We hope your first day school year 2011-2012 will be a good one, with many more to follow.
Today is a full, unassigned day (for all except the first half hour) that has been set aside for room set-up and preparation. Tomorrow, at the start of the day, you'll have a 30-minute meeting with your BTU Building Rep, during which he or she will give an update as to the state of contract negotiations. Long story short, we have been bargaining with limited success with the school department for a successor agreement since June 2010.
Our Collective Bargaining Agreement expired on 8/31/10, though its provisions continue in effect until we successfully negotiate a new contract. We have made some--albeit limited--progress on a few issues, though significant issues remain. We will give all members an update via a telephone town meeting that will be held on Wednesday, 9/21. (Our original bargaining submission can be found here.)
AFT President Weingarten Offers Help
AFT President Randi Weingarten has given the BTU a grant in the neighborhood of $150,000, as well as a team of six support staff, to help with a new campaign to bring about a contract settlement that is both good for students and fair to our members. We look forward to working with President Weingarten to bring our contract settlement to a satisfactory conclusion.
School Committee to Discuss Possible Move of BLA
This Wednesday night at English High Schools is this year's first meeting of the appointed Boston School Committee. Agenda items include the possible moving of BLA to the Hyde Park High School site to make way for Boston Arts Academy, which currently shares a building with the Fenway. Here's the rub: BLA doesn't want to move. Nor should it. All three schools are fine schools in need of improved and enhanced space, and the school department has placed all three school communities in a very uncomfortable position vying with each other for limited resources.
Fenway, which would expand in its current site, needs more and better space to accommodate its waiting list and its vibrant program. Ditto for BAA. Ditto for BLA. So why should BLA take the brunt of the move (see here)? The school department has created a dilemma brought about by its own poor planning. How so?
The recently-vacated Hyde Park High School cost $41 million to renovate, the vast bulk of those dollars coming from the state. So the state now has suggested that it might want its money back if the school department leaves the Hyde Park site unused. Therefore the push to find someone to go over to Hyde Park. So why didn't school department decision-makers know this BEFORE they closed the Hyde Park facility, moving one of its three small schools to the Grover Cleveland and closing the other two? Good question--and why should BLA pay for this mismanagement?
Upcoming School Committee Agenda for 2011/2012 Sure to Stir Controversy
Also on the school committee agenda...the appointed school board announced over the summer that it was drafting a code of conduct for members in the audience. Seems that upcoming agenda items throughout the year--school assignment, additional school closings, and more school relocations--may bring out heightened activity among those who long for some good old-fashioned democracy in the school committee decision-making process. Stay tuned.
Two Notes for BTU Members:
The BTU, with the help of the AFT, will be holding a first-ever telephone town meeting on Wednesday, 9/21, at 7:00. See section immediately following.
And the Boston Retirement Board is holding an election for its labor representatives. Ballots have been mailed out to all members' homes. We urge that you vote for our own Michael McLaughlin as well as the fire department's Sean Kelly. Both have been endorsed by our executive board, and both have represented us well. We urge their re-election. Ballots must be received by September 23rd.
A little bookkeeping
This e-bulletin goes out weekly to all members. If you know of someone who does not get the bulletin, please forward and he/she can sign up. The list is protected, and email addresses gathered will be used ONLY for the purpose of this e-bulletin. The e-bulletin has over 9100 subscribers. The bulletin is designed to give you up-to-date relevant information each week. It is your bulletin, and we are happy to print anything relevant and helpful to our membership. One can also sign up on our web page in the upper left hand corner in the beige box.
|BTU Telephone Town Meetings Scheduled|
Two BTU telephone town meetings have been scheduled. These are town meetings in which we call YOU on your home or cell phone. So we need your best telephone number. Please click here to RSVP for BTU's telephone town hall and to give us your best number-whether you think we have it or not.
Telephone Town Meeting #1--The BTU will call BTU Building Reps only on Tuesday, September 6, at approximately 7 PM. Building reps will receive up-to-the-minute information as to the status of negotiations for a successor contract. The town meeting is a give-and-take conversation, and BTU Reps. will be able to submit questions. Reps. will be able to disseminate current negotiations-related information at the Wednesday AM meeting with staff. By contract, the BTU gets a 30-minute time period on Wednesday at the start of the day to go over union issues. (There are also newspapers in the mail to assist with the discussion.)
Telephone Town Meeting #2--The BTU will call the entire membership on Wednesday, September 21, at approximately 7:00 PM. The phone calls are done virtually simultaneously. As above, this telephone town hall meeting will be a give-and-take discussion on the live issues of the day, specifically on the status of negotiations. All members will be able to submit questions by the push of a button. We need your best telephone number to do this properly and make sure you get to be a part of this. Please click here to RSVP for BTU's telephone town hall and to give us your best number-whether you think we have it or not.
We call you at the phone number we have listed for you. You opt in by staying on the line-at no cost to you. If you stay on the line, you will participate in a "town hall-style" discussion on matters of concern to BTU members, including an up-to-date status report on negotiations. Participants can submit questions at the push of a button, and we will answer as many as possible in the allotted time. The conversation is scheduled to last an hour or more, and people can participate by staying on for whatever duration they wish. What's more, there will be an additional interactive component of the discussion aside from submitting questions, wherein members can 'vote' on poll questions we put out on the call by pressing a phone button. We are excited about our town hall meeting and urge you to participate. Please make sure we have the best phone number at which to call you.
Please click here to RSVP for BTU's telephone town hall and to give us your best number-whether you think we have it or not.
|Education in the News|
From Joanna Weiss in the Globe: Here's a new idea--Let's teach 'reading.'
'IF you are having fun, you are not learning.''
'So says a motto above a grade-school chalkboard in "Matilda,'' one of my 7-year-old daughter's favorite movies. And it summarizes one persistent back-to-school worry, at least in certain orderly suburban towns. When school begins tomorrow in much of the state, many parents will be fretting that their kids are stuck at desks, saddled with too much homework and too little art, taught with an eye toward standardized tests - learning too much, in a sense. Or at least too joylessly.
'Meanwhile, in urban districts, there will be equal concern that kids aren't learning enough - that we haven't erased the achievement gap that led to standardized testing in the first place. There will be hyped-up charter schools, movements to purge bad teachers, searches for some magic bullet to make schools work better...'
From the New York Times: A NYT columnist thanks his teachers
'Since it's back-to-school season across the country, I wanted to celebrate a group that is often maligned: teachers. Like so many others, it was a teacher who changed the direction of my life, and to whom I'm forever indebted...'
New Ohio Study: Charters perform no better that regular schools; often worse
'The difference between the two types of schools in the probability of receiving "excellent" or better (-0.02, or two percent) is small and not statistically significant. The other two differences, on the other hand, are both large and significant. Charter schools are 13 percent less likely to receive a rating of "effective" or better, and they are 22 percent less likely to receive "continuous improvement" or better....'
|BTU Members Take Action|
Join the BTU's Fight Against Cancer
BTU needs your support to make our fourth year as a sponsor of the American Cancer Society's annual "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" Walk huge success! We know that many of you already participate in the walk in tribute to your loved ones affected by this deadly disease. On the walk this October 2, 2011, we would like you to join us under the BTU banner as we do our part as a unified group to combat breast cancer.
There are many ways to support our efforts. If you would like to be a part of the BTU sponsorship, click on the following link
Besides participating in the actual walk, you can also show your support by making a financial contribution. Our goal this year is to raise $20,000. Last year we raised $10,000 and with your support and contributions I know we can reach our new goal!
Everyday at our schools we do something to transform the world! Let's show everyone what happens when educators come together to make a difference. See you at the walk!
|Retirement Seminars Scheduled|
|RETIREMENT SEMINAR with MICHAEL W. MCLAUGHLIN, BTU ELEMENTARY FIELD REPRESENTATIVE and State-Boston Retirement Trustee along with staff from the City of Boston Retirement Board, Group Health, Health and Welfare, Social Security and the BTU Retired Teachers Chapter|
October 27, 2011 and March 27, 2012--NEW DATES
4:30 PM - BTU HALL
|BPS Educator Opportunities: National Board Caertification|
Exciting opportunity for teachers interested in National Board Certification
Have you considered obtaining National Board Certification, but worried about the time commitment and cost? If so, this year we have a unique opportunity for you. Through collaboration, the Boston Public Schools, Boston Teachers Union and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is offering the Take One option. This option is for teachers who wish to attempt just one, of the four, entries required for Board Certification.
This year, we are pleased to announce that 20 BPS teachers can complete Take One for free! If you are interested, an application form is attached. In addition, please sign up on My Learning Plan. If you have any questions, please contact Karene-Sean Hines, Lead BPS-BTU National Board Candidate here.
|AFT Creates Michelle Rhee Website|
AFT has created a
| Zip Car Discount|
BTU Membership in Zipcar Provides Some Savings
At the request of a number of BTU members, the BTU has become a sponsor of sorts with member privileges for ZipCar. There are some benefits of membership through the sponsorship, so we joined. We make no Zipcar recommendation one way or another and are doing this merely to help those members who would use Zipcar anyway. If you go here, you are can join under our sponsorship and partake in the benefit of our sponsorship.
|BTU Members Take Action: Charitable|
Brendan Donovan from Young Achievers is runing in the NYC Marathon to raise money for the Children's Hospital Boston team. He needs to raise over 3,000 to get my number with Children's as is wondering some of hios BTU colleaguies can help him out by making a dontion here.
|School Bowling League Continues|
|COME BOWL WITH US--Lots of fun! Meet new and old friends! Good exercise! Time to unwind and relax! |
Retirement Party for Patricia ArmstrongVenezia Restaurant, Friday, September 23, 6-10
Cost of $50 includes buffet, gift, music; cash bar
Send check and make payable to Ed Doherty, c/o AFT-MA, Suite 402, 38 Chauncy St., Boston, Mass. 02111
The BTU regret to inform you that Mr. Robert Kuchinsky, brother of BTU retiree Janey Frank, has passed away. He \leaves two children and their families. See Globe obituary here. We extend our most sincere condolences to Robert's family,. as well as to Janey Frank, who has work tirelessly for the BTU, as well as for the AFTMA and the AFT, in many capacities for decades.
The BTU also regrets to inform you that Ed Hogarty, husband of BTU retiree Claire Hogarty, has passed away. Ed died on August 20. The Globe obituary can be found here. Claire was a teacher at the Timilty for 15 years and later a math coach. We extend our most sincere condolences to Claire and her family..
|The BTU Online|
Boston Teachers Union