We hope you've each had a good and joyous Thanksgiving holiday.
Two negotiating sessions have been scheduled in the next few weeks. We look forward to hearing from the school district its responses to proposals we gave the district in late August. We will keep you informed.
A few weeks ago, prior to our 11/18 Talk to Teachers event, we called all members listed in our data base over a three-day period. All told, 9,656 members picked up the telephone and many thousands answered our poll questions. Here are the results of the questions we asked. Even though the poll was not scientific per se, the results day-by-day were remarkably consistent, suggesting a general consensus among our membership that district policies could be a lot more effective in trying to settle our contract and working with our members.
Day 1--7378 phone calls; Day 2--1375 phone calls; Day 3--903 phone calls: Total--9656 phone calls
1) Is the School District doing all it can to reach a new contract settlement with us?
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Yes: 11.09% Yes: 11.01% Yes: 8.76%
No: 88.91% No: 88.99% No: 91.24%
2) Do you believe the district is working collaboratively with our members?
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Yes: 7.68% Yes: 9.80% Yes: 7.25%
No: 76.26% No: 78.71% No: 79.79%
Unsure: 14.05% Unsure: 11.42% Unsure: 7.77%
(Note: Answers to question 1 add up to 100%, as one had to vote 'yes' or 'no' in order to get to question 2. Answers to question 2 do not necessarily add to 100%, as a few people didn't answer the question.)
If the above charts are unclear on your device, please click here.
What to do with your Talk to Teachers signs?
1) Save them--we'll be using them again
2) Some schools have had success asking local merchants to display our signs in their store windows. That's a great idea, and we will be glad to publicize these stores in return. So ask local merchants to display, and if you need more, we have some for you. Thank you.
|Members Taking Action: Reaching Out to Community Groups; Organizing a Citywide Math Competition for Students|
Reaching out to the Community
In accordance with a motion by the BTU membership, we are forming a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to reach out to and get involved with community organizations and stakeholders in our work--to mutually support education work and students.
We would like to convent our first meeting at the BTU on Monday, December 5th at 6:30 PM in the conference room.
On the agenda: Intros, Brainstorm--organizations to invite and contacts, create/plan an agenda for the first meeting with community stakeholders/representative present.
If you can't make it, but know of orgs/individuals that we should invite to our first CAB meeting, please email here. Also, if you know of other BTU members who would like to get involved, please let them know of our meeting as well. Thanks so much.
Planning Meeting for Citywide Student Math Competition
The BTU is hosting a meeting of the city's math teachers who are interested in setting up a citywide math competition for our students. We'd like to provide a competition for our students to compete in mathematics with each other at all grade levels so that we can show that math is cool.The first meeting of our group was held last month. We'd like to meet one more time to gather ideas and begin serious planning for this event.
The meeting will be held on Tuesday, 12/13, at 4:00. All who teach math (elementary self-contained through high school are welcomed to attend). Please email here if you have any questions. Thank you.
|Education in the News|
From Michael Winerip in the New York Times:
From the Nation:
'Through the years there have been many bitter teacher strikes and too many student protests to count. But a principals' revolt?
'"Principals don't revolt," said Bernard Kaplan of Great Neck North High School on Long Island, who has been one for 20 years. "Principals want to go along with the system and do what they're told."
'But President Obama and his signature education program, Race to the Top, along with John B. King Jr., the New York State commissioner of education, deserve credit for spurring what is believed to be the first principals' revolt in history.
'As of last night, 658 principals around the state had signed a letter - 488 of them from Long Island, where the insurrection began - protesting the use of students' test scores to evaluate teachers' and principals' performance...'
How Online Learning Companies Bought America's Schools
"If the national movement to "reform" public education through vouchers, charters and privatization has a laboratory, it is Florida. It was one of the first states to undertake a program of "virtual schools" — charters operated online, with teachers instructing students over the Internet — as well as one of the first to use vouchers to channel taxpayer money to charter schools run by for-profits..."
|Free Flu Shots At BTU|
The city of Boston is giving flu shots on December 13 from 1-5. All BTU members, all city employees and residents are welcomed to attend. All recipients must be 3+ years old.
We are glad to offer this benefit and appreciate the city's help.
|AFTMA Scholarship Program|
|Dependents of AFTMA/BTU members are eligible to take an exam on labor history sponsored by the Mass AFL-CIO. Eight $1500 scholarships are awarded by the AFTMA. The test is given on 2/1/2012, and the application deadline is 12/19/2011. Study materials and complete information are available for download here.|
|Under a new state law, all Mass retirees who are eligible for Medicare must sign up. The ins and outs of the law are too cumbersome to explain here. We have therefore scheduled a few information sessions, one on 1/12 and another on 1/24, at the BTU office, from 10 to 1. More information will be forthcoming. Save those dates if you'd like. It is advisable that you attend a session if you will be signing up for Medicare. Thank you.|
One new (good) provision of Governor Patrick's Pension Reform III allows a buyback of up to four years for those who took maternity leave before 1975. In order to be eligible for this buy back you must have retired before Sept 1, 2000. Additionally , eligibility requires that a members must have resigned or been on an unpaid leave of absence due to maternity and must have been a member of the retirement system. Contact member services at the State-Boston Retirement System (617.635.4305) if you are eligible or contact Michael McLaughlin.
|$1500 Early Notification Incentive for Retirement or Resignation: BTU Teachers Unit Only|
Under certain conditions members of the teachers unit may be eligible for a $1500 'separation' payment. See here, and scroll down to HRS-PP8. Here are the conditions:
|School Site Council Training|
Come with your SSC members to:
SSC Budget Basics (SSC 102):
Free parking Gainsborough & Renaissance Garages
** Please RSVP to Caren Carew - firstname.lastname@example.org a week prior to session.
24th ANNUAL Ebony Winter Gala on 12/9
8 PM to 2 AM
See here for more information
The BTU has endorsed Bob McCarthy for State Senate in the 2nd Suffolk & Middlesex Senate District, which includes Watertown, Belmont and parts of Cambridge, Allston-Brighton, the Fenway and the Back Bay. The seat was vacated earlier this month when State Senator Steven Tolman resigned to become the president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Bob's website is here.
A primary election is scheduled for December 13th. The final election is scheduled for January 11, 2012. Questions, email Angela Cristiani.
|Exhibits by Two Talented Members|
Teacher and artist Pat Thaxton announces her art exhibit, which will be held at the BTU on 12/3 and 12/4. For more information, please email Pat here .
And photographer and teacher Eduardo del Solar
Boston-based photographer Eduardo del Solar will be showing his nature photography in an exhibit entitled "Birds of the Americas" at Joppa Flats Education Center from November 6 through December 31. The public is cordially invited to meet the artist at a free gallery reception on Sunday, November 6, 2:30-4:00 pm. A portion of all purchases made during the exhibit helps to support Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats.
Eduardo del Solar finds that spending time inside as a technology teacher in Boston contrasts nicely with his extracurricular interest: to get outside in nature, find wildlife, wait for the best light, and take photographs.
|Peter Kimball Beals, wife of Pamela Taylor Beals an ESL Teacher at the Condon, passed away on November 14th after a two year battle with esophageal cancer. Pete was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to people from many walks of life. A Collision Repair expert by trade, Pete owned both the Body Shop at Marshfield Hills and subsequently the Body Shop at Kingston Hills. He was also an award winning metal sculpture. If there is a lesson to be learned from Pete's life it is to be good to each other and live life optimistically.|
A celebration of Pete's life will take place on December 10th at the Marshfield Hills Coffee House located at the North Community Church Parish Hall from 7 to 10 p.m. Friends are welcome.
Pamela Taylor Beals
|The BTU Online|
Boston Teachers Union