Published On: November 6, 2020

We are writing today about two important issues impacting our BTU community: BPS plans regarding in-person services for high needs special education students and the Presidential election. To get everyone up to speed, we are holding an Emergency BTU Membership Town Hall this Sunday, November 8 at 7:00pm.  You must register in advance.

We are concerned that BPS will try to bring students and staff back without an additional safety agreement that further protects our students and educators who choose to be back in person. On Tuesday, we asked for a meeting with BPS to share our proposal to ensure and improve safety of learning conditions for our highest needs students and educators who voluntarily opt-in to providing in person learning.  Our MOA was created with input from not just BTU educators, but also parents, students and other stakeholders. Agreeing to an additional MOA is critical to any plans for students and staff who choose to return to in person service, as it provides assurances not only for safety and health, but for improved instruction for both remote and in person learning as well.

We have agreed to meet every day since to get an agreement in place, but are currently concerned that BPS will try to bring students back without an additional safety agreement and without plans created at the school level that are co-created with stakeholders and the educators voluntarily impacted. This is particularly concerning in light of the recent city and district announcement that HIPP hybrid learning would not resume until there has been a 2 weeks of a decline of citywide COVID rates of 5% and lower and previous violation of the 4% language. In the interest of high needs students, we have proposed solutions and need the district to agree to them as soon as possible for adequate time to plan and implement.

For the safety and benefit of students, educators and our larger community, we may need to take a collective action next week and need BTU educators to weigh in on next steps.  Again, we are holding an emergency BTU Membership Town Hall meeting on Sunday, November 8 at 7:00 pm. Please register in advance. You must be a BTU member and register before Sunday before 6:00pm to get the Zoom link. Each link is unique and cannot be shared.

Second, it has been an election season like no other. As much as we would have liked it all to be over on Tuesday night, we are confident that the democratic process is working and that when all of the votes are counted, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be elected to the White House.

Unsurprisingly, President Trump has already declared premature victory despite key states still counting mail-in ballots, which are already leaning heavily Democratic.While this was to be expected, it is unnerving to watch the President try to steal the election. At our Executive Board meeting last week, we approved a resolution stating that “the AFT and the BTU are unequivocal and unwavering in our response: We stand for American democracy.

Tomorrow, AFT-MA (our state affiliate), BTU, Sunrise Movement Boston, SEIU 32 BJ, MTA, and many more organizations and labor groups will be uniting at Copley Square to demand that our democracy be protected, our votes be counted, and our communities be served. If you choose to attend, please follow all COVID-19 safety protocols and be vigilant about any provocateurs of violence or discord.  Safety for all is our first and foremost priority at the at this peaceful demonstration.

Bottom line, our priority during this time will be to provide information to our members, protect democracy and make sure that you are safe. Thank you for all of your efforts during this election season and for your continued advocacy for the safety of our students and schools.  If you have any questions on how to be involved in our democracy efforts, please reach out to Johnny McInnis, BTU Political Director or Roberto Jimenez, BTU Political Organizer. If you have questions about your school and HIPP concerns, please contact your Field Rep or school’s assigned organizer. 

Be safe, and make no mistake: we, the people, will prevail!  See you Sunday for our BTU Membership Emergency Town Hall.

Share This Story!