Kontos to DESE: Suspend Broken School Accountability System

Kontos applauds DESE for its recent efforts to re-examine policies through a racial equity lens. But she asks: “Why has the accountability system—with its demonstrated racial and socioeconomic bias and clear mismeasurement of school quality—escaped this reckoning? Why does DESE continue to label and punish schools serving students of color based on biased, inaccurate, and discredited measures?”

“It’s time to pause, reflect and reimagine school-accountability policy,” Kontos concludes. “We urge you to make that a top priority, and we look forward to being part of that work.”

AFT Massachusetts Announces Recipients of 2022 Distinguished Service Awards

AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos and Secretary-Treasurer Brant Duncan are thrilled to announce the winners of the union’s 2022 Distinguished Service Awards.

The Distinguished Service Awards are presented annually to AFT Massachusetts members who have demonstrated an outstanding level of service and dedication to their local union. The awards recognize the substantial contributions made to the development of the union at the state and local levels, from membership building and leadership training to the advancement of political and professional issues important to the union.

Fair Share Town Hall for AFT Members

Join AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos and US Senator Ed Markey on May 25 at 5 p.m. via Zoom to learn about how we're organizing to win the Fair Share campaign on this November's statewide ballot! Find out about this once-in-a-generation opportunity to raise new revenue for Massachusetts public schools, colleges, roads, bridges, and public transportation, and learn how you can get involved in the campaign.
 
The Fair Share Amendment is a proposal to add a small tax on annual individual incomes exceeding $1 million. While the amendment is expected to impact fewer than 1% of taxpayers, it is projected to raise $1-2 billion each year for investments in transportation and public education. The Fair Share Amendment is on the ballot statewide on November 8, 2022.

UMass Dartmouth AFT Locals Advocating For Greater Investment, More Affordability in Massachusetts’ Public Colleges


“Earning a degree from a state college – which was once heralded as a pathway of opportunity – has become completely unfeasible for most middle-class families and students across Massachusetts,” says Dr. Grant O’Rielly, President of the UMass Dartmouth Faculty Federation.

The new study from the Hildreth Institute, a local higher education policy think tank, found that tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges and universities have increased at one of the fastest rates in the nation, drastically exceeding family incomes. Since 2000, median family income in Massachusetts has risen only 13%, but even after adjusting for inflation, tuition and fees at Umass Dartmouth have increased by 57% – a $6,205 price hike. That's the second largest hike in the UMass system (behind UMass Lowell at 59.6%).

“The faculty see it on our campuses and in our classrooms. Enrollment is down. Students and families are being told that in order to attend a state school, they’ll need to take out burdensome loans because even the maximum amount of state aid will cover only a fraction of their costs," says Dr. O’Rielly. "If we’re serious about supporting and lifting up families across the state and serious about ensuring that we prepare the youth of Massachusetts to contribute to the future economy of the Commonwealth – breaking down the barriers to public higher education is a critical first step.”