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December2012 advocate

  1. 1. Boston, MA 02111 Suite 402 38 Chauncy Street AFT Massachusetts December 2012A Proven Path to SuccessLOWELL—On a fall Friday, teach-ers, administrators, city officials andunion leaders gathered to celebrateyet another marker of success in theremarkable story of Lowell’s Char-lotte M. Murkland School. Identifiedas one of the state’s lowest perform-ing schools just a year ago, studentachievement here has increased somuch that the school could now bedesignated Level 1, or top status, bythe state. What’s more, schools inLowell overall have demonstratedmarked improvement, the number ofLevel 1 schools increasing by 2/3 justthis year. The course charted by faculty andadministrators in Lowell contains im-portant lessons for anyone seeking to In This Issueturnaround a struggling school, and TRUE REFORM AFT President Randi Weingarten talks to students at Lowell’sadds a significant contribution to theeducation reform debate. The gains Murkland School while Assistant Principal Kevin Andriolo looks on. Weingarten says that the teacher-led reforms implemented by the Murkland should be a 2 President’s Column AFT MA Scholarshipsrealized at the school didn’t come model for school improvement efforts in Massachusetts and across the country.from arbitrarily firing educators, forc- 4 Diary of a New Teacher: A Mid-Career Teacher Trades aing them to reapply for their jobs, or one rooted in collaboration among served. As for the student population,handing the school over to a private district leadership, school adminis- that too is similar to Lawrence: 75% of College Classroom for a Lynnoperator Instead, administrators, trators and the United Teachers of students at the Murkland are on free Middle Schoolteachers and their union worked to Lowell, should serve as an example or reduced lunch, while two fifths ofcreate a model of shared responsibil-ity and accountability that has paid off for school improvement efforts every- where. the students in each grade are English language learners. 5 Paraclete Foundation’s Sister Ann Fox Honoredfor students and educators alike. Just four years ago, the situation “When you treat people with at the Murkland was very similar to True reform Retiree Benefits Threatenedrespect you can create a shared vi- struggling schools in nearby Law- Teachers here say that they cansion that produces real results,” says rence. Morale was low and teachers explain exactly why the turnaround 6 On Campus: Future of Campus Affirmative Action UnclearRandi Weingarten, president of the complained of a culture that under- efforts have been so successful. “ThisAmerican Federation of Teachers who mined them as professionals. Leader- is true reform,” says Mary Thereserecently visited the Murkland and met ship had been lacking at the district Linnehan. “Our administrators start 7 Retiree Cornerwith teachers and staff here. Weingar- level, and grant-funded directives with the assumption that we’re the Golden Appleten says that the turnaround model came and went with little regard true experts in the classroom.that has shown such promise here, to the needs of the students being Continued on page 3Lawrence Teachers: Give Us a Real ChanceLAWRENCE—Give us a real chance both schools. Studies, where studentsto turn our school around. That’s the Teachers say that a steady rise are taken when theymessage that teachers at the Henry K. in enrollment coupled with a loss of are in extreme distress,Oliver School in Lawrence are sending staff positions has had the predictable says that the currentto state and city education officials. outcome of causing test scores to drop. arrangement doesn’tTeachers point out that the school, Since 2009, student enrollment at serve either groupwhich was recently designated Level the Oliver has risen from 532 to 739, of students well. She4, or low performing, by the state, even as the school has lost some 20 recalls a time lastwas once among the top-performing staff members according to teachers’ year when her classschools in Lawrence. The Oliver can estimates, including a principal, was taking the mathreclaim that status, say teachers, if half of the school’s aides and three MCAS, the screamsthey are given real support by the instructional coaches. Meanwhile the of a troubled studentdistrict and the conditions, staffing, percentage of students who require echoing all aroundand resources to respond to the needs the most support—special education them. “The kids areof their students. and English language learners—has scared a lot of the Test scores at the Oliver began to risen too. Nearly 31% of students time.”slip three years ago after the school at the Oliver are struggling to learn The physical arrangement of Teachers at the Oliver School in Lawrence say that the grade 1-8was moved to the former Lawrence English, up from 24% in 2009. the space—the Oliver is housed on school began its slide after it wasHigh School. Rechristened the North Teachers say that the Oliver’s alternating floors, with the separate moved into the old Lawrence HighCommon Educational Complex, the current home is chaotic, with the special education program in School building, a facility that1900-era high school building now school day frequently disrupted by between—makes collaboration with faculty say is not suitable for younghouses both the grade 1-8 Oliver and so-called “code red” lock-downs as other teachers incredibly challenging. children.the grade 1-12 School for Exceptional emergency personnel are summoned Said one teacher: “Our former facilityStudies, a separate special education to help with students at the School was in disrepair but at least we wereprogram that includes teenagers and for Exceptional Studies. One teacher, able to work together as teachers.young adults with severe emotional whose classroom adjoins a behaviorproblems. A single principal oversees room for the School for Exceptional Continued on page 3
  2. 2. education and public libraries. Of course, we shall continue to meet with incumbent legislators. Very significant issues will be 2013 AFT MA Thomas J. Gosnell Scholarships present in the 2013 session of the legislature. An increase in revenues President, AFT Massachusetts is much needed. Even though the O sales tax increased from 5% to nce again AFT Massachusetts 6-1/4%, the Commonwealth does will be awarding scholarshipsThe Election and the Future not have sufficient revenues to fund adequately public education, public libraries, and a host of other public to eight eligible high school seniors who are dependents of AFT MA members. Every yearA services. AFT MA awards eight $1500 The American Federation still attend public schools despite A commission has been scholarships on the basis of a of Teachers Massachusetts the withering criticism directed established to examine health labor history exam administered worked most diligently to against the schools. We need insurance coverage for retirees. by the Massachusetts AFL-help Elizabeth Warren to get elected elected leaders, like the late Senator What a vital subject. We have made CIO, in cooperation with theU.S. Senator. Her passionate Ted Kennedy, who advocated the commission very aware of our Massachusetts Departmentadvocacy for the middle class and sensible reform but never flinched view that maintenance of adequate of Education. One additionalfor the positive role government from steadfastly supporting public health insurance for retirees is scholarship is being awarded bycan play in the life of the citizenry schools. We expect to see such essential. AFT MA will keep you the AFT MA Professional Staffwas most welcome. Even here in support again. informed. Union in memory of long-timeMassachusetts we do not always Congratulations to U.S. Rumors abound that charter AFT MA field representative Jayhear such pronouncements. Congressman John Tierney for his school advocates will campaign hard Porter.We shall work with the senator to outstanding reelection campaign. to raise the cap on charter schools. To be considered for theenhance public education and public AFT MA support was enthusiastic. Raising the cap on charter schools, scholarships, named in honorlibraries and to strengthen the He has always been outspoken given the current funding formula of Albert Shanker and Sandrainfrastructure so that the economy supporter of public education. The undermining public schools, will be Feldman, both former presidentscan have a more robust recovery. race was rough, but his constituents very harmful. We shall do what we of the American Federation of Even though the federal recognized his outstanding record. need to do. Teachers, and Jay Porter, thegovernment does not have the We also endorsed all the other AFT MA appreciates the work student must be a dependent ofexpansive role that the states and incumbent U.S. Representatives you did to help elect endorsed an AFT MA member and a highthe local communities have in and new comer Joseph Kennedy III, candidates. We shall need you school senior. The student mustsupport of public education, its role all of whom won decisively. The to work equal vigorously with all also attend a college or otheris significant. Title I funding is a Massachusetts delegation has one legislators when issues vital to post-secondary school in the fallfederal responsibility. Pell grants, of the most pro public education public schools and public libraries of 2013.which are college loans for poor records in the nation. appear in the legislature.and middle income students, are Most of the candidates we Applications Merry Christmas, Happya federal responsibility. Included endorsed for state representative Applications for the 2013 Chanukah, and Happy Holidays toin infrastructure projects is schoolconstruction. Over 90% of school age children and state senator also prevailed. We shall meet very quickly with ▪ all. If you have any questions or scholarships are available on the AFT MA website: www.aftma. those who are new to the legislature net. The deadline for submitting comments email me at tgosnell@in the United States of America to share our views about public applications is Monday, December 17. To take the labor history exam, Event to Examine Future of Public Ed. students should apply directly to their guidance office, social studies teacher, or principal. A The official publication of I s education for democracy at risk? That’s the question that a panel of noted educators will address on De- packet including one labor history study guide and one application was sent to each high school in the AFT Massachusetts, AFL-CIO cember 3rd at an event sponsored by state in November. A study guide Citizens for Public Schools. Among Thomas J. Gosnell, President is also available on our website. the featured speakers will be Deborah Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer Meier, a long-time collaborator with This year’s labor history exam will be given on Wednesday, VICE PRESIDENTS Diane Ravitch. February 6. Once a student has A teacher and administrator for Tim Angerhofer submitted an application to AFT Patricia Armstrong nearly four decades, Meier is also a noted advocate for public education Massachusetts and notified a Deborah Blinder Sean Bowker who has served students and their guidance counselor, he or she Kathryn Chamberlain families in Boston and New York. is considered registered for the Brenda Chaney A former principal of Mission Hill exam. Kathy Delaney School in Boston and former co-chair Catherine Deveney Additional scholarships Patricia Driscoll of the Coalition of Essential Schools, Deborah Meier, a teacher and long- Additional scholarships Marianne Dumont Meier is currently a senior scholar at Brant Duncan NYU’s Steinhart School of Education. time collaborator with Diane Ravitch, are also available through the J. Michael Earle will be the featured speaker at a Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Be sure Also speaking are Brookline Margaret Farrell Citizens for Public Schools event. to visit Educators Union President Jessica Mary Ferriter to learn about other opportunities. Wender Shubrow and James McDer- Jenna Fitzgerald Last year ten children of AFT Richard Flaherty mott, a former member of the Mas- What: Judge Sumner Z. Kaplan Paul Georges sachusetts Board of Education who Massachusetts members were Memorial Lecture and Benefit: awarded $1500 scholarships. Daniel Haacker resigned out of frustration with the Joyce Harrington “Is Education for Democracy at The 2012 winners include Rose Board’s policies. The event is being Susan Leahy Risk?” Allocca, Abigail Heingertner, held in honor of educator and CPS Francis McLaughlin Brandon Higgins, Kayla Board Member Sumner Z. Kaplan. Bruce Nelson Where: Brookline Public Library, James Philip It will be moderated by Kaplan’s Marandola, Amalia Mendoza, daughter Ruth, a current member of Main Branch Shawn Morrissey, Benjamin Bruce Sparfven Richard Stutman the state Board of Education. Soper, Boris Stanchev and Sarah Gale Thomas Citizens for Public Schools has When: Monday, December 3rd, Vandewalle. Congratulations to been sharply critical of the growing 6:30-8:00 PM last year’s winners and good luck ▪ Matt Robinson, Editor 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 push to privatize public schools in to all of this year’s applicants. Boston, Mass. 02111 Massachusetts. The event will fo- Event is free and open to the Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 cus on what can be done to stop the public. Donations to support For more information call Fax: 617-423-0174 privatization of our public schools, the work of Citizens for Public 617.423.3342. and empower parents, teachers and Schools will be accepted. For our communities to ensure that all more information visit: our students have the opportunity to learn. 2
  3. 3. A Proven Path to Success is more proof that collaboration re- ally works,” says Paul Continued from cover responsibility for all of the Murkland’s Georges, president of students. “We’re all using the same the United Teachers language, and we have the same ex- of Lowell. This is a pectations,” says second year teacher different way of do- Teachers and staff at the ing education reform Danielle Quinlan. “We talk about Murkland insist that theirs standing on one another’s shoulders— that is grounded in a is a model that can be there’s a real sense of teamwork.” deep respect for the replicated in any strug- Teachers now work in teams, both work that educators across and within grades, so as to do every day in their gling school or district.The better respond to the needs of their classrooms.” most essential ingredients: students. They start by assessing strong, committed leader- student data, everything from MCAS Lessons learned scores to classroom performance to Georges says that ship at every level and a he and his team of attendance to anecdotal indicators, genuine opportunity for then work together to determine how educators and union Second year teacher Rachel Quinlan talks to AFT leaders are eager to President Randi Weingarten and Murkland Principal teacher voice. best to reach the students who need Jason DiCarlo about the culture at the school. “There’s additional help. The teams are backed offer Lowell’s ap- proach to school a real sense of team here,” says Quinlan. up by literacy and math coaches who are able to provide differentiated as- improvement as aThey have faith in us and respect sistance based on what students—and model for other urbanus and that belief has enabled us to Mass. Board of Elementary and Sec- their teachers—need to succeed. districts, including Lawrence, now intransform the way we work and really ondary Education by a slim margin. “Everybody talks about data- the first year of a state-led turnaroundreach the students.” In its application to the state SABIS driven decision making but what the process. Despite its measurable suc- Jason DiCarlo, the school’s prin- had budgeted for a single ESL teacher teachers have learned to do at the cess, state officials have shown littlecipal, who joined the staff when the to work with English language learn- Murkland is remarkable,” says Dr. interest in Lowell’s collaborativeturnaround process began, says that ers, despite the fact that more than a Kate McLaughlin, a vice president of model.from the beginning, he and Assistant third of the students in Lowell are still the United Teachers of Lowell. Last year, just six months afterPrincipal Kevin Andreolo, sought learning English. choosing the Murkland as the back-to give teachers a voice. “It’s pretty Says Georges: “If this debate weresimple—when you give people a voice, Collaboration works drop to announce the 2011 MCAS truly about the best way to improve Teachers and staff at the Murkland scores, state officials gave the nod to athey have much more buy in,” says student achievement and outcomes, insist that theirs is a model that can 1200 seat for-profit charter school inDiCarlo. “Everyone at this school had the state would be looking at how to be replicated in any struggling school Lowell. The school, slated to open inpotential—we just had to figure out replicate our success at the Murkland. or district. The most essential ele- the fall of 2013, will divert as much ashow to tap into it.” That’s not what’s happening here.” ments: strong, committed leadership $24 million from the Murkland and Still, Georges says that he’s hopefulReal teamwork at every level and a genuine oppor- other Lowell Public Schools, despite that the continued success of both the The Murkland’s redesign involved tunity for teacher voice. The Lowell their significant improvement in re- school and the district could changea deep restructuring of the way that Public Schools, under the leadership cent years. The charter, to be operated that. “Results speak, and we’ve got ateaching and learning take place,withthe emphasis at the school shifting of Superintendent Jean Franco and her predecessor, Chris Scott, have demonstrated a deep commitment by SABIS Educational Systems, Inc., a private, for-profit company with headquarters in Minnesota and Bei- model in Lowell that really works.” ▪away from individual classrooms—notto mention the test scores of individ- to labor/management collaboration. rut, Lebanon, remains controversialual teachers—and towards a shared “The success we’re seeing in Lowell in Lowell and was approved by theGive Us a Real Chance ‘All of Our Oliver’ Teachers at the Henry K. End childhood hunger in America by 2015. Continued from cover Despite the huge challenges they Take the pledge at face, the Oliver’s teaching staff is Oliver School in Lawrence say determined to try to turn around that they can once again be the Despite the huge challenges the school. Many of them taught at city’s top-performing school— Learn to recognize the signs. they face, the Oliver’s the school when it was one of the if they are given real support A child facing hunger may: teaching staff is determined top-performing schools in the city by the district and the condi- • often feel sick or tired • sleep in class to try to turn around the and believe they know exactly what’s tions, staffing, and resources to • have problems with math and school. Many of them taught required to earn that status again. respond to the needs of their language skills On the list: a facility that works for • be more aggressive at the school when it was students. • feel anxious and have difficulty students and teachers, consistent concentrating one of the top-performing leadership and expectations, a • have slower memory recall schools in the city and believe collaborative process for instructional Students and teachers need: • underperform and have poor grades they know exactly what’s decision making tailored to individual • frequently miss school or arrive student needs, adequate staffing and • A safe and adequate facility required to earn that status late resources, and additional supports again. and interventions for students with • Adequate staffing the greatest needs, particularlyNow we’re in a building that isn’t English language learners and • Support for students withappropriate for kids and actually special education students. The the greatest needs, es-makes it harder for us to help our Oliver’s increasingly active and pecially English languagestudents.” involved parents will be essential for a successful turnaround effort, say learners and special educa- A lack of direction from the district teachers. tion students Laureonly compounds the challenges faced nby the Oliver, say teachers here. For State and district officials have not Longexample, the Lawrence Public Schools yet made public their plans for the • Adequate resources, includ-currently provides individualized Oliver, but rumors abound that the ing books, instructionalinstruction for English language school may be handed over to a private materials, and technologylearners only if students are classified operator, the long-time teachers Find out what you can doas newcomers. For returning students replaced by less experienced recruits. to help at • Consistent leadership andwho still can’t read English at grade But the Oliver’s teachers fundamentally expectationslevel, however, there is no additional disagree with this approach. “It’s likeassistance available. One staff member the people in charge are saying ‘we don’t know how to fix this,’” observed • Collaborative process fordescribes a student who arrived atthe school able to read Spanish but by one teacher. “By handing the school decision makingthird grade was still struggling to read to an EMO [educational managementEnglish. “There’s nothing for him, but organization], they’re basically relinquishing any responsibility for the ▪he’s still going to be expected to takethe MCAS test.” school and its problems.” 3December 2012
  4. 4. Diary S tanding on the precipice of an CAREER unknown future, I nonetheless CHANGE took the plunge. I had been New teacher teaching as an adjunct professor at Bradford Green a local university, a place where I of a New Teacher had worked in various capacities for traded college five years. Yet I made the decision students at a to start over and become a middle local univer- school teacher. And so I taught my sity for middle By Bradford Green school students last class at Salem State on Decem- English Language Arts teacher in Lynn. His ber 12th, and began my new assign- Pickering Middle School first year as an ment at Pickering Middle School in Lynn MA English teach- Lynn the very next day. I entered the building with not a little trepi- er wasn’t all dation: teaching college students is wonderful and Meet the 2012-2013 easy—relatively speaking, anyway. simple, writes I had left a group of students that Green, but New Teacher Diarists listened fairly intently to what I had mostly it was. to say, trading them in for a groupBradford Green of students that needed me more,English Language Arts teacher, Pickering but were—perhaps— less diligent. concepts that were beyond their ing one learns in. Anyway, as I satMiddle School, Lynn Wednesday, my first day, I was reach. In other words, I assumed. there and listened to them I began told that entering in the middle of Sixth graders do not understand to well up with emotion. Tracing itsChaya Harris the year would be “difficult.” Still, words like “egalitarian” ; they are source, I realized that I was feel-Fifth grade teacher, Mather School, Boston even though I was 49 year old man not savvy about comma-splices just ing the gratitude of the moment. It beginning a brand new career, I yet. I needed to learn my audience! had been so many years since I hadHimilcon Inciarte was determined to play by the same My third day brought a real gift. . . heard the sound of a chorus: pure,Fourth grade Spanish teacher, Dever-Mc- rules that my students had to obey. It was Friday, December 15th. unadulterated, warm. Soon thereaf-Cormack, Elementary, Boston I did not use my cellphone because It was 2:30 and – as I was to dis- ter I realized the truth of my pas- the students could not use theirs; I cover later – the one day where the sion: I was tearing up over my own,Karina Dise did not drink any beverages because building clears out relatively early. lost childhood. I knew, right then,Paraprofessional, Zanetti Montessori the students could not. I made a So when I left at 3:15 the halls were that I had made the right choice toSchool, Springfield point of not yelling at students pretty empty. I was glad it was change careers. Yet that first year because I, myself, do not care to be Friday and that I had the whole would not be easy.Bill Madden-Fuoco yelled at. I was also very conscious weekend to collect myself and plan. A few weeks later my cell-phoneHumanities teacher, Urban Science of my role as a male, working in On my way out the door I heard the went missing; then a young boy saidAcademy ,West Roxbury, the inner city where male figures as sound of little voices so I followed some pretty alarming things to me role models are often wanting. I had the sound to its source, the audito- in the cafeteria when I told him toEliana Martinez learned at this age to be a part of rium. The children from the middle wait for his table to be called beforeSocial studies teacher, Lawrence High collective humanity—to be inclusive school next door were practicing for he got into line. No, it was not allSchool, Lawrence and not exclusive. Yet despite my the holiday concert. I entered the wonderful and simple. But mostly, best intentions, my first three days balcony –my first time in the place– it was. Looking back, neither theAmanda Perez were filled with missteps. and looked around: the place could rough language I was treated toMiddle school teacher, Sarah Greenwood I discovered that my vocabu- have used some paint. by that student nor the loss of mySchool, Dorchester. lary did not work well with 6th I reminded myself of something phone matters to me. It is the sound graders. (Thank goodness for my I always said to college students, of that chorus, echoing in my mindRobert Tobio inclusion teacher, Claire Pappas!) especially those that loved their even as I write this journal, that technology: William Shakespeare matters most. Tiny voices, sweetly ▪Math and special education teacher, Mary It took me an exorbitant amountLyon Pilot School, Brighton. of time to think of what to do next, read by candle light; it is the intent singing, singing songs. and thought students understood to learn that matters, not the build- 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 | 888.LESLEY.U
  5. 5. Convent-ional Wisdom On November 8, Sister Ann was celebratedParaclete Foundation Founder Sister Ann Fox honored by her students and colleagues atH oused at the crossroads of the Ann demonstrates her famous Paraclete’s annual “new” and “old” South Boston, generosity and humility by giving the reception that was the Paraclete Foundation has credit to others. held this year atbeen serving disadvantaged youth “The founders should be listed as Boston College Highfor nearly 15 years, offering after- a group of concerned mothers who School. Co-chaired byschool tutoring and enrichment wanted something more than sports Collaborative Partnersprograms. The program has served for their children,” she explains, President and CEOhundreds of students from Boston noting that many neighborhood Jack C. Hobbs andand far beyond (students come from parents were looking specifically for a Thomas J. Gunning,multiple communities and over program that provided not only social Executive Director10 foreign countries), providing support but also academic assistance of the Buildingthem supervision, support and in the arts and sciences so their Trades Employersinspiration that helps them become children could achieve and improve Association, the event featured Lifelong activist Sister Ann Foxindependent and better prepared their lives through learning. “They Honorary Co-Chairs Diane Patrick received the Hero Among Us awardfort school and life and encourages were the driving force. The Paraclete and Angela Menino (wives of our from the Boston Celtics in November.them to make positive impacts on was not a result of any strategic plan Governor and Boston’s Mayor, still humble and eager to dissipatetheir communities. Over 23% of on my part.” respectively) and included EVENT the attention to others. “I think noParaclete’s students have graduated Sister Ann also credits her and a special recognition of Mrs. one can be a hero on their own,”from or are currently attending colleague Barry Hynes (who now Menino, who has also been a devoted she suggested, “and that there arecollege. serves as vice president of the board supporter of Boston-area youth for many heroes among us that we don’t The program was founded in 1998 of trustees) with helping get Paraclete many years. take the time or care to properlyby Sister Ann Fox, a lifelong activist off the ground. In addition to being honored by appreciate.” Still, she admitted, “I amand advocate who also founded the “Barry…had begun the Nativity her own Paraclete family, Sister Ann honored that people took the time toMaranyundo School for Girls in School in Boston,” she explains, was also recognized by the Boston put my name forward.”Rwanda, Africa. Prior to founding “so we incorporated their model of Celtics as part of their Heroes Among Among the many who backedParaclete, Sister Ann directed the bringing in recent college graduates Us program on November 7. Sister Ann’s candidacy for thisSouth Boston Neighborhood House to teach - we gave them room and “Sister Ann has demonstrated special halftime honor was Paracleteand helped create an education board and a little spending money.” what it means to be a true hero Board Member Gerry Dwyer, Chieftraining programs for welfare She also mentions Fr. Thomas of the Boston community,” said Administrative Officer of Bostonmothers in the Bromley Heath MacDonald, pastor of St. Augustine Matt Meyersohn, community Water & Sewer.housing development. A long-time Church, who donated the funds relations manager for the Celtics. “Sister Ann is rightly recognizedsocial worker, Sister Ann is also a with which Paraclete opened in a “She has successfully carried out for the decades of work she hasfounding member of the Women former convent on E Street. “They her life’s mission of helping and dedicated to improving the lives ofWaging Peace initiativeand is were instrumental in the Paraclete’s educating those in need. The Celtics children and families in Boston andincluded in the Institute for Inclusive history,” Sister Ann says. organization can’t think of a better fit throughout the world,” Dwyer said.Security’s Directory of Women Peace Despite her own efforts to defer for the Heroes Among Us Award than “Those of us lucky enough to countExperts. the credit, Sister Ann has been [Sister] Ann.” her as our friend are most fortunate When asked how she came upwith the idea for Paraclete, Sister a beloved and vital part of the Paraclete family since its inception. Even when asked about this honor, however, Sister Ann was to have been touched by her.” ▪ Retiree Benefits Under Threat help retirees with large unexpected healthcare expenses uncovered by the new insurance, she noted. She and her retiree friends agreeBy Patty Fitzgerald their careers.” without a raise. “something has to be done” to curbT Dumont, an AFT Massachusetts If teachers cannot receive health skyrocketing costs for healthcare eachers, librarians and other Vice President, says that she also fears insurance along with a pension, they benefits. “You can’t dig your heels in public employees who have been for retirees who thought that their may be forced to “think twice” and put … I don’t know the answer.” She can’t eyeing retirement in the next few futures were secure, only to have the off retirement, said Dumont. help but feel though, that it’s just oneyears may be taken by surprise when state revisit what they believed to be a Charged with bringing under more piece to an ongoing multi-facet-a state commission recommends in guaranteed benefit. “Who’s to say that control skyrocketing state and munici- ed broadside against public employeelate December that they work longer somewhere down the road we won’t pal projected costs for retiree health unions, and teachers in particular,or pay more for retiree healthcare be fighting again to retain something benefits ($16 billion over 30 years for nationwide.benefits, or both. else that we worked for?” the state and $30 billion for cities and While union members still enjoy “We’re comfortable that current What seems clear is that public towns), the commission of manage- a “good amount” of protections, theirretirees will not be impacted,” said employees will likely have to put in ment and labor representatives has hard-won benefits are “very slowlyAndy Powell, the American Federa- more years and/or work to an older been meeting since the spring and will being chipped away,” said Dumont.tion of Teachers’ representative on the age to be eligible for healthcare ben- present its recommendations to the Private employees should be looking12-member Special Commission on efits. And, no longer will healthcare Legislature Dec. 20. The recommen- to boost their own benefits, and raiseRetiree Healthcare, following a Nov. insurance automatically come with dations will provide the framework for everyone up, rather than knock down13 meeting. “But we’re encouraging retirement, said Powell. Eligibility for a bill or put in some form into the next those of public employees, in heremployees to keep an eye on it.” retirement may come before health- state budget. Whether the reforms will view. But how close to retirement em- care benefits do, and contributions cover all public employees in the state Massachusetts has some of theployees will have to be to be protected toward health benefits by the state or leave some control to municipali- highest healthcare costs in the coun-from the changes—five years out, 10 and municipalities most likely will ties is also undetermined, according try. “This has placed increased pres-years out—is still unclear, said Pow- drop.Those features are all contained to Powell. sure on elected officials to examineell, an AFT field representative and in three models the commission is Dumont, a vice president at AFT, current benefits” said Powell. Laborformer Dracut firefighter. “Debate now considering. said that Lowell’s public employees and Retirees are represented on therages as to who will be the impacted “It’s going to be intolerable for are still reeling, adjusting to higher Commission and “are presenting apopulation.” some people,” said Dumont, 63, of the insurance co-pays incurred from strong voice of advocacy for those What’s likely to occur, Powell impending cuts. “What about people switching to the state’s Group Insur- who count on health insurance ben-reported, after the commission’s sixth who are within 10 years of retirement? ance Commission (GIC) coverage the efits into retirement” added Powell.meeting, is that “access will be differ- What’s it going to do to them for all past couple of years. A vote to select a plan will be takenent for [employees] than it is today.” the time they’ve put in?” “There are so many retirees. We’re Dec. 17, and a report will be heading “People should be paying atten- “You don’t get rich teaching,” living longer than we ever have, and to the Statehouse Dec. 20. “We’retion!” said retired Lowell teacher Dumont said, adding she and her really the number of older retirees hoping the final vote can be a consen-Mickey Dumont, whose daughter, colleagues sacrificed much. She is who have pensions is miniscule.” she sus,” said Powell. “But the processJennifer Machado has been a teacherin the Lowell Public Schools for nearly15 years. “Younger people need to convinced that she could have found a better-paying job in the private sector, but instead devoted 35 years to public said. “They’re at the poverty level, and then we have them paying more for health insurance.” Lowell did create has not been discussed.” ▪know what to expect at the end of school teaching, many of those years a health reimbursement account to 5December 2012
  6. 6. On Campus Dan Georgianna, Political Director UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895Future of Campus Affirmative Action UnclearI n a weird twist of fate driven by Civil Rights Act intended admission SPLIT DECISION Supreme Court decisions, opposi- quotas in public colleges and univer- Thanks to recent tion to Affirmative Action in college sities for minorities such as African Supreme Courtadmissions is now based on unfairness Americans. decisions, opposi-towards white applicants while legal The legal tide turned against col- tion to Affirmativesupport for Affirmative Action relies lege admission Affirmative Action in Action in collegesolely on diversity in education. 1978 when the U.S. Supreme Court admissions is nowLast month, the Supreme Court heard ruled (five to four) in the Bakke case based on unfairnessanother in a series of cases of a white that admissions quotas violated the towards white ap-student claiming that Affirmative Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause plicants while legalAction violated the U.S. Constitution (originally passed in 1868 to protect support for Affir-because there is little evidence that Af- the rights of former slaves), but race mative Action reliesfirmative Action improves education. could be one of the factors for admis- solely on diversityThe Supreme Court justices sharply sions given the goal of improving in education.questioned the fairness of Affirmative education through diversity in theAction based on race. Their decision is student body.expected next June. In 2003, the Court reaffirmed As many web sites opposing Af- enrollment at elite public and private Affirmative Action was originally (again five to four) that race could be firmative Action highlight, Martin schools, it has not had much effectintended to offset unfairness of the used as one of the factors in admis- Luther King’s dream that his “four on equal opportunity because collegevastly unequal opportunities in the sions based on the educational ben- little children will one day live in a graduation replicates inequality in theU.S. for minorities and preferences efits of diversity of the student body, nation where they will not be judged nation.given whites in college admissions and but that affirmative action have a by the color of their skin but by the A few thousand Black and Hispanicjobs. “logical endpoint” of about 25 years. content of their character” expressed students attending elite colleges due Affirmative Action was first or- Since then, seven states, including the American ideology of equal oppor- to Affirmative Action, about 1% ofdered by President Kennedy in 1961 Michigan whose admissions policy the tunity for all. all U.S. college students, won’t makewith an Executive Order for govern- Supreme Court had approved in 2003, Dr. King was acutely aware that he much of a difference. According toment contractors to recruit, hire, and banned Affirmative Action in college lived in the real world ruled by racial their research, “When they enterpromote more minorities, which was admissions. oppression, but recent scholarship has kindergarten, black children are aboutextended in the 1964 Civil Rights Act The body politic stands supremely uncovered his misgivings that special one year behind white children. Whento college admissions. In 1973, the ambivalent about college admission consideration for Black Americans they graduate from high school, blackU.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the based on race. would weaken support for equal op- teenagers are four years behind white portunity. “Many white workers whose teenagers.” economic condition is not too far Espenshade and Radford argue removed from the economic condition for a direct approach to correcting of his black brother will find it difficult unequal opportunity in pre-school to accept,” he wrote in a private letter. through high school including factors SCHOOL OF EDUCATION, PUBLIC POLICY, AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT (David Leonhardt, “Rethinking Affir- such as nutrition and help for poor mative Action,” NYT) parents to overcome the disadvan- Leonhardt argues that includ- tages of poverty and race in college Master of Arts in Teaching ing class in Affirmative Action would widen its base of support and improve admissions. The AFT has been working for de- its record on equal opportunity. cades to change an educational system Research by Thomas Espenshade that replicates a social structure of Flexible schedule - Financial aid available and Alexandria Radford (“Moving privilege, while blaming children, par- 20% discount for teachers* Beyond Affirmative Action,” NYT and ents, and teachers for failure. It helps No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, to have allies and more research. Princeton Univ. Press) supports the Such changes will also take time, at Licensure areas hypothesis that Affirmative Action as least a generation, probably more. In include: practiced in the U.S. has not had much the meantime, the best strategy is to effect reducing equality of opportu- return on the original goal of reduc- • General Science nity. ing unequal opportunity by including • Biology While Affirmative Action has class as well as race in Affirmative Ac- • Chemistry about doubled Black and Hispanic tion for college admissions. ▪ • Physics Visit India Over Winter Break • Mathematics Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) has teamed up with • English AFT Massachusetts member Lillie Marshall at to put to- gether an amazing trip to India for only $987! For more details go to http://www. • History GEEO is a 501c3 non-profit organization that runs summer professional • Spanish development travel programs designed for teachers. Educators have the option • French to earn graduate school credit and professional development credit while seeing the world. The trips are 8 to 24 days in length and are designed to be interesting • Portuguese and affordable for teachers. GEEO provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators and administrators, * Current teachers maybe eligible for 20% discount. Call 508.910.9050 for more information. as well as retired educators. Educators are also permitted to bring along a non- educator guest. Apply Today for Spring 2013 GEEO is also offering 22 different travel programs for the summer of 2013, including India/Nepal, Italy, Portugal/Spain, Amalfi Coast, Eastern Europe, Budapest For more information, call 508.910.9050 or to Istanbul, Vietnam and Russia/Mongolia/China. For a complete list of destination visit and detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, visit 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  7. 7. Retiree Corner Marie Ardito, Co-founder SENIOR SEMINARS Massachusetts Retirees United Preparing for Retirement (Given by Marie Ardito) • December 1st, Wilmington, 314We Can’t Keep Our Heads in the Sand • Main St. Unit 105, 10-noon December 4th :Amesbury HighT School, 5 Highland St. 3:30-5:00 here is little doubt that Medicare Another bill will deal with the providing a pharmaceutical plan, you • December 6th: Hingham South and Social Security will be Medicare B penalty imposed on those can go on Medicare D with no penalty Shore Educational Collaborative discussed in the upcoming who become eligible for Medicare after as long as you produce the letter that Cafeteria, 40 Pond Park, 5:00-6:30session of Congress. Massachusetts their 65th birthday. (A person in charge contains the words creditable plan. • December 12, Rockport Elemen-Retirees United will have legislation of health care in one of the other 104 The purpose of the penalties in tary School Library, Rockport,filed to correct some of the unfair Retirement Systems in Massachusetts both Medicare B and Medicare D 3:15-5:15practices regarding both programs. told me to encourage everyone to sign is to discourage people from being • January 3, Billerica Memorial High We will also join with many other up for Medicare three months prior to underinsured. But those retiring from School, Boston Rd, Billerica, 4-6:00retirement groups to urge the repeal their 65th birthday even if they are not a public sector job are adequately How to Protect Your Nest Egg andof the Government Pension Offset eligible. When the authority tells you insured. We feel this is an important Plan for the Right Outcome for Your(GPO) and the Windfall Elimination that you are not eligible tell them that issue to address as more and more Family (Given by Elder Law Attor-Provision (WEP). We are approaching you want them to state on the computer communities are adopting Section 18 of ney Mary Howie)two Senators to file the Senate version, files that you applied for Medicare and 32b of the General Laws, which statesand are working with our retiree were denied.) According to this person, that those eligible for Medicare must • Saturday Dec. 8, 314 Main Streetcounterparts in California on the House if you become eligible at a later date go on Medicare. This is a tremendous Unit 105 Wilmington, MA 01887.version. We plan to file other bills at because you accumulated forty units savings to the communities. (Main Street in Wilmington is thethe federal level as well. in Social Security, you will be excluded We feel that the above-mentioned same as Route 38. ) 10-noon. One bill will address the double from the penalty. bills should not only have the supportpenalty imposed on those who are We feel that language should be of retired people but those still in the All Seminars are free to participantseligible for Medicare as a spousal put in place at the federal level similar work force. In most instances you will and to the district. Register by emailbenefit, but do not collect Social to the language for Medicare D for be the beneficiaries of this legislation or call 1-617-482-1568 Make sure to give name,Security. In two of the past three years pharmaceuticals. Medicare D does not longer than those who are already number attending and seminar for whichthere was no cost of living increase impose a penalty on you if you take retired. registering. This registers you and no fol-given to Social Security recipients. As it after your 65th birthday providing We cannot keep our heads in the low up phone call will occur unless youa result anyone who collected Social you are on a creditable plan at age 65. sand. The words “I didn’t know” cannot have a question. If you received an emailSecurity did not have an increase to his Creditable is the term that indicates be part of our vocabularies. That is telling you a different way to register fol-or her Medicare B premiums. Those that a plan is as good as, or better the primary function of MRU: to low the instructions you received. Pleasenot collecting Social Security because than Medicare D. Everyone should work for you as well as to provide you do not double register.the GPO prevented them from doing so get a letter from his or her provider with the information you need to feelwere given an increase in each of thetwo years on the Medicare B premiums. (insurance company), which contains the words creditable plan. Then if your comfortable speaking out. ▪This is a double penalty. community decides in the future to stopThe Golden and some of my best friends. Mrs. Famador was one of the few teachers we felt comfortable telling about Apple our immigration status, and she was encouraging about the opportunities that lay ahead regardless of our status. Mrs. Famador was an immigrant too. The next spring, I was still struggling through Algebra class,Ada Fuentes but Mrs. Famador always offered toPublic Education Organizer, stay after school with folks to helpMassachusetts Jobs with us with homework. During this time,Justice talk of comprehensive immigration reform was all over the news, and a big protest for immigrant students andI n the fall of 2005 I moved to East Boston and was enrolled in theBoston Public Schools. My first day, our communities was being planned for May 1st. Some of the more militant students in Algebra class decided toI was like any student attending a wear all white that day to show theirbrand new school, trying to find my solidarity with immigrants all over theclassroom and go unnoticed. My first country. The day finally came aroundclass that day was English, and the and the hallways of East Boston Highroom was packed with 40 students, a were filled with students in whitenumber that would never drop lower shirts. After lunch, a mass of students Ada Fuentes credits Mrs. Famador, her math teacher at East Boston Highthan 30. My second class was Algebra began to walk out in solidarity with School, for teaching her life lessons even more important than algebra.2, the dreaded math class of all time. I schools in California. Other studentssat down and tried to play that I wasn’t folks watched from the windows of were closed to me. I failed Algebra that I still visit East Boston High Schoolthe “new girl” but the punk rock glam the school and it felt like we were all year and had to take it again my senior every now and then, and it is alwaysclothes and Princess Amidala hair connected. That same afternoon my school but I honestly looked forward a beautiful sight to see pictures ofgave me away. I noticed my teacher family participated in a march—their to another class with Mrs. Famador. my friends and I taped to the glassimmediately. Mrs. Famador, a Filipina very first— to downtown Boston, She always spoke about the importance shutters behind Mrs. Famador’smujer, was one of the few teachers of demanding immigration reform. of education and pursuing higher desk. Those pictures are more thancolor at East Boston High. Mrs. Famador always encouraged education. Although math would never five years old now, but every time I In October of that year I found us to pay attention in school and to be my strongest subject it was the life walk into her classroom it feels like Iout that I had lost my asylum status. stay out of trouble. I looked forward to lessons I learned in Mrs. Famador’s am a new student. It seems like justI wasn’t sure yet what it meant not Algebra class because I felt that it was class that mattered most. It was yesterday that I found out that I washave citizenship, or how my higher a safe space for immigrant students. awesome to find a teacher who truly undocumented, learned that I was noteducation options were now limited. More importantly, the class and Mrs. tried to help her students succeed and alone, and that math class was a placeIn Algebra Class, though, I foundan undocumented community Famador helped me to make sense of the world when I felt that all doors encouraged us to push ourselves even though our futures were uncertain. of community and organizing. ▪December 2012 7