Published On: June 22, 2020
Happy Last Day of School! This year has been unlike any other, to say the very least. We are in awe of all of your resilience, flexibility, and commitment to your students and hope you all get much deserved R & R over the summer break. Normally, we also take a break from eBulletins through July and August, but due to the circumstances, we plan to continue ebulletins as needed, likely at least twice a month. 

Last week, members of the new BTU Collective Bargaining Committee met with Superintendent Cassellius and her staff to hear about initial reopening schools planning in the district. The CBC will meet again this week as we continue to engage with BPS in reopening schools work and negotiating a new MOU for the fall. We will continue meeting with the group throughout the summer to inform our work. DESE is also expected to release new guidance this week as well-we will keep you all posted. 

This past Friday was Juneteenth, and we honored the occassion by holding a multicultural, multilingual, ethnically diverse and class-inclusive rally in support of the Black community and in celebration of the emancipation of those who were enslaved. The turnout at the Town Field in Dorchester was amazing. A BIG shoutout to member Joel Richards, who organized the entire event! He and others were interviewed on WCVB. Thank you to everyone who came out, including BTU-endorsed U.S. House Candidate Robbie Goldstein, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Congressman Joe Kennedy III!

In case you missed it, the AFT Executive Council passed a resolution on confronting racism and in support of Black lives. The resolution lays out 19 commitments from the AFT to combat systemic racism and violence against Black people, including rethinking school security. For those who may not be familiar with the presence of police in schools, including right here in Boston, this Have You Heard podcast is worth a listen. The Executive Board of the BTU also had an emergency meeting and voted to support the NAACP and Boston civil rights policy recommendations on reforming policing. Although tabled at the membership meeting, it was taken up as an emergency vote because of the time-sensitive nature of the request. This is standard protocol for all time-sensitive votes.

Last week, the BTU officers, staff and a four of the BTU rank and file members who called for the resolution passed this month met with leaders from three of the police unions representing school police and BPD.  We had a produtive conversation and agreed to continue to meet and continue our dialogue on how to truly create safe and welcoming schools for all.  

To help us to best support our members and better understand the diverse views and experiences pertaining to racial justice and anti-racism work, we are asking everyone please complete this surveyIf you are not comfortable with this topic or even if you disagree with the resolution — we need to hear from you, too, and hope you will take a moment to fill out the survey.  

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, families across our city are feeling the impact of lost jobs and declining incomes. The need is widespread and it is ongoing; this is not a crisis that will go away quickly, and more and more families will be in need of resources as closures and job losses continue. Funds being made available by governments and organizations are receiving far more applicants than they can serve. In addition, many families do not have access to stimulus funds or unemployment benefits due to immigration status or other circumstances.

To help address this crisis in our city, members of the BTU in the Unafraid Educators Committee are partnering with Boston Educator’s Justice Alliance (BEJA) to establish a Relief Fund for Boston Students & Families. The fund is available to all families with children in the Boston Public Schools, and it is accessible to all families, regardless of immigration status or eligibility for other benefits. 

We know that many families look to their school communities for support and that many educators and other school community members are looking for ways to support the families in their community. This fund allows our schools to directly connect families with resources, especially those who may feel hesitant or uncertain about applying for other funds. We greatly appreciate your ongoing support for our school communities. Please consider donating to this important cause.

The Supreme Court ruled on two major decisions in the last few weeks that are impactful for many in our communities. As we celebrate Pride Month, the SCOTUS’ ruling to protect gay and transgender workers from discrimination in the workplace was particularly timely. The Court’s following decision on DACA preventing the Trump administration from immediately ending the program, which protects over 700,000 children from deportation, is an important one for the immigrant members of our community. Although the latter decisison still needs to be watched closely, amidst a chaotic month in an already tumultuous year, these decisions are some welcome good news.

We have several new Political Action updates, including primary candidate endorsements and City Council resolutions. Please take a minute to review these important updates and to contact Political Director Johnny McInnis for any questions or to get more involved!

Finally, we’re wishing a Happy Father’s Day to all of the father figures in our community. We appreciate all of you are not just educators, but also fathers, papas, grandfathers, “bonus”-fathers, godfathers and mom-fathers. We also hold all of our bereaved fathers and those who have lost their fathers in our hearts as well.

Following are a few other important updates and reminders:
  • We need to ACT NOW to pass the HEROES ACT! We cannot get back to work, back to school and back to our future without critical investments, and without ensuring workers have a voice in that process. For too long, teachers, nurses and other public employees have been asked to do too much with too little, we need new investsments NOW!
  • We will be offering virtual tutoring through an extended Homework Helpers program from July 6 through August 13. Please share our flyer (also in Spanish and Haitian-Creöle) and contact Brenda Chaney with any questions.

  • All Building Reps should be sure to submit a completed, signed IRS form W9 to Jeannie Turner. W9s can either be mailed to the BTU office or emailed to Jeannie. If emailed, please title the email “W9 attached.” Building Rep stipends will not be paid without a signed W9 on file. Note: the Building Rep app is up and functioning again!

  • The BTUHWF Fund Office and Eyecare Centers are open and operating on a summer schedule. While walk-ins are not encouraged, the office is available by phone Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can reach the office by calling 617-288-0500.

  • We just released our #InclusionDoneRight report, titled “Inclusion and Racial Equity in the Boston Public Schools.” Please take a moment to read the report. Thank you to all of Inclusion Committee members for all of your hard work this past school year! Tune in to watch the final School Committee Wednesday to hear our testimonies. You can find the details to the livestream here.
  • Continue to submit your COVID-related questions or concerns on our Google FormWe will continue to check responses over the summer as we continue with negotiating reopening plans.  

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