Take Action: The Fight for Full Funding of Public Education Continues

“Federal aid and the state’s rainy day fund are getting us through the current school year without the devastating cuts that many worried about earlier this year, but we still lack the funding necessary to operate in-person school safely. We need immediate funding for ventilation upgrades, and for preventative COVID testing that can stop a potential outbreak in its tracks,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “As legislators begin to develop next year’s budget, they need to provide the resources to address students’ many needs, and start to repair the trauma that students have endured this year. Health and safety of course remains the number-one priority, but young people also require enhanced educational opportunities; better and more reliable Wi-Fi and devices; expanded social and emotional supports such as mental-health, guidance, and school nursing services; reliable access to no- cost healthy food and to stable housing; and so much more.”

“Now more than ever, students burdened by debt and facing a difficult job market need affordable public higher education,” she continued. “But severe budget cuts at our community colleges, state universities, and UMass campuses are leading to layoffs and furloughs when they should be offering more support to students, not less. The COVID-19 pandemic and recession have caused unprecedented trauma and disruption for students and workers in our public schools and colleges. Now more than ever, we must fully fund public education to support students and families through this crisis.”

 

Report a COVID-19 Case or Unsafe Working Conditions in Your School or Library

School employees and public librarians are doing what they always do: taking care of their students and communities. But no matter where you are in Massachusetts or what your district's reopening plan looks like, everyone deserves to feel safe at work.
 
This tracker is brought to you by the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts (AFT Massachusetts) & Massachusetts Teachers Association.
 
Help us hold local and state leaders accountable. Report a COVID-19 case or unsafe working conditions in your school or district with our easy-to-use tool.

Comedy Night for AFT Members

It's been a tough year, and after all we've been through, we could all use a laugh. On February 5, join President Beth Kontos, AFT Massachusetts  and Blue Cross Blue Sheild Massachusetts for a night of comedy and solidarity. Devin Siebold, a professional comedian and union teacher, will lead a night of laughter for AFT members.
 
Devin Siebold is a nationally touring comedian who has been named iHeartMedia Monster’s in the Morning Comedian of the Year, won the Boston World Series of Comedy, appeared on Laughs on FOX, won Side Splitters Comedian of the Year, and been selected for Comedy Central Up Next. Devin has spent his past 10 years as a middle/high school teacher in Florida, and hosts the podcast 'Crying in My Car: A Podcast for Teachers.

Winning the Fight to Preserve Public Education

Betsy DeVos has resigned as Secretary of Education, and under the incoming Biden administration, federal education policy will be led by an educator and public school graduate, Connecticut state education commissioner Miguel Cardona. For the first time in four years, public school educators will have a partner in Washington. But the right-wing effort to dismantle public education in the United States isn’t going away without a fight. And we can’t win that fight without understanding how and why it began.
 
On February 10 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom, join AFT members and allies for a webinar to learn about the origins of the war on public education, reflect on the last four years of fighting against the Trump-Devos agenda, and strategize about how to influence public education as a public good moving forward.

AFT Massachusetts Launches COVID-19 Bill of Rights Campaign -- Statewide Drive Outlines Ten Principles for Safe and Effective Schools

AFT Massachusetts, with the unanimous backing of its executive board, has launched a campaign to promote safe and effective schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cornerstone of the campaign is a “Bill of Rights” for students, families, educators, and school staff, outlining 10 key principles for school safety and success. 
 
“Students, families, educators, and school staff are all doing amazing work this school year under exceptionally challenging circumstances, facing hard choices at every turn,” said Beth Kontos, president of AFT Massachusetts. “This bill of rights is designed to unite stakeholders around shared values and principles, bringing us together in a spirit of collaboration at a time when it is easy to become divided. Our hope is that local communities use the bill of rights as a launching pad for the deeper conversations and joint problem solving that must occur locally.”