Good Day as we get ready for the Super Bowl.
We will be hosting community meetings in our neighborhood libraries in the first weeks of February. The purpose of these events is two-fold: to explain what our position is on the various key issues in collective bargaining, and to listen to what questions and concerns the broader community has about our schools and how we can improve them. We are looking forward to these community forums. A BTU member familiar with recent collective bargaining events will be present at each of the 24 scheduled give-and-take sessions.
We'd love to see some of our own members, too, at each of the forums. See a complete schedule here. If you happen to live near one of our neighborhood libraries, please download our flier and post it in a nearby location, like a laundromat, neighborhood store, or a community center. The fliers have, too, been mailed out to BTU Building Reps. And the BTU, with the help of the AFT National Office, is making robo calls to all registered voters in Boston who live near any of the dozens of libraries.
For more information or if you have any questions, please email here. The meetings each run from 6-7:30 and will include a showing of the newly created video, a Day in the Life of a Boston Teacher.
We believe that the contract we are trying to negotiate is good for students, affordable to the city, and fair to our members. We also believe that good working conditions for our member lead to good learning conditions for our students, and vice-versa. Put another way, what we are seeking in our contract negotiations is good for students. We hope you can attend one of the community forums..
|8 More Teachers Receive National Board Cert.|
Eight Boston teachers were recently awarded National Board Certification. We are proud to announce. That brings the total in Boston to 68! The new recipients are listed below:
|Important Information for BTU Members|
Union dues amount for 2011 for tax purposes: Teachers $1103.11 and paras and subs are $551.56
Staffing Information: Excessing
Self excessing/reassignment deadline for perm teachers in turnaround, pilot, in-district charter, & innovation schools is February 1st. See Superintendent's circular HRS-HR- 7 for the form to submit. Questions: Caren, Michael.
Women's Rights Breakfast
The BTU Women's Rights Breakfast will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2012 9:30 am- 11:30 am at Florian Hall 55 Hallet Street, Dorchester, Ma 02124; Tickets $25.00. We would like everyone to attend! For anyone who has an important woman in their life! Wonderful food, friends and family. Tickets and information, please email here.
New and Great Event sponsored by our Arts teachers: Arts Faculty Revival Dinner Party w/Guest Speaker. Event will be held on February 9; snow date 2/15. Beginning at 5:30 at the BTU Hall, Dinner will be served at 6:30. Live Jazz by Different Shades Trio Plus One. Guest Speaker James Haywood Rolling Jr., Art Chair, Syracuse University. See here for more information and a flier!
Citywide Math Competition
BTU Sets up Community Advisory Board
The BTU has set up a community advisory board to begin a dialogue around the education issues that impact students in Boston and to explore ways that our joint activity could better meet the needs of families and address related social justice issues. The meeting will be held on February 27th at 6:30 PM at the BTU office. Close to 60 invitations to community partners have been sent.
|Round I Registration in the BPS--1/3 through 2/3|
|BPS Leadership Recycles Misleading Information Again|
As you may recall, the school department and the BTU reached an agreement a few weeks ago not to use our respective electronic newsletters to spread misinformation about our negotiations. We want to settle the contract, and spreading inaccuracies only hurts that effort. We have kept to our end of the bargain. Only when provoked have we responded. Otherwise, we have kept our word. Either way, we report accurate information. We don't — and won't — publish incorrect information. We do not need to spread misinformation in order to make our case. That's not true, apparently, with the school department. Consider yesterday's BPS this Week sent out by the superintendent.
In yesterday's BPS this week the district highlighted a new, but recycled, column from the Globe that appeared this past weekend. The column in the Globe rehashed 4 proposals that the authors insist be included in our contract. These are proposals that we — presumably — oppose.
However ill-informed the authors may be, they can write whatever they want. But the district leadership knows better, and by recycling the misleading piece and highlighting it, it shows an ignorance of what is transpiring at the bargaining table as well as a failure to keep its word. It's almost as if the media arm of the school department doesn't know what its own negotiating team is doing.
Here's a small excerpt from the Globe piece the department highlighted in its introduction in BPS this Week:
"...Schools need greater control over teacher selection to better ensure a cohesive education team committed to the same school philosophy. More flexibility by schools in hiring teachers is an important factor in the success of Boston's Pilot and Innovation schools and public charter schools. However, in this school year, 370 Boston teachers were part of an administrative process that placed them in schools with little or no involvement of the principal, based only on seniority and certification, not performance." (bold added by school dept.)
The same goes for another point the piece in the Globe made on giving parents and students greater input into how schools operate. That, too, is 99% resolved, and there's no need to mention it except to excite tensions and appear to show divisions where there are none.
On the other issues — having a more effective performance evaluation and the extended school day — we are working on both, and hope to reach a suitable agreement shortly. So naturally we have to ask ourselves why the school district would highlight a misleading advocacy piece in the Globe that is designed to put pressure on the BTU. The undeniable explanation — even after an agreement to change its approach — is that the department is often working at cross purposes within its various departments. That's why the department has come under such duress from so many quarters.
The district has been sued in federal court for its failure to provide timely SPED services. The Federal DOJ is looking at the department for its failure to provide ELL instruction. The buses are still late. The mayor has promised that the district will reform the stude
nt assignment process in the next year. BLA is going to move. No — wait a minute — it is going to stay where it is. The Fifield is suddenly reopening after closing last year. And the BTU contract is still not settled. And so on.
Here's our advice to the district: Let's resolve our contract so we can work on all of the above. There's a lot of work to do.
|Stand for Children Petition Challenged; Many Groups Unite Against Potential Loss of Collective Bargaining Protections|
|As many of you know a group calling itself Stand for Children has submitted a citizen's petition that may be on the ballot this November. The petition is passed by the voters will have a drastic effect on how teacher evaluations are performed and how school staffing decisions may be enacted. Stand for Children got enough signatures to submit its petition to the attorney general for review. The AG has affirmed the legality of the petition, though the MTA is challenging it. We support the challenge. The signatures were gathered by Stand for Children by paying $2.00 per collected signature to an agency that provides this service. Stand is funded in part by Bain Capital and the Boston Foundation, and has an estimated $7 million in funds. |
The AFTMA has prepared an excellent flier with good arguments against the petition. See the AFTMA flier here. The BTU, the AFTMA and the MTA have united, along with other civic groups, against this petition. The MTA has developed an excellent Stand tool kit with which to arm us with information to counteract the petition drive. See here.
|Education in the News|
School, District Grading Controversy Heats Up
From the Shanker Institute
"Just this week, Florida announced its new district grading system. These systems have been popping up all over the nation, and given the fact that designing one is a requirement of states applying for No Child Left Behind waivers, we are sure to see more.
"I acknowledge that the designers of these schemes have the difficult job of balancing accessibility and accuracy. Moreover, the latter requirement - accuracy - cannot be directly tested, since we cannot know "true" school quality. As a result, to whatever degree it can be partially approximated using test scores, disagreements over what specific measures to include and how to include them are inevitable (see these brief analyses of Ohio and California).
"As I've discussed before, there are two general types of test-based measures that typically comprise these systems: absolute performance and growth. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Florida's attempt to balance these components is a near total failure, and it shows in the results..."
|Understanding Your Benefits|
Save the Date: On Tuesday, 3/13, at 4:00 PM, there will be a seminar at the BTU entitled, Understanding Your Benefits, with BTU president Richard Stutman. Topics will include a variety of issues, such as the following:
|It's a hot political year. The BTU will post information we receive and keep you up-to-date. Our collective voices can make a difference. If you are not a registered voter, please register. The deadline to register for the presidential primary is February 15th. Click here for information .|
The BTU has received information from the MA State Democratic Party about the 2012 Convention which will be at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts on June 2nd, 2012. Information for the 2012 Massachusetts State Convention and where to find your caucus.
Please call or email Angela Cristiani at the BTU office.
(Editor's Note: We pass the following along as an OIIT announcement without advisement or opinion one way or another. We also repeat a caution that we have mentioned before: If you use a school department computer or laptop, you should do so with a full understanding that the department has access to all you do. So be cautioned.)
Coming in February, together BPS and City Hall will launch the first part of a password synchronization process that will make it easier for you to manage and recall your password.
Benefits of Password Sync:
Starting Thursday, February 2, 2012, we will launch 'Phase 1' of this new process: if a password is changed on the HUB, it will be synced amongst systems. Use this new password to access the systems listed below
|It's Scholarship Time Again for BTU Dependents and/or Those Related to RTC Members|
BTU DEPENDENT SCHOLARSHIPS
This year there will be 17 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 awarded to high school seniors who are dependents of BTU members. To apply, please obtain an application from Jeanne Turner in the Union office or download the form from the BTU website and return with: a transcript of the dependent's last two years of academic work; 2) evidence of acceptance by an accredited college, junior college, vocational school or equivalent institution; 3) member's notarized federal tax return for the year 2011; and 4) a one-page statement of the dependent's professional goals.
The application and the four supporting documents must be received in the Union office no later than Wednesday, April 18, 2012 (change in date). The recipients of the scholarships will be notified by May 18, 2012.
RETIRED TEACHERS CHAPTER SCHOLARSHIPS
Each year the Retired Teachers Chapter of the Boston Teachers Union awards three scholarships to deserving high school seniors who are children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews of RTC members. One of these scholarships is earmarked for a student who might choose to attend a vocational school or equivalent institution.
Applications for these scholarships may be picked up at the RTC/BTU offices at 180 Mt. Vernon Street, Dorchester, MA 02125 or they can be downloaded from the BTU website. The deadline to apply is April 21, 2012.
Rollins Griffiths Scholarships Announced!
The Rollins Griffith Teacher Center proudly anniounces three scholarships for BPS graduating seniors? This is the 9th year they have offered these to BPS seniors. The applications were sent to Headmasters and Guidance Counselors in the beginning of January.
If anyone needs another copy, they may email to request one.Thanks for all your great work on behalf of teachers and paraprofessionals & best wishes for a wonderful 2012. Maureen Jelloe.
|Fundraiser for Burke Students|
A few weeks ago students from the Jeremiah Burke attended a BTU membership meeting and made a pitch to raise finds for their trip to Cape Verde. Our members gave generously and now the school has planned a fundraiser. See a flier here.
|Mass College of Art|
|The Art Education Department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design seeking names of alumni teaching in the Boston Public Schools Please email Deborah Simmerman, and give her your current school assignment. You can include any news you would like to share.|
|The BTU Online|
Boston Teachers Union