Summer Leadership Institute 2021

Join us for our Summer Leadership Institute, a series of virtual workshops for local leaders and members to refine their leadership skills as well as to promote participation and initiative in our union!  We have a range of different classes and with this institute we aim to come together across the state for conversation and learning. 
 
Follow the link and complete the form to register for the webinar.  Sign up for one or as many as you'd like!

Substantial Infusion of Federal and State Funds Headed to Mass. School Districts

There is good news on the horizon for Massachusetts schools and students. Massachusetts school districts are slated to receive more than $2 billion in federal education aid over the coming year, thanks to federal COVID-19 relief packages passed since March 2020, the most recent being the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This federal money, in tandem with promised state-level investments in K-12 education, could have a positive impact on Massachusetts students for years to come.

It is useful to think of the two streams of funding—federal ESSER and state SOA—as working in tandem. Full ESSER funds (from Rounds I, II, and III) will arrive in districts over the next year for use through September 2024. Meanwhile, state SOA monies will ramp up steadily over six years—with new money added each year on top of the previous year’s baseline—until full funding of SOA is achieved in 2027. What this means is that districts could strategically use ESSER funds now to accelerate investments in students and schools (e.g., smaller classes, more social workers and nurses, better wages for paraprofessionals, HVAC improvements, etc.) and then use SOA funds to sustain those investments. The timing is quite conducive to this strategy, with SOA ramping up at the same time that ESSER ramps down. 

 

AFT Massachusetts Holds Virtual 2021 Convention

On Saturday, May 1 AFT Massachusetts delegates from across the state met for the 2021 Annual Convention, with the theme of ‘Safety, Equity, and Transparency.’
 
Held virtually, the convention featured reflections on the past year of teaching, working, and advocating during the pandemic, as well as a focus on the work ahead for the education justice and labor movements. AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos, chairing her third convention, spoke about the resiliency of educators, librarians, and faculty during a year unlike any other.
 
“It’s not an overstatement to say that we could not have made it through the past year on our own,” she said. “But by working together through our union, we’ve been able to achieve significant victories and the light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight. We’ve fought for – and won – a voice in the school reopening process and greater protections for educators and our students. More and more educators and students are receiving their COVID-19 vaccines every day. With a new pro-public education, pro-union administration in Washington, our school districts are finally receiving the resources they need to start recovering from the pandemic.”