Take Action and Support the Revere Federation of Paraprofessionals' Negotiating Team

Over 18 years ago, Revere’s School District decided to cut paraprofessional hours rather than offer them healthcare. This not only short-changed a workforce that is predominantly low-income women, but it also undercut services provided to our most vulnerable students. Paraprofessionals are the education aides to pre-kindergarten, students who have disabilities, support for those that need help with areas of academics, and support for those that need English language help. This cut minimized the amount of time given to students by each para and created massive turnover and difficulty in hiring to fill the positions. The decision to do this was shortsighted and continues to hurt kids.

Currently we, the Revere Federation of Paraprofessionals, are bargaining with management over a new union contract for the paraprofessionals. We have asked that our members be treated like paraprofessionals are in other districts across the state and made full time. Management has been dismissive and demeaning, rolling their eyes, making threats to reduce jobs, demanding that para’s do work outside of the classroom, and denying that there is indeed funding. We have made movement at the table, they have not.

AFT Massachusetts Members in Elected Office: Dracut School Committee Member Renee Young

With public education undergoing such challenging conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have lawmakers who understand what it’s like in our classrooms. That’s why so many AFT members across the country are putting their hat in the ring; running for office to serve their communities on school committees, in town halls, in state legislatures, and in the halls of Congress.

One AFT Massachusetts member who serves in public office is Dracut School Committee Member Renee Young, a history teacher at Billerica Memorial High School and member of the Billerica Federation of Teachers.

#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

We kicked off our #AFTVoices member spotlight series!

This series aims to uplift the voices, members and educators that make up AFT Massachusetts. Our first member highlight is on Gary Torres, a Paraprofessional and Member Organizer coming from the Lynn Teachers Union! Ever since Gary attended his first AFT meeting, after being encouraged by a friend, he is devoted to the people and place he represents. "As a member organizer, I’ve been focusing on getting others involved, especially paraprofessionals. I am here to listen. It’s personal for me."

Sen. Warren’s Office Seeking Feedback on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: Please Complete a Brief Survey

Established in 2007 by the U.S. Congress, the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is a critical student loan forgiveness program for public school educators and employees, municipal librarians, other public sector workers, and individuals employed by certain non-profit organizations. The program provides eligible borrowers with student loan debt relief in exchange for a decade of service in their communities. 

AFT Massachusetts and its parent organization, the national AFT, are committed to fixing these problems, and we are working with allies, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, to ensure the program is implemented as intended. 

Senator Warren’s office is conducting a survey to learn more about Massachusetts public servants’ experience with student debt and the PSLF program. All responses are anonymous. The survey results will help to inform future policy.