Globe: Student Assignments Convoluted and Unwieldy
BTU: Delayed September Start for Some and Late Bus Arrivals for Many Impede Teaching and Learning
The Globe on Monday had an interesting piece about the intricacies of the student assignment plan, the waiting lists, and so on:
"Angela Mayes thought she was ahead of the game. Months before moving from North Carolina, she preregistered her son online for the Boston public schools, choosing the school closest to the South End apartment where they'd be living.
"Most would never get called. Those who did might wait days or weeks for an opening. Some might not be notified of vacancies until November, forcing families to make agonizing decisions about pulling children out of classrooms they have grown used to..."
The point here is not to go over the ins and outs of the student assignment process. That's far too complicated for this space. The point is, however, to urge the Department to take immediate steps to fix what's wrong. When students arrive to a school after the start of the school year, it's disruptive, and sets back the continuity of classroom instruction. New students have to be tested, appropriately placed, acclimated, and so on. All of this takes away instructional time from the rest of the class.
What's more, the Department should take a closer look at bus schedules. Tardy bus drop offs have always been a bit problematic. But this year, from reports we have received from around the city, late bus drop offs in the AM have reached a new height--and a new sense of urgency is needed to address that. Delayed pick ups at the end of the day are, too, a problem, but not as troublesome as late drop offs. The BTU has reached out to the bus drivers union in an attempt to get a handle on this problem. Making matters worse, late drop offs lead to shortened instructional time at the the start of the day, arguably the best time for teaching and learning.
Long story short...
Globe Editorial Endorses More Physical Education/Movement
Also in yesterday's Globe was an editorial we can agree with, entitled "Classes come first, but schools must add more physical activity." The editorial essentially says keeping students active will not only help in the fight against obesity but will also help students better focus on academics. In negotiations with the BPS on Turnaround Schools, the BTU proposed that "all students in these schools shall receive not less than three physical education/movement periods per week." The BPS rejected our proposal.
We have added for this mailing a few new email addresses for BTU employees who were not in our database. If you are already receiving this E-bulletin via another email address, you can unsubscribe this address at the bottom of this page. If you want to keep receiving this E-bulletin at this address, do nothing. This email list is protected and is used only for the purpose of sending out this weekly E-bulletin.
|BTU Telephone Town Hall|
A few weeks ago, more than 2700 BTU members participated in our first-ever telephone town hall. Here's a look at who participated and how our particpants answered our poll questions.
On the issue of the current governance structure of the Boston School Committee: Do you want to keep the same elected governance structure, change it, tweak it?
How many additional hours of Professional Development does your school need to improve teaching and learning?
And lastly, the superintendent has proposed that teachers instruct their students an additional one half hour per day without any additional compensation. Do you agree or disagree with the superintendent's proposal?
|Education in the News|
Pearson Foundation Pitches Junkets for New Business
From the New York Times:
"In recent years, the Pearson Foundation has paid to send state education commissioners to meet with their international counterparts in London, Helsinki, Singapore and, just last week, Rio de Janeiro."
"The commissioners stay in expensive hotels, like the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. They spend several days meeting with educators in these places. They also meet with top executives from the commercial side of Pearson, which is one of the biggest education companies in the world, selling standardized tests, packaged curriculums and Prentice Hall textbooks."
"Pearson would not say which state commissioners have gone on the trips, but of the 10 whom I was able to identify, at least seven oversee state education departments that have substantial contracts with Pearson. For example, Illinois - whose superintendent, Christopher A. Koch, went to Helsinki in 2009 and to Rio de Janeiro - is currently paying Pearson $138 million to develop and administer its tests..."Read More.
What Makes a Good Principal?
From Michael Winerip in the New York Times:
"A good principal has been a teacher.
While Ivy Leaguers in their 20s can now become principals, Jacqui Getz, 51, the new principal of Public School 126, a high-poverty school in Chinatown, came up the old way. This is her third principal position, but before that, she was a teacher for nine years and an assistant principal for four. It's hard for principals to win over teachers if they haven't been one.
"You're the principal," Ms. Getz said, "but you have to know how a teacher feels and how a teacher thinks."
"A good principal feels at home in a cafeteria filled with 800 children eating rubbery scrambled eggs for breakfast.
At Table 510, Ms. Getz discussed "Maniac McGee" with Beckie Zheng; at Table 500, Hula-Hoops with Annika Dalland. At Table 220, Ms. Getz spotted a second grader, eyes closed, resting his head on his arms, and brought him a box of Raisin Bran with a carton of milk. "You need to eat," she whispered..."Read more.
Department of Justice Cites Mass DESE
The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted Tuesday to take steps to require special training for teachers who teach academic content to English-language learners after a U.S. Department of Justice investigation found the state had violated students' civil rights, largely by placing too many of them in classes with inadequately prepared teachers.
|BTU Building Rep. Conference|
The annual BTU Building Reps Conference is coming up on October 21-23, in Quincy. We have decided to invite and include a number of members who are NOT current building reps.
If you are interested in attending, please send a short statement of interest--the who, what, and whys — to Charles Johnson, BTU Secretary-Treasurer. We are looking to invite interested members who want to get more involved in working to help make us a more responsive, effective organization. All are welcome to apply to attend the three-day conference. We will choose a number based on available space and interest.
|TEACH Documentary to be Shown at BTU|
|The New England Premiere of TEACH, Teachers are Talking, Is the Nation Listening?, will be on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Five years in the making, TEACH, a feature length documentary, is a film that includes conversations about the art of teaching and learning by teachers themselves. We have interviewed over 40 teachers from many school districts including Boston, Brooklyn, NY, Madison, WI, Key West, FL, North Conway, NH, Cambridge, MA, Newton, MA, Lincoln-Sudbury,MA, and others. Additional parts of the movie include legislative hearings, speeches by Bradley Whitford, Diane Ravitch, and others.|
|Pension Bill Update from the AFTMA|
|The Massachusetts House of Representatives will probably take up this month the pension bill passed by the State Senate last month The bill will have a significant affect on public employees hired on or after January 1, 2012, and a very small effect on a small number of current public employees. Current retirees will lose nothing.|
Public employee unions, including AFT MA, opposed the bill because it is unfair to all future employees, particulary those who are in lower paid positions, such as paraprofessionals who are overwhelmingly female. These employees will have to work much longer to get full pension benefits.
Send an email here to your state representatove.
|CPS Fall Issues Conference at the BTU, 10/15|
Public Schools Under Attack: Organizing to Fight Back!
Join parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Bayside Expo Center in Boston to share ideas, strategize and organize to achieve our goal: quality public schools for every child.
The conference will feature:
|Opportunities for Educators|
MTEL Preparation Workshop Catalog, Fall 2011
The BPS Office of Human Resources has published the MTEL preparation workshop catalog, which lists BPS workshops well as those offered by area colleges. The catalog is posted online on MyBPSàCentral AdminàHR-Licensure and Certification section.
The next testing window of the computer-based Communications and Literacy Skills and Foundations of Reading MTELs is scheduled for October 5-19. The next date for paper-based tests (all MTELs) is scheduled for November 19. Interested teachers and other staff are urged to check the catalogue periodically for added offerings. For questions/assistance, please contact here or 617-635-9036.
Information Sessions for the Fall/Winter 2011 ESL and Moderate Disabilities Pathway Programs
Information sessions for the Pathway Programs have been scheduled and will be posted on My Learning Plan. Both programs support individuals who would like to pursue Massachusetts licensure in the fields of Moderate Disabilities and ESL. Program completers have the option of in-service or graduate credits. Interested teachers and other staff are urged to register for one of the information sessions. For questions, please contact here or 617-635-9036.
Teacher Leadership Courses: By teachers, for teachers
For more information on the Boston Teacher Leadership Certificate program, our fall course schedule and registration information, please visit. Fall courses begin in mid-October, so register now!
|Flexible Spending Plan Sign Up at BTU on 10/18|
The BTU has negotiated a flexible spending program that allows BTU members and other city employees to use pre-tax dollars for a variety of expenses--medical, dependent care, and certain transportation.
You can sign up at the BTU on 10/18 from 2:30 to 4:30. See the vendor's web page here. This is a great benefit with tremendous tax savings. More than 400 BTU members participate.
The open enrollment period is from 10/18 through 11/18. If you cannot make the meeting at the BTU, you can always call 1-781-848-9848 or 1-800-544-2340 for more information or look here at a BTU-prepared summary.
Congratulations to Tito Jackson for his win in the District 7 Preliminary Election! Tito won with 76% of the vote. The final election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 8th. Tito continues to need our help for lit drops, phone banking, and for standout. Contact Ola Awogboro, Tito's Campaign Manager - 617.230.9790 or for more information on how you can support Tito!
Felix Arroyo , at-large candidate for Boston City Council is asking for BTU members to help in his re-election bid! Take action! Volunteer to help Felix and put up a lawn sign! Felix's campaign is buzzing and any way you can help, Felix appreciates!
Boston City Council President Steve Murphy is a long-time supporter for BTU members! Please consider helping Steve! Councilor Murphy's voice on behalf of the BTU is appreciated.
Contact the BTU office at 617.288.2000 or here for more information as to how you can help any of the above candidates.
|For some reason many retirees did not get the luncheon invitation. So here goes: The fall luncheon is on November 1, and the cost is $45. Make checks out to the BTU/RTC, and the deadline is October 14. The check is returned to you when you attend.|
There will be a craft show at the RTC luncheon on November 1st. If you are interested in participating, please call Sandy Baler-Segal or at 781-843-6657.
The Boston Teachers Union School is looking for volunteers to tutor middle school students one-on-one or in small groups Monday and/or Wednesday afternoons from 3 to 4:30 PM. Contact: David Weinstein at 857-334-9855.
The BPS Parent University is looking for Helping Hands volunteers to provide support to families and staff during the three Saturday sessions for the academic year 2011-2012. As a volunteer you can engage with parents and make their experience at Parent U an exciting learning opportunity.
The first session for this year is on Saturday, October 29, from 8:30am to 3:3pm at the Northeastern University Curry Student Center, located at 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston. If you would like to join the Helping Hands team, download the Volunteer response form:, fill in with your information, and return it to Karen Wontan.
|Ray of Hope Children Services, Inc., & Illuminous Event Solutions|
Present The Third Annual Multicultural Fundraiser
Featuring Pan Xpressions, Paula Terenzi's Dance Complex, Baritone Extraordinaire: Roy L. Teague And many more surprises...
Faculty and staff of the Mario Umana Harbor School of Science and Technology are invited to join students and alumni from 1975-2000 in an All-Class Reunio —-a night of good times, dancing, and dinner at Mosley's on the Charles, 50 Bridge Street in Dedham, on Saturday, October 8, 2011, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance/$40 at the door. Visit here or call 617-334-4639 or 617-899-2429 for more information.
|Trivia Night at the BTU|
|NEW BTU EVENT! A fun night for a good cause!|
Trivia NIGHT at the BTU to Benefit Rosie's Place and Pine Street Inn.
|The Boston Teachers Union regrets to inform that Mr. Francis Furlong, retired teacher from the Perry School, passed away on September 10. His complete obituary can be read here. The BTU sends its most sincere condolences to the Furlong family, and Frank's former colleagues and friends.|
The Boston Teachers Union also regrets to inform that John DeAngelis, husband of retired BTU member, Brenda Webster, passed away Friday night, after a long battle with cancer. The wake is going to be at Devito Funeral Home in Watertown (761 Mt. Auburn Street), on Thursday, October 6, 4-8 P.M. The funeral mass will be at Sacred Heart Church in Watertown (770 Mt. Auburn Street) on Friday, October 7. Burial at St. Joseph's Cemetery, West Roxbury.The BTU sends its most sincere condolences to Brenda Webster, her family, and friends.
|The BTU Online|
Boston Teachers Union