Very busy week last week....we have lots to report on.
Scott Walker Wins; Two Cities in California Follow Lead
The big national story was of course, the failed recall effort in Wisconsin. At least as important in practical terms, however, was the collateral damage the same day in votes in California as residents of San Jose and San Diego, two of the ten largest cities in the country, voted overwhelmingly to take away benefits of current public employees.
"Landslide victories on ballot measures to cut pension costs in two major California cities emboldened reform advocates, who said they expect a flurry of copycat initiatives and increased support for Gov. Jerry Brown's long-stalled push to curb the state's obligations to its employees.
Wisconsin Can Happen in MassachusettsCloser to home, the MTA and STAND for children agreed to lobby the MA legislature for a watered-down version of STAND's petition in exchange for STAND's withdrawal of the more far-reaching referendum that is to be on the ballot in November. This deal is contingent on the legislature's adopting of the deal prior to its ending this year's legislative session on July 3. See MTA President Paul Toner's statement here. Here is the AFT-MA's statement on the brokered deal; AFT-MA is our parent organization.
From a Boston Globe editorial on June 7
"The clear victory for Republican Governor Scott Walker in the historically progressive state of Wisconsin sends a message that public-sector unions can't -- and shouldn't -- ignore. In times of economic distress, when taxpayers are forced to make adjustments in their own spending, they expect public-sector workers to share in the sacrifice..."
MTA and STAND Reach Agreement to Lobby Legislature
BTU-BPS Mediation Starts and ContinuesWe also concluded our first official mediation session last week and have two more days scheduled next week.
BTU Membership Meeting This WednesdayThis Wednesday at 4 PM will be our last membership meeting of the year. On the floor will be a variety of proposed by-law amendments that could change the way membership votes are conducted. A copy of the proposals have been mailed to each school; your BTU rep. has a copy. Please bring your membership card and one other form of picture ID to the meeting, which begins at 4. Thank you.
BTU End-of-Year Party!
Friday, June 15, 3:30 onward
BTU Membership Awards $72,000 in Scholarships to BPS Students and Members' Dependents
This past Saturday the BTU distributed scholarships to BPS graduating seniors as well as dependents of our members. In addition, the RTC chapter has generously donated funds for scholarships. In total, our membership gave out $72,000. Two graduating seniors from each of our city high schools received the award.
We thank our generous membership for continuing to support this activity, now in its 42nd year. For all 72 recipients, the BTU, through its press staff, will send an announcement to the individual's home town or local newspaper. We congratulate all of the awardees and their families, and we thank all BTU building representatives who participated in this process. Special thanks go to Denise Henderson, Marcia Fitzpatrick and Judy Kelleher who serve on the BTU scholarship committee.
Mediation, Getting to 'Yes,' and Working Together
For Mediation to Work, All Stakeholders Must be Present
Last week we began the mediation process, and all major stakeholders were there except for the superintendent. Even the Boston School Committee sent one of its members. It does strike some observers as curious that while on the one hand the superintendent has broadcast that she wants to get to 'yes' very quickly, she has refused to attend any of the 300-hour long negotiations' process, except for a brief moment here or there at the very end of March/early April. Why mention this?
The superintendent has told anyone and everyone that she would like to get this process completed by September 1. We do too. The simple solution is then to get everyone at the table--and that means everyone.
Working Together w/o Using the Media as a Bludgeon
On working together....One issue the mediator mentioned last week is what restrictions both sides ought to follow in speaking (or not speaking) to the media. He stated that while he had no authority to issue a gag order, he asked only that before talking to the media, both parties merely ask themselves, "Will it help or hurt the process if I talk to the media?" We intend to honor that suggestion, and we will not be the first to break the confidentially of the process. We further feel that neither party ought to use the media to try to bludgeon the other side. We have kept to that doctrine as best we can.
So the superintendent puts out a weekly bulletin as does the BTU. The BTU has tried over the last few months to take the high road and not use the media to beat up on the school district or the superintendent. We have avoided, for example, linking to--or even mentioning--two recent Globe articles that have been critical of the superintendent. One article reported on the school committee's grading of her performance and another followed up on the first piece. We did not mention either piece, as we did not want to pile on.
On the other hand, when the shoe was on the other foot--such as when the president of the BTU was the subject of a critical column in the Globe--the superintendent's bulletin highlighted it. So this gets us to yesterday and the superintendent's most recent bulletin, wherein she highlighted four separate newspaper reports she and her staff felt might pressure on the BTU. Here are the pieces the superintendent mentioned:
Each of the pieces the superintendent mentions is accompanied in her bulletin, BPS this Week, by a key paragraph or two designed to add to the pressure. We get it. But we're not troubled by the articles or the excerpts. They are what they are, and we can live with them. We just think the superintendent ought not to be so selective in what is dispenses through her house email to staff.
Superintendent Very Selective in Highlighting Articles to Staff: Union is Fair Game; School District is Off Limits
What's fair is fair, and if the superintendent is going to push articles she feels are critical of the BTU, then in fairness, our members ought to get a look at articles that are critical of the superintendent's performance. So here are the two pieces we haven't linked to before, but we feel in the interest of fairness, we feel ought to be part of the discussion.
From the Globe on May 25:
"The Boston School Committee gave Superintendent Carol R. Johnson low marks in many areas on her most recent evaluation, revealing rare discontent among some members over her leadership less than a year after her contract was renewed with much fanfare.The evaluation, conducted Jan. 31 at a School Committee retreat and obtained by the Globe this week under a public records request, highlighted Johnson's difficulties in addressing several highly charged issues.
"Chief among the concerns: her slowness in fixing chronically late buses, causing a frustrated Mayor Thomas M. Menino to directly intervene; and her ill-fated proposal to relocate Boston Latin Academy last summer and a subsequent replacement plan that expands and changes the location of several popular schools, which has generated mixed reactions among parents and students..."Read More.
Follow-up in the Globe on May 26
"These are down days for Boston School Superintendent Carol Johnson and her top staffers at school headquarters on Court Street. Many of the superintendent's initiatives are met with outright skepticism on the part of parents and the public. And she received an unimpressive grade - the equivalent of a C - on her latest job performance evaluation from the School Committee.
"The operations function of the school department has grown progressively weaker during Johnson's five-year watch. She understands urban education and knows what needs to be done to improve the schools. But she and her team stumble during the implementation stage..."Read More.
We'd rather not get into a back and forth with the superintendent in this manner, and we have asked the school department to work with us in trying to finish the mediation process without exciting any more bad feelings. That said, it takes two sides to cooperate and to date, cooperation on their end has been lacking.
Teachers in Turnaround Schools
The timelines for a teacher in a Turnaround School who receives an intent to dismiss notice are much shorter than those in a non-Turnaround School. If any teacher in a Turnaround School receives such a notice he/she should contact Patrick Connolly immediately or call the BTU Office at 617-288-2000.
BTU Program Seeks Teachers Who Need Assistance and Teachers Who Can Help
BTU's Summer Evaluation Request-for-Assistance Form
Deadline: June 19
The BTU membership authorized a week-long Summer Institute to assist permanent teachers who are having evaluation issues. The goal is to focus on the specific prescriptions that are in the evaluations where the teacher has been rated overall as "Does Not Meet Standards." The Institute will be held the week of August 6-10 from 8:30 to 12:30. Download an application or apply online.
BTU's Summer Evaluation AssistantDeadline: June 19
The BTU membership authorized a week-long Summer Institute to assist permanent teachers who are having evaluation issues. The goal is to focus on the specific prescriptions that are in the evaluations where the teacher has been rated as "Does Not Meet Standards." The Institute will be held the week of August 6 -10, 2012 from 8:30 - 12:30.You can download an application or apply online.
BTU School Seeking a 7/8 ELA Teacher
|The Boston Teachers Union School has a new open posting for a Grade 7/8 ELA teacher. Excellent teachers who seek a leadership role in developing our school are encouraged to apply right away. Please see the job description here.|
Union Membership Decline Leads to Economic Decline for All
From the nonpartisan think tank Economic Policy Institute:
"One hallmark of the first 30 years after World War II was the 'countervailing power' of labor unions (not just at the bargaining table but in local, state, and national politics) and their ability to raise wages and working standards for members and non-members alike. There were stark limits to union power -- which was concentrated in some sectors of the economy and in some regions of the country -- but the basic logic of the postwar accord was clear: Into the early 1970s, both median compensation and labor productivity roughly doubled. Labor unions both sustained prosperity, and ensured that it was shared..."
Continue reading the EPI blog post, "Union decline and rising inequality in two charts."
Celebrating 5 years of Science Socials at the June Social! Announcing: 50th Science Social!
Please join us to celebrate 5 wonderful years and 50 wonderful Science Socials! There will be raffle prizes and appetizers (generously provided by the UMass COSMIC Office).
Friday, June 15 from 3-7 PM
Ashmont Grill (back patio) at 555 Talbot Avenue in Dorchester
Host schools: TechBoston Academy and Dorchester Academy
Driving, public transit, and parking directions
NEW: BTU End-of-Year Party on June 15, 3:30 onward.....
Sheltering Severance Pay Workshop ScheduledThere will be a meeting today, June 12, at 4 PM for those interested in sheltering their severance pay. We have this meeting every year, and a letter has gone out (PDF) to each person who has taken the Early Retirement Incentive inviting him or her to the meeting. All, however, are welcome to attend.
Connecting Health and Academics: A Health Fair for the Community on June 16
On Saturday, June 16, Boston school nurses, in collaboration with BTU and the Boston Haiti Health Support Team, will be at the Mildred Avenue School in Mattapan to connect health and academics for parents from 10-2. The event is called "Nurses in Your Corner." See a flier here.
See all upcoming events on the BTU website.
NEW: Lesley Bornstein, My Le, Rachel Tate -- Mather SchoolThursday, June 14 from 6-10 pm
Common Market at 97 Willard Street in Quincy
$45.00 (cash bar)
Please contact Karen King (email@example.com) to confirm
checks to Mather School: 1 Parish St. Dor, 02122 - Att: Karen King
Nancy Smith, Steve Cedorchuk, and Jim Roberge -- West Roxbury Ed Complex
West Roxbury Pub, June 14 from 2 pm
$35, checks payable to West Roxbury Academy
Naomi Heard, Mike Ritz and Tiem Vo -- South Boston High School
Thursday, June 14 at Common Market in Quincy
Email Trish Downs for more infoPascual Madrid -- Curley School
June 15 at 4:30 PM
Chris Gilman's House, 100 Meadowbrook Road in Dedham
Ticket Price: $65.00. Last day to purchase tickets is June 8. Make checks payable to Curley Cares Fund. For information contact Kim Daly or Laurie Ciardi.
Thursday, June 14, 2:30-5:30
Joe Shevory, Dr. Christiana Thorne and Joan Williams -- O'Bryant High School
Wednesday, June 20 from 6:30-10:30 PM
Maggiano's Boston at 4 Columbus Avenue in Boston
RSVP by June 14
Tickets: $65.00 (includes gifts). Please make checks payable to: O'Bryant Faculty Fund, c/o John D. O'Bryant School (Barbara Powell Nowak), 55 Malcolm X. Blvd., Roxbury, MA 02120
Claudia Chaffee, Torylee Cigna, Sharon Clark, Ann Levis and Andrea McDermott -- Horace Mann School for the Deaf
Doubletree Guest Suites Boston at 400 Soldiers Field Road
$55.00 includes appetizers and gifts, cash bar
For more information please contact Lynda Sennott
Marian Meadows -- Michael J. Perkins Elementary School
Thursday, June 14
Phillip's Old Colony House, 780 Morrissey Blvd. in Dorchester
Time: 4 to 5 PM social hour, with dinner immediately following.
Cost: $45 (covers dinner and gift). Make checks payable to Nancy O'Malley and mail to 196 Savin Hill Ave., Dorchester, MA 02125. Please RSVP by May 31. Call 617-834-9645 with questions or email here.
Delores Blake-Richardson -- David Ellis School
Friday, June 15
Lombardo's, 6 Billings Street in Randolph
Time: 7 to 8 PM social hour, with dinner immediately following
Cost: $60 (covers dinner and gift). Make checks payable to Patricia Burton and mail to 41 Simmons Avenue, Brockton, MA 02301. Please RSVP by May 30. Call 508-269-0319 with questions.
Thursday, June 7, 6 until 11 PM
Pauline Dodd -- Joseph Lee School
Change in Location: Party will be held at Phillips Old Colony House
Cost per person: $50 (includes gift, meal, and DJ). Please make checks payable to "Joseph Lee Sunshine Fund" and mail to: Joseph Lee School, Attn: Sara Smith, 155 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02124. Please RSVP by May 17. See flier here.
Kathy Giberti -- O'Donnell SchoolFriday, June 15 at 4 PM
Winthrop Arms Hotel at 130 Grovers Avenue in Winthrop
$30 includes dinner & gift. Cash or check payable to the O'Donnell School. Please RSVP by June 1 to Barbara Grato at 617-635-8454.
Claire Dewey, Arlene LaSane, & Sandra McDowell -- Henderson (O'Hearn) SchoolJune 9 at 1:30 PM
Maggiano's Little Italy, 4 Columbus Avenue in Boston
$60 per person includes appetizers, lunch, dessert and gifts for the retirees. Cash bar and discounted parking will be available.
Please make checks payable to "JoAnn Brown-Henderson Retirement" and submit to JoAnn Brown, Henderson School, 1669 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02125 no later than May 9.
Kevin Grogan, Zelda Chamoff, William Henderson, Judy Allenshaw and Brad Cohen
June 15 from 5-9 PM at Venezia
Please respond by June 1
Cost: $65 includes gift. Please make check payable to Adele Chiachio and mail to: Winship School, 54 Dighton Street, Brighton, MA 02135 or drop check off to Angie Robery at Campbell Resource Center upstairs Special Ed office.
The BTU Online
Boston Teachers Union