Thank you to all of our members who made it out to our first meeting of the school year and packed the house for our ratification vote last week! All of our bargaining units overwhelmingly voted to ratify their respective contracts. Our newest unit, the ABAs, voted unanimously and received a standing ovation upon approval of their first contract. We were grateful to be joined by three of our retired negotiating team members Richard Stutman, Patrick Connolly, and Charles Johnson, who led our union in these negotiations for over 16 months.
The contract now goes to the City Council for a vote on appropriations. Once we have more details about implementation and timelines for disbursements, we will share the information via the BTU bulletin.
In the meantime, the officers and staff have already begun our “Listening Tour” of schools to hear directly from members about both what is working well in the district and what our priorities for the next round of negotiations could and should be. We are also working on an electronic survey for members next month, which will be shared at the BTU Fall Leadership Conference (formerly the “Building Reps Conference), October 13-15.
The Fall Leadership Conference workshops will be open to all members with pre-registration this year. All Building Reps are encouraged to attend — we would love to have every school represented. We will also have our BTU Welcome Back Party and Breast Cancer Fundraiser this year at the conference on Saturday night, October 14.
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Finally, we wanted to address yesterday’s misleading Boston Globe article about “underperforming” schools. As everyone should know, all elementary and K-8 schools are being “held harmless” this year after piloting the MCAS 2.0 last year. DESE has confirmed this.
The Boston Globe story gets key facts wrong. For instance, only a handful of high schools are even eligible this year for turnaround status, not 26 schools. This is a good opportunity, however, to talk about the flawed state evaluation system, which is rigged against students with disabilities, those from low-income communities, and English Language Learners because it puts far too much emphasis on high-stakes standardized testing. As educators who work in schools every day, we know that the solution is greater investment in our public schools. This story unnecessarily raises alarm for families and distracts us from the real facts and needed solutions to create quality school opportunities for all students.
Luckily, our families know better and have been sharing the real story about the wonderful teaching and learning experiences happening in our schools. Parents from the Mendell, one of the schools named in the article, responded in force today with the hashtag #CelebrateTheMendell.
There’s an event tomorrow evening called Beyond Test Scores at 7 PM at the Harvard Co-op with Professor Jack Schneider. He is a leader in our Mass Consortium for Innovation in Education Assessments, and the talk will undoubtedly be enlightening.