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UMass Dartmouth Students, Faculty, and Staff Are Organizing for Affordable, High-Quality Public College

Students, faculty, and staff at UMass Dartmouth are organizing to strengthen the university and make it more affordable, with the formation of a UMass Dartmouth chapter of PHENOM, the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts. PHENOM, which has chapters at 10 other UMass campuses, state universities, and community colleges, brings students, families, alumni, professors, staff, and community members together to advocate for high-quality, debt-free public college.

Student debt relief is union work

AFT leaders in Massachusetts know that supporting our members goes beyond what happens in the classroom, or the schoolhouse, or even the Statehouse. That’s why, when the AFT started offering student debt clinics to help members struggling with student loan debt, AFT Massachusetts leaders decided to make it a statewide initiative. 

“Advocating for our members is what we do,” says Kontos. “So, as a union, we’re fighting to make college affordable and hold the student loan industry accountable for the debt crisis it has created. But we can’t just fight these big fights and ignore the reality of the massive student loan debt many of our members are struggling with. These debt clinics are about helping union members find relief so they can keep serving their communities.”

AFT Massachusetts Members are Taking Action to ‘Fund Our Future’

AFT Massachusetts members from around the state are taking action to ‘Fund Our Future’ as part of a new campaign to reinvest in Massachusetts’ public schools and colleges. Since the new state legislative session began last month, members have been working to pass legislation that would fix the state’s school funding formula and reinvest more than $1.5 billion each year in public education from preK through college.
 
“Our public education system is underfunded from top to bottom, and through our work with the Fund Our Future coalition, we are committed to ensuring that our students and their schools have the funding they need to succeed, from preK through college,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “These bills will help us support our students throughout their entire education, no matter where they come from or what needs they have. We’ve waited far too long for Massachusetts to invest in our kids, and it’s time to pass this legislation now!”

Fighting Against School Closures: Lessons from Two Boston Teachers

When Boston Public Schools officials announced their intention to close a middle school and two high schools last October, Neema Avashia was ready.

“In Boston, its no secret that there’s been a plan to close middle schools,” said Avashia, an 8th grade civics teacher at the McCormack Middle School in Dorchester.

She and her colleagues had been working for two years to plan the middle school’s transition to a 7-12 school when they found out that district officials planned to close the McCormack, send students to a different school, and, after renovating the McCormack, put the building out to bid for other 7-12 schools to take

Teachers as Partners in School Improvement

Teams of educators and school administrators from Boston, Lawrence, and Lynn recently attended the American Federation of Teachers’ Center for School Improvement Leadership Institute, a three-day conference in New York City focused on strengthening collaboration skills with district and school improvement teams to improve student achievement.

“We were delighted to offer this opportunity to school improvement teams from three school districts that are already doing amazing collaborative work in their local schools,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “When educators and management work together to improve our schools, we can do so much for our students. We look forward to even more positive collaboration in the future thanks to the lessons teams learned at this conference.”

UTLA Settlement a Win for Kids!

AFT Massachusetts and President Beth Kontos congratulate the UTLA and all teachers and students in Los Angeles on their contract agreement. By standing strong, LA teachers won significant victories for their students and their communities, from additional nurses and librarians to reductions in class sizes and standardized tests. The LA teachers strike, and the other teachers strikes that have happened around the country in the last year, show that when educators, students, and parents fight together, we win!
 
Click here for additional information about the settlement.  

#FundOurFuture

“Our public education system is underfunded from top to bottom, and through our work with the Fund Our Future coalition, we are committed to ensuring that our students and their schools have the funding they need to succeed, from preK through college,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “These bills will help us support our students throughout their entire education, no matter where they come from or what needs they have. We’ve waited far too long for Massachusetts to invest in our kids, and it’s time to pass this legislation now!”

The Fund Our Future coalition is supporting two pieces of legislation that would meet the recommendations of the state’s bipartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission and the Higher Education Finance Commission.

Statement of AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos on the "Education PROMISE ACT" Legislation to Increase School Funding

“As comprehensive public school funding legislation is introduced on Beacon Hill today, elected leaders of the Commonwealth should also pay close attention to the looming teachers strike expected in Los Angeles on Thursday. Teachers and their students in cities and towns all across Massachusetts suffer from overcrowded classrooms, limited music and arts education, and schools without nurses or librarians, just like they do in L.A.
 
“Teachers, parents, and students won’t let another year pass without action on Beacon Hill. Longstanding underfunding of public schools has already prompted statewide teacher walkouts in Colorado, West Virginia and Arizona. It could happen here if the investments our schools need aren't addressed soon."
 
Beth Kontos - AFT Massachusetts

Regional Training for Building Representatives/Activists

AFT Massachusetts will host a regional training for building representatives and activists on Saturday, March 23rd.  The training will allow members to collaborate with other local activists and to develop/refine skills in the roles and responsibilities of a union leader:

Benefits Workshops for AFT Massachusetts Members

This spring, AFT Massachusetts will host a series of regional benefits workshops to showcase the products and services available to AFT members through our member benefits program.

Whether you’re looking to purchase insurance, buy or refinance a home, plan for retirement, or just see what benefits are available to you as an AFT member, you can find experienced and dedicated professionals who will work with you every step of the way to fulfill your goals.