Aftma summer 2012

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Aftma summer 2012

  1. 1. Boston, MA 02111 Suite 402 38 Chauncy Street AFT Massachusetts Summer 2012The Community ChallengeO n a recent weeknight in Lawrence, teachers, students, parents and local leaderspacked the public library for a first-of-its-kind community forum. Onthe agenda was an ambitious plan tostrengthen ties between the LawrenceTeachers Unions, its members, andthe larger Lawrence community. Theconcept was 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 TeachersUnion, told the crowd. The Lawrence community COMMUNITY VOICE Ana Victoria Morales speaks at a community forum In This Issue in Lawrence, part of an ambitious plan to strengthen ties between teachersengagement project began months and the larger Lawrence community. Said Morales, a recent graduate of theago, just days after the state moved to Lawrence Public Schools: “I’m here because I want to help lift my city up.” 2 President’s Columntake over the Lawrence Public Schools. Meet the Distinguished Lawrence High School. Boston, and New Bedford. In most(At press time, the state-appointed Service Winners of 2012 One by one, teachers, parents and of these cities, the teachers union isreceiver was expected to announce 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 public 4 Diary of a New Teacher: A teacher learns that there isdistrict’s lowest-performing schools, concerns and their hopes for the future. presence. “Given the number of people no quick fix for confrontingincluding inviting charter schools to “Lawrence has a history of leading the we represent, we have the potential tomanage several of the city’s schools.) inequality and segregation way to social change,” said Jineyda play a much more significant role inJasiela Chaves, a public education 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. 5 The Editor of the Advocateis spearheading the project, says Signs Off true way of making change—that’s why He has begun recruiting volunteersthat the state takeover provided an teachers have to be involved.” from within his membership to serveopportunity for Lawrence residentsto have a real conversation about The effort to build a partnership as community ambassadors—teachers 6 On Campus: For-profit higher education works for business, between teachers and the communities and paraprofessionals who are alreadyits schools. “If we want to make our not so well for students in which they live and work is not active in church groups or localcommunity, our city stronger, we have unique to Lawrence. Similar efforts organizations and are willing to talkto make our schools stronger too,” saysChaves, who is a recent graduate of are under way across the state, about what’s needed to make Lynn’s 7 Retiree Corner Golden Apple: A father’s day including in Lynn, Lowell, Worcester, schools work for the children they page 8 Continued on tributeAward-Winning Film Gets the Story StraightBy Matt RobinsonF rom “Blackboard Jungle” to “Rock n’ 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 remainsinadequate 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 a surprise 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 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 were announced at the state team’s content leader, expressed surprise convention in Quincy last month, at the call and said that all of her co- Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer are presented annually to AFT MA workers deserve to be thanked for their VICE PRESIDENTS work. “This school is full of wonderful members who have demonstrated teachers and I don’t know that I should Tim Angerhofer an outstanding level of service and be singled out, but I do feel honored,” Patricia Armstrong dedication to their union locals. This Deborah Blinder Piacitelli told the Boston Globe. year’s recipients included Amesbury Sean Bowker Kathryn Chamberlain High School teacher Thad Ackerman; Brenda Chaney Lowell High School teacher William Kathy Delaney Donaghey; Wayne LeBlanc, a Top of the Pops Catherine Deveney professional technician at UMass Patricia Driscoll Five Boston high school students got to Dartmouth; Lynn paraprofessional Thad Ackerman, math teacher, showcase their talent with the Boston Marianne Dumont Catherine Deveney, Barbara Bemis, a Amesbury High School. Pops as winners of the annual Fidelity Brant Duncan J. Michael Earle paraprofessional at Carney Academy FutureStage Young Artists Competition. Ackermans,” said Leary, who teaches Margaret Farrell in New Bedford; and retired Lowell Boston Latin School students Phuong Mary Ferriter with Ackerman at Amesbury High teacher Judith Robinson. Nghi Pham and John, Grace and Jenna Fitzgerald School. Robert Carney comprised four AFT MA president Tom Gosnell Richard Flaherty His colleagues and fellow union of the five talented winners of the Paul Georges praised this year’s award winners, members seem to agree. Ackerman, 2012 Fidelity FutureStage Young Daniel Haacker noting that they set a high standard who gave up a career in engineering Artists Competition. Olivia Harris of Joyce Harrington for the union’s future leaders. “These Susan Leahy to become a teacher, currently serves Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, was individuals really embody what AFT Francis McLaughlin as treasurer of AFT Amesbury. also featured. A panel of judges selected Massachusetts is about. They inspire the winners from among many contestants Bruce Nelson Local president Cindy Yetman James Philip their colleagues, their students and all from the Boston and Cambridge area.The praises him for his consummate Bruce Sparfven of us in the union movement.” winners performed on May 29, 2012, with professionalism, and for using his love Richard Stutman the Boston Pops, under the direction of Gale Thomas Service counts of numbers to help the teachers and Keith Lockhart. When Barbara Leary, director paraprofessionals of Amesbury. Says Jennifer C. Berkshire, Editor Yetman: “He can always be counted 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 of mathematics at AFT Amesbury, offered her support for the nomination on to explain financial issues to our Got good news to share? Send it to Boston, Mass. 02111 Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 of her colleague, Thad Ackerman, her members in a clear and meaningful advocate@aftma.net Fax: 617-423-0174 recommendation could hardly have fashion. He is well deserving of this www.aftma.net been stronger. “The world would be a award and recognition. advocate@aftma.net 2 better place if there were more Thad Continued on page 5
  3. 3. A Film with Real Class Though they met before becoming teachers, the Continued from cover Lamothes clearly in their classes,” Lamothe says, “whose 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 3Summer 2012
  4. 4. Diary of a New Teacher O n a recent Sunday morning, I staked out a spot about 200 meters from the finish line of the Providence Marathon. After a while, in the distance I spotted Ben, one of EYES WIDE OPEN Bill Madden- Fuoco says that his experiences working in urban districts my students. Well over six feet tall and 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 education is the by, smiling. 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 snowyour experiences? You’ll get – with our school’s three Dream Far central office so that he could attempt of local control and the premise that runners and other teacher volunteers. to transfer for the upcoming year. His privilege-conferring education is a$300 per column and the Everyone who works and learns in father had signed all the papers. On the birthright that comes with living in theexposure of appearing in a an urban school has no choice but to “Out-of-Assigned-District Placement” right zip code? An equity index thatstatewide publication that wring out the best possible results from form, in the “reason for request” space, measures state-by-state educationalreaches 25,000 readers. In- what we have. Pursuit of higher MCAS he had written: “Better educational fairness and determines federal funding scores and budget constraints have left programs, more activities, higher would be a good start. Even a move asterested? Write to: enrichments for most Boston teenagers success rates, and closer to where modest as this, however, won’t comeadvocate@aftma.net threadbare, and Darcel’s efforts to we live.” After a long talk with Ben, I voluntarily. But with the right kind of create opportunities where few exist agreed to take him. pressure, it might. is a model of what it means to be an Later that week we drove to the Meet the 2011-2012 effective urban educator now. central office. A nice woman told us we Congratulations Days before the marathon, I worked had to go to Newton South High School. New Teacher Diarists with Ben after school. Students in my On the way there we passed Newton The Advocate congratulates New Teacher 10th grade Humanities classes recently North High School, which opened two Diarist Bill Madden-Fuoco. Hiis col- developed their own research questions years ago and cost almost $200 million umn in the September 2011 edition ofThe following new teachers contributed to pursue as their final projects. The the paper, on the difference betweento the New Teacher Diary during the to build. Kids played lacrosse on its teaching and ensuring that studentspast school year. The Advocate thanks criterion is that the question can emerald lawn and its sprawling modern learn, took second place in the annualall of these fine teachers for sharing lead to a reasonable debate. Here’s façade seemed like a mirage. At Newton journalism competition sponsored bytheir experience and looks forward to Ben’s: “Should one person get a better South, an administrator was one of the the American Federation of Teachers.welcoming a new class of contributors education just because of where he or few souls left in the main office. She Also receiving recognition this year:next fall. she lives?” I hesitated at first. On its informed Ben that he would have to call cartoonist Joseph Quigley for his draw- face, the question seems incapable of the next day to make an appointment ing of “The New Atlas” that appeared inRiana Good sparking debate. But then I came to my when the office was better staffed. The the November 2011 Advocate. QuigleySpanish teacher, Boston Teachers Union senses and approved it. next day Ben borrowed my phone to received a second-place prize for bestSchool, Jamaica Plain. Ben lives in a small condominium make the call. A woman on the other original drawing. Congratulations to complex through which the borders end kept repeating “You have to live in both!Lorena German of Newton, Brookline, and Boston Newton in order to go here.”ELA teacher, Lawrence High School, – imperceptibly, yet with great The conversations we have aboutLawrence. consequence – slice through red teacher evaluation, turnarounds, and brick walls and piece out educational charters matter. Gotta have them. ButBill Madden-Fuoco opportunity. Ben goes to school in they skirt a larger issue. I predict thatHumanities teacher, Urban Science Boston where the four-year graduation performance based evaluations willAcademy ,West Roxbury, rate is 62%. If he lived in the apartment reveal that in urban districts, even the a few doors down, he would catch the most effective teachers – say the top 5%Melissa McDonald school bus that stops at the end of his – do not produce acceptable learningFifth grade teacher, Parthum Elementary street and takes kids to Newton, where gains. I say this as someone whoSchool, Lawrence. the student population is 74% white, believes that when it comes to learning, and the graduation rate is 96%. teacher quality trumps everything,Joyce Melker Ben is often whimsical. When I including out-of-school factors.Paraprofessional, Henry Lord Middle checked in on him, his computer screen We need to change conditions toSchool, Fall River, was checkered with pictures of snake make effective teaching more possible:Amanda Perez meat, culled from a Google images smaller rosters, fewer preps, moreMiddle school teacher, Sarah Greenwood search. “Ben, why are you searching time to plan and collaborate, moreSchool, Dorchester. for pictures of snake meat?” I asked. teachers. Such a paradigm shift could “It’s because I eat a lot of fish, and fish begin to level the playing field, butMatthew Robinson and snakes have almost the same kind the investment required is far beyondELA and journalism teacher, Burke High of skin,” he explained. “I wanted to see anything currently being discussed.School, Dorchester. what their meat looks like.” Left unchecked, inequality festers. When it comes to the differences Always. The dream of desegregationRobert Tobio between the schools of Boston and its – our best-ever check againstMath and special education teacher, Mary neighbors, however, Ben is serious. He educational inequality – has beenLyon Pilot School, Brighton. can fluently navigate the DESE and all but killed by the Supreme Court. Education Week websites to show that And zoning laws that prohibit the students in Newton are more likely to construction of affordable housing in have classes taught by highly qualified areas with high performing schools teachers. He is well versed in the deep effectively act as gates to keep out catalog of classes and activities that other people’s children. Dewey called Newton and Brookline boast. Despite education “the great equalizer.” But its seemingly comparable per-pupil when schools themselves are grossly spending, Boston has a far greater unequal, education is the great sorting percentage of students with low- mechanism. socioeconomic status and students with I often wonder: How is it that we limited English proficiency, and its are not out in the streets over what attendance rates are abysmal. Jonathan Kozol calls “apartheid Two weeks after the marathon, Ben education”? What will it take to asked me to drive him to Newton’s dismantle our fealty to the principle 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 is 100%. LeBlanc’s dedication to of Lowell. Over the years, that gift In great company mentoring extends to the union’s newest of collegiality has made Donaghey a When the New Bedford Federation members, the research associates and beloved figure among his students, hisof Paraprofessionals were considering technical associates. “They were all colleagues, as well as among his fellowwhom to nominate for the distinguished mentored by Wayne in ‘how to survive union members. “He has tremendousservice award, Barbara Bemis quickly and thrive here,’” says Griffith, noting integrity and an incredibly warmcame to mind. Explains Connie Motta, that LeBlanc helped the new members personality,” says O’Brien. Among hispresident of the local: “Barbara is a write their first contract. students and fellow teachers Donagheydedicated paraprofessional who has Griffith sums up the qualities is known as an outstanding teacher whoworked diligently for the betterment Judith Robinson, retired teacher, of his coworker this way: “In short, helps to create a “college-bound” cultureof the union, its members, and the Lowell Public Schools Wayne is one of those people that all among his students and their families.students of the New Bedford Public unions need—bright, inexhaustible and O’Brien notes that Donaghey hasSchools.” But what may be most incorruptible—and which too few of us also served as a union leader for many Continued serviceimpressive about Bemis, notes Motta, have in sufficient quantity. We admire years, including as an LHS building Every year AFT Massachusettsis the duration of her dedication. “She’s him, respect him and love him.” rep, as the secondary vice president honors a retired union member whosebeen a para for 41 and a half years.” and as the high school representative Bemis’ colleagues at the John B. career has exemplified dedication and Collegiality award service. The 2012 award goes to Judy on the Education DevelopmentDeValles School, where she has served When Bill Donaghey joined the Robinson, a beloved kindergarten Committee, which meets monthly withas a building rep for the past 10 years, faculty at Lowell High School as a teacher who spent more than 30 years the superintendent. “Bill is the truepraise her leadership and devotion to Spanish teacher nearly 30 years ago, educating the children of Lowell. But reflection of what every teacher aspiresthe children with whom she works. Jack O’Brien, then a house master while Robinson may no longer be in the to be,” says O’Brien. Bemis is also a role model, adds at LHS, noticed something special classroom, the members of the United AFT MA congratulates all of thisMotta. “She has been a strong leader about his new colleague. “He had year’s Distinguished Service Award ▪ Teachers of Lowell continue to benefit an immediate rapport with almostand role model in tough times and is winners. from her vast educational and union- what sunafraid to stand up for what’s right. related expertise. “She’s been incredibly l t d ti “Sh ’ b i diblHer actions exemplify what a true union generous with her time and is alwaysleader should be.” 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 SPEED RACER After six years at theparaprofessionals to receive the every school name! Fortunately, I’m helm of the Advocate, editor JenniferDistinguished Service Award in the a quick learner and after 54 issues (or Berkshire is riding into the future.same year, Lynn para Cathi Deveney 456 pages for any math teachers out there), I finally know the difference I’m creating a website to keep an eyewas an obvious choice, says Brant between a PLC and an IEP. I can talk on the corporate education agenda inDuncan, 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 AFTof the AFT Massachusetts Executive ‘judgment’ in a headline on the front Massachusetts will take some serious cover). getting used to.Board, Deveney is leading an effort Dedication in action Now I’m moving on. This fall I’ll Thanks to all of you for making theto provide paras in Lynn with high When James Griffith, president of be starting my own business to help last six years so rewarding. It’s been anquality 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,Deveney facilitated courses for paras Dartmouth, was considering whom to nominate for this year’s Distinguished Service award, he had to look no better job of communicating with their members. I’m also looking forward minute of it. ▪ —Jennifer Berkshire to doing some in-depth reporting onin Lynn, then worked with the Lynn further than among his own colleagues. education issues. Last but not least, jenniferberkshire@gmail.com 5Summer 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 noat for-profit schools is more than double signs of ending. Students inthe tuition and fees at state colleges anduniversities. Almost all costs at for-profit schools is paid from governmentgrants and loans. PhD/EdD the province went on strike in February to protest a pro- 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 Pew money may seem trivial by USCharitable Trust, for-profit schoolsreceive about 25% of all Federal Pell A program 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 Grants, loans and loan defaultswould be much higher if not for Federallaw requiring that at least 10% of total justice and equality Cultural Rights, which Canada 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
  7. 7. Retiree Corner SENIOR SEMINARS Marie Ardito, Co-founder Protecting Your Nest Egg Massachusetts Retirees United Two hour free seminar, presented by www.retireesunited.org Elder Law Attorney Mary Howie deals with should you have a will or a trust. Trusts (irrevocable and revocable)Retirement Questions—Answered gifting, Medicare Qualifying Trusts, probate, joint tenancy, direct transfers upon death, aid and attendance, and much more.T his month’s column is on a couple If you look at some of these dates. you work for, nor the Commonwealth, of issues important to those still some people would have almost a two- contributes anything to your fund. When: Saturday June 23, 10 - Noonworking and those retired. As you know year wait until they can exercise what If your salary this year was $70,000 Where: Presidential Park, Unit 105,MRU was responsible for the passage the law states they need only a year to and you are under retirement plus, 214 Main Street (Rt. 38), Wilmingtonof a bill that increased by $15,000 the use. You calculate what you can earn you paid $7,700 to get credit for thisamount a person may make in a public on a calendar year not a contract year. year of service. If you have any of To register email Marie at mardito@service job when retired. The law states It is obvious that PERAC feels you the forms of creditable service listed, retireesunited.org or call 1-617-482-one has to be retired one year to make should skip one complete calendar or you have regular service that you 1568 and leave your name (pleaseuse of the increase. It should not be year in order to be eligible for the rendered in the past but took the spell last name) a phone # and thenecessary to clarify what constitutes benefit. That is not what the law money out for it, you have to buy it number who will be attending.You area year. However recently the Public stated; it said retired for one year. If back or make an initial purchase. registered unless you hear differently.Employee Retirement Administration this will adversely affect you, contact It is imperative that you begin the No return phone call will be madeCommission (PERAC) provided your local Representative and Senator process ASAP as the interest rates on unless you have a question or needguidance to the 106 retirement systems and ask them why PERAC can impose such purchases is over doubling on directions.in the Commonwealth. a longer waiting period than the law April 2, 2013 to 8.25%. To avoid the Here is a chart explaining PERAC’s states. Ask them to do what they can increase you must have your paper to see that the law is implemented as work into the MTRS by that date. This Important Informationguidelines: written not as PERAC interprets it summer is the perfect time to begin for Active EmployeesDate of Retirement Date Eligible to Earn should be implemented. the process. The next issue is that any teacher Another question I am often asked If you have creditable service thatAdditional $15,000 you have not purchased and that youRetired before or on 4/1/2011 still working, who has any creditable is does it pay to buy back service? The are eligible to receive it is imperativeEligible to earn: 4/2/2012 service they wish to purchase (buy service you would be buying back for that you begin the process at once.Retired between 4/2/2011 & 12/31/2011 back), go to the MTRS website www. the most part will be less expensive On April 2, 2013 the interest rate willEligible to earn: 1/1/2013 mass.gov/mtrs/ and read about the than what you just paid for this increase to 8.25% making the cost ofRetired between 1/1/2012 & 12/31/2012 various forms of creditable service. present year of service and it is still buying back this service substantiallyEligible to earn: 1/1/2014 If you qualify for any, download the a year of service. The only ones who more.Retired between 1/1/2013 & 12/31/2013 appropriate form and start the buy- should not buy-back are those whoEligible to earn: 1/1/2015 back process immediately. Some never want to retire or are at 80% If you need aren’t sure whether orRetired between 1/1/2014 & 12/31/2014 ask me what I mean by buy-back? without the service. You do not buy- not you are eligible to buy back ser-Eligible to earn:1/1/2016 Up until the time you retire you are back what you will never use. Contact vice,Visit www.mass.gov/mtrs/. the only one contributing to your me at mardito@retireesunited.org retirement. Neither the community with any questions you may have.The Golden W hat my dad did for me is something very hard for me to write about. My dad has done many Apple things for me throughout my life, but one of the most important things he did for me was to introduce me to an amazing group of individuals that I ended up falling in love with andShannon Reilly making a career out of working with them.Special education teacher, My dad works very hard to provideVining Elementary School, for and support his family and isBillerica, MA amazing at it. If my brother and I ever asked for anything when we were younger, he would try his best to get it for us. He basically did what most parents try to do for their children, and show them an endless amount of SPECIAL BOND Shannon Reilly with her father—and inspiration—Joe, a love. chef and instructor at the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative. My dad is a chef instructor at Merrimack Special Education follow my dreams and that is exactly teacher I am today. Collaborative in Billerica and has what I did My dad is an amazing man. He been for many years. My dad used I never understood what my dad gives individuals the opportunity to to always share stories about events did everyday and why he loved his job learn skills in the kitchen that they that would happen at his work and as much as he did until I worked at might not otherwise be taught. He is at times I would go and visit while he a summer camp after my junior year patient, kind and celebrates the small was working. I always had a strong of high school. The students that I successes in life with his students. I relationship with my dad growing up, worked with were individuals with remember growing up and visiting but it got stronger when I began to a variety of special needs. The first my dad’s work and thinking maybe I volunteer with children with special day of camp changed my life forever. could do this someday. My dad has needs. From that day on, with my dad’s shown me many things growing up but I never knew why my dad would support, I began to look at colleges the most important thing he showed get up at 4:45 in the morning and with special education programs. me was how to be patient and caring. drive 45 minutes to work every day Throughout my four years of I am a special education teacher but then I got it, I got the education college in Maine, my dad was always because I have had one of the best bug! People have always said that I just a phone call away if I had any teachers guiding me my whole life. remind them of my dad or that we questions about a situation I had My dad is the reason I am a special look similar—little do they know we been in or a lesson I wanted to teach education teacher and loving what I have more in common than meets the a group of students. My dad is the do every day. eye. My dad has always inspired me to reason I am the person—and theSummer 2012 7

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