Published On: May 19, 2020

We hope everyone was able to safely enjoy the warm weather this weekend. As we wind down to a little over a month of the school year left, we’re thinking of you all and the extraordinary ways you have been going the extra mile. We are also sharpening our focus on summer and fall plans, and have appreciated everyone’s participation in our Listening Tour sessions to inform these plans as well.

The Governor released a road map yesterday for reopening. We are keeping a close watch on the aspects of the plan that affect summer opportunities, as well as fall reopening school plans. Mayor Marty Walsh also commented on state reopening plans and made clear that “reopening does not mean back to normal, and normal is not what we should be striving for.” We appreciate his continued investments in our city and schools as we tackle the challenges.  
We know that #NowMoreThanEver we need to continue to invest in our schools and social services  not turn to austerity. We appreciated this op-ed in the Globe: “History shows that spending cuts are more harmful than tax increases during recessions — especially in a downturn expected to be sharp but short like this one.” It provides solutions to how we may be able to prevent cuts to schools, colleges, and essential public services and supports. It also provides a rationale for why this is the way to go and why we support the “Millionnaire’s Tax.” As  Professor Clayton-Matthew shares, “Reducing funding for K-12 and higher education reverses longstanding investment in human capital — including recent new commitments, such as the Student Opportunity Act enacted last November that provides more than $2 billion in additional school funding through 2027 — with long-term consequences for worker productivity and economic growth.”
We have several new Political Action updates, including advocacy for Emergency Paid Sick Time, as well as the job description and application for a new BTU position beginning July 1: Political Organizer. Please take a minute to review these important updates and to apply — BTU members are encouraged to apply.  

We have heard you loud and clear that the unhelpful and misguided demands for more data and “accountability,” at the expense of quality facetime with our students and families are a mistake. The recent BPS “audit” that accused teachers of not pulling their weight if they were not logged in to google classroom misses the point. We know that you use many platforms, and often are logged in to google classroom 24/7. Despite what the Globe editorial board suggests, we don’t have a problem with asking questions and looking at data. However, the data in question was totally incomplete, and we do believe we need to ask the RIGHT questions. Teaching and learning are more than just academics during a global pandemic — for many of our highest-needs students and families, it is also about life skills as well as managing both trauma and stress. Our educators are providing those lessons, supports, and skills in spades while also addressing a narrow definition of “learning,” which is not just “standards” or log-ins to an online platform.  

Lastly, here are a few other important updates and reminders:
  • Don’t forget to take a look at the AFT’s Reopening Schools Plan, particularly pages 7-12 and to give your feedback as we adapt the plan for Boston.

  • Attention Building Reps: Please send your nominations for building reps for SY2020-21, along with your list of personal emails for eligible BTU members at your school/program, to Nichole Staude by this Friday, May 22nd.

  • Over 70,000 FREE e-book vouchers have been shared! BTU members can use this form to request individual access codes and pin numbers. Each student with an access code and pin number can select 10 e-books to download! This is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please remember to join FirstBook so that we can continue to partner with them-registration is free!

  • Please remember that Open Enrollment to change your health plan this year is May 18 – June 12. Changes to the City of Boston Non-Medicare Health Insurance Plan are effective July 1. For reference, please see the various health insurance plans for active employees. 
  • Don’t forget to join the new support group for BTU members who are balancing the new remote work expectations while also parenting at home. If you are interested in participating, please RSVP.
  • May is Haitian Heritage Month! Please see this flyer for a list of events. The Haitian Educators Committee is ready to assist any BTU educator who is trying to reach a family and is struggling due to a language barrier. The members of our Committee want to help! Please reach out to Bianca Pierre with any questions or concerns. Please note that there is no committee meeting this week.
  • We also continue to celebrate APA Heritage Month! Don’t forget we have partnered with FirstBook to provide members free books from their APIA book collection. Books are first come, first serve. See the collection here. Use code BTUAPAPROUDContact Brenda Chaney for questions! You can also view President Tang’s keynote at the Brookline Asian American Family Network’s Student Essay Contest event last week.

  • Please continue to submit your COVID-related questions or concerns on our Google Form

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