of the federal budget. Ryan’s plan wouldn’t touch military spending, which takes about 25% of total federal Mitt Romney’s selection of government spending, the same per- Congressmanes with President Obama, especially inthe areas of government spending and centage as health care, mostly Medi- Paul Ryan as histaxes. Romney always favored cutting care, which Romney/Ryan also now running matetaxes and government services, based claim would be unaffected by budget sharpened hison his central idea that the U.S. gov- cuts. The Romney/Ryan plan would differencesernment is wasteful and incompetent increase the deficit, which follows the with Presidentcompared with private businesses, but pattern of larger deficits under Re- Obama, espe-he relied on slogans rather than actual publican administrations than under cially in the areaspolicies. Congressman Ryan brings to Democratic administrations. President of governmentthe ticket his reputation as author of Clinton’s administration had budget surpluses in his last three years in spending andthe House Budget Plan, which calls office. taxes.for deep cuts in some governmentprograms, while maintaining tax cuts The differences between the Presi-for the wealthy and corporations, all dential candidates are most clear for the wage scale. More young people, in- stimulate domestic spending, whichof which is supposed to eliminate the higher education. cluding college graduates are moving the economy needs, but flow intogovernment deficit. President Obama would increase back home because they can’t afford to financial assets. Cuts in government The Ryan Budget Plan to reduce Pell grants for lower and middle live on their own. social programs, such as educationthe government deficit is ideologically- income students and maintain the tax The loss of pensions has forced reduce employment. During thebased fantasy, because the tax cuts for credits for paying college tuition and many people past retirement age to Reagan recovery of the 1980s, federalthe wealthy far outweigh the spending fees. Both would help students and work longer, holding up jobs for young government employment increased bycuts almost totally targeted on social their parents. He also would main- people, and the future of social secu- 100,000 jobs.programs that are only a small sliver tain loan programs as government rity doesn’t look very promising for Former Governor Romney’s plansof the total federal government bud- programs at low interest rates, rather young people, who are expected to pay for higher education will make collegeget. Education, for example, takes only that private bank programs charging the costs now while future benefits for less accessible and more expensive. higher interest rates that increases them are far less secure. When asked how his programs will banks’ profits. President Obama would As with most of Romney’s other lower tuition, Romney advised stu- also force for-profit colleges to show higher loan repayment rates and proposals, cutting taxes for the wealthy and government spending dents to “shop around.” ▪ employment rates upon graduation won’t end the recession, but prolong in order to qualify for federal student it. Tax cuts for the wealthy do not grants and loans. Former Governor Romney would cut Pell grants, eliminate tax credits for tuition and fees, bring private banks back into the federal student SCHOOL OF EDUCATION, PUBLIC POLICY, AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT loan programs, and most cynical of all, roll back President Obama Gainful Employment Regulations that would require all colleges to show low loan default rates and reasonable ability to pay college loans after graduation in Master of Arts in Teaching order to receive federal funds. In his policy paper on education, Romney writes that tuition increases Flexible schedule - Financial aid available are the central problem in higher 20% discount for teachers* education, which he blames on federal funding. High tuition and fees are indeed a national disgrace, far higher Licensure areas than in other countries, but Former include: Governor Romney conveniently forgets that reductions in state fund- • General Science ing for higher education, including his cuts in higher education funding as • Biology Massachusetts Governor, drove tuition • Chemistry higher. In focusing on high tuition rather • Physics than its causes, Romney is taking aim at the support of young people for • Mathematics President Obama. According to the Associate Press, 66 percent of voters • English age 18 to 24 voted for Obama in 2008; • History a recent Gallup poll showed that only 56 percent favor him now. • Spanish It is not surprising that President Obama’s rating among young people • French has declined. • Portuguese The recession has hurt young people more than other age groups. The unemployment rate is almost twice as high for young people. For * Current teachers maybe eligible for 20% discount. Call 508.910.9050 for more information. those with jobs, wages are falling and Apply Today for Fall 2012 more college graduates are taking jobs that do not require a college educa- tion, pushing more high school grads For more information, call 508.910.9050 or into unemployment and further down visit w w w.teaching.umassd.edu 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  7. 7. Retiree Corner SENIOR SEMINARS Preparing for Retirement (Marie Marie Ardito, Co-founder Ardito) Massachusetts Retirees United • Wilmington Middle School Octo- www.retireesunited.org ber 10, 2012 3:30-5:30 • Lynn Teachers Union Building October 24, 2012 3:15-5:15Aid and Attendance for Veterans • Medway October 25, 2012 3:30- 5:30M any of us do not begin to investigate something until weneed it. As a result, there are services are on Medicaid (not Medicare) do not qualify as they are already receiving a subsidy. approved and funds to be released, which places an additional burden. Some assisted living facilities will work How to Protect Your Nest Egg and Plan for the Right Outcome for Your Family (Elder Law At-available that we don’t make use of Aid and Attendance is a benefit with you if they know the resident torney Mary Howie)because we do not know they are through federal legislation so veterans qualifies for Aid and Attendance. • Saturday, October 20, 2012 fromthere. So many of us have an older in every state are eligible. Eligibility is Fortunately, all benefits are retro-dated ten to noonperson in our lives for whom we may also determined by how much of your back to the original filing date. • Saturday Dec. 8, 2012 from tenbe responsible. Long before we need income you are spending on health If you or your loved one is 70 to noonservices they will need them. Therefore care, including the total cost of a facility or older, you should request theit is important that we investigate for assisted living or nursing home is application process be expedited. The Understanding Your Social Secu-the benefits for which some may be counted. The amount of the benefit is VA’s own law states those applications rity and Medicareeligible. One of these things is Aid and $1,704 a month to a veteran, $1,094 for benefits for a veteran/widow 70 • Saturday October 27, 2012Attendance that is offered to veterans per month to a surviving spouse, or or older are to be given priority. It is from ten to noonand their spouses. $2,020 per month to a couple who advised that you include a cover letter As defined by this benefit, a both need assistance with two daily with the application noting this request. Living In Retirement As An In-veteran is one who served his/her functions. There is a means test as Due to the imminent changes formed Retireecountry for ninety days, one day of far as how much you can have in the that will be occurring regarding the • Saturday November 3, 2012 fromwhich the country was involved in bank. It is advisable for you to speak look-back period for this benefit, it is ten to noona war. To be eligible for this benefit to an elder law attorney as he/she can recommended that if you have someoneone must need help with two daily help you qualify for the means test. who may qualify now for this benefit All the Saturday seminars are at 314functions: ambulation (cane, walker, Presently, there is no look-back period begin ASAP to look into it. A member Main Street Unit 105 Wilmington, MAwheelchair qualify), dressing or for dispersing of funds for this benefit told me that if you send a letter saying 01887. Main Street in Wilmington isundressing, feeding, personal hygiene but that will change in 2013 when there you are in the process of filing for the same as Route 38. Please registerand grooming, bowel and bladder will be a two or three year look-back. this benefit, your time frame begins by emailing Marie at mardito@management, taking medications as Expect that it will take between 4-6 with the reception of the letter by the retireesunited.org or calling the voiceprescribed, etc. Individuals who are months on average for your application veterans agency. Aid and Attendance is message system at 617-482-1568. Beblind or a patient in a nursing home to be processed and to receive a one of the many topics that Elder-Law sure to tell the seminar for whichbecause of mental or physical incapacity determination letter. Due to the current Attorney Mary Howie discusses at the you are registering, your name, phonealso qualify, as do veterans who are backlog of claims to be processed this free Protecting Your Nest Egg Seminar number and the number attending.in an assisted living facility or require timeframe can be much longer. Many offered by Massachusetts Retirees There will be no return call unlessassisted care, whether given in the home families can’t afford to pay for care United. Please become informed on you request directions.or in an outside facility. Veterans who while waiting for the pension to be issues before you need them. The Golden chip on my shoulder, and a desire to run from everything. Little did I know LARGER THAN LIFE Bradford Green, a Apple I would meet Mr. Barry Hopping, my new teacher at Lynn’s new English teacher. Pickering Middle The year was, I admit, not a School with a statue of bright spot as concerns my academic his hero, James Joyce. credibility. I failed several courses. I Green’s other hero is a got into trouble. I did not care – at all. former teacher, BarryBradford Green Though I would go through college Hopping. “My world many years later finishing at the top ofEnglish Teacher, was filled with a sense my class, in 1974 I was at the bottomPickering Middle School, of impending doom, of the pile. The one bright spot for me sadness and profoundLynn, MA was my English class. loss. Every day I go to Mr. Hopping believed in me. He work and remember told me I was a good student, spent a that scared little boyD r. Richard Elia, a professor of English at Salem State Universitylectured from the first day of class lot of time writing comments on my essays. English was my only hope! that Mr. Hopping made feel special; I am I was an avid reader. I remember reminded that I amto the last—without notes. He is a when I wrote a story called “The Vast sitting now at the frontcharismatic, brilliant force at the Majority” and Mr. Hopping told me of the room for thepodium. He is the kind of teacher with a little work I would be able to same reasons.”that could tell underclassmen to “go create “another masterpiece.” Thoseto hell” – and they would thank him words never left me. I did not knowand mean it. He reflects all I wish to at the time (nor would I find out until my mind that had always told me to visit him in 2010. He did not exactlybecome as a teacher, but he is not why 2010) that 1974 was Mr. Hopping’s do something with my passion for remember me. But he did rememberI decided to teach. For that teacher we first year as a teacher. He always literature. However, it is not really 1974, the first year he taught. I triedneed to return to an earlier day: 1974. smiled. He never yelled—or if he did English that Mr. Hopping taught me. to tell him how much he had meant I had just lost a second parent and, it was not at me. Yet I am pretty sure Every day I go to work and to me, but it seemed impossible toat the age of twelve, was entering what he never yelled. English was my refuge remember that scared little boy that articulate it then. I am hoping thiswas then called junior high school – from the cruelty of the world. That he made feel special; I am reminded letter will serve to let him know thatseventh grade. My world was filled is how it seemed to me at the time, that I am sitting now at the front of I teach English today, and he was awith a sense of impending doom, anyway. Mr. Hopping made everything the room for the same reasons. I am driving force in my life. Mr. Hopping:sadness and profound loss. At the seem important; everything from reminded of his smile, his exuberance, I will never forget you. time, however, I just felt it as anger. grammar to the newspaper he imbued his passion for life itself. He saved me.What twelve year-old can express with special meaning and a sense of I spent some time searching fortheir true feelings? How can they even purpose. I would grow up to work Mr. Hopping and discovered that hereally know them? I entered Ipswich in the corporate world for 25 years is a principal in a middle school in theJunior High with a sense of disgust, a before turning to that little voice in Newburyport school system. I went toOctober 2012 7

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