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AFT MA Submits Comments on Proposal to Extend SEI Endorsement Requirements to Vocational Technical Teachers

AFT Massachusetts has submitted comments on a proposal by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to extend Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) training requirements to vocational technical teachers. 

The letter to DESE from newly elected AFT MA President Beth Kontos states that AFT MA supports the concept of vocational technical teachers receiving this important training. However, the letter notes numerous flaws with the proposed implementation plan and timeline. The letter also provides concrete recommendations for solving the identified problems.  

Mass. Senate Subcommittee Releases Report Critical of Test-Based Accountability

Education reforms in Massachusetts reliant on high-stakes, test-based accountability “have failed to reduce the achievement gap or to improve schools,” concludes a new report by a special Senate Subcommittee to the Joint Committee on Education. 

The comprehensive and detailed report, titled Rethinking School Accountability, reviews the history of educational improvement efforts in Massachusetts, including the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act and the 2010 Achievement Gap Act. Based on experiences to date, and particularly trends since 2010, the report notes a “growing consensus that rewards and punishments based on testing are ineffective in reducing inequality, and that schools alone cannot achieve equity in student learning opportunities and outcomes.”

AFT MA Submits Comments on Proposed School and District Accountability Revisions

AFT Massachusetts has submitted comments on proposed revisions to the state’s school and district accountability framework.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has proposed changes to both the regulations and the system under which schools and districts are assessed and classified.

In a letter to DESE signed by newly elected President Beth Kontos, AFT MA expressed deep concerns about the proposals, calling them a "missed opportunity," and urged the Department to move in a different direction: “Why not hit the reset button and begin the process anew?”

50th Annual Convention Report - Delegates Elect a New President

The 50th annual convention of the AFT Massachusetts featured the election of a new president, a visit from Senator Elizabeth Warren, and a stirring speech from national AFT President Randi Weingarten. Approximately 300 delegates from AFT locals throughout Massachusetts attended the gathering in Quincy on April 27 and 28.

Salem Teachers Union leader Beth Kontos was elected the new President of the AFT Massachusetts at the convention.

“I’m humbled by the support of my AFT colleagues and honored to have the opportunity to advocate for educators, students, and families at this critical time,” she told the delegates. 

Keeping Her Promise: AFT President Weingarten continues to show support

Just one month after the Rollins fire, AFT President Randi Weingarten came to the temporary home of the Rollins to marvel at the progress the teachers and staff had made and to offer her continued support.

“This is the second time national has stepped in," explained LTU President Frank McLaughlin, recalling the 2015 fire at the Bruce School (please see December 2016/January 2017 issue). “I know that all I have to do is make a call and Randi and her team will be here to help.”

Table for Two? Veteran BPS teacher Michael Maguire sets the table for change

Every day, teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school support staff do all they can to provide students (and each other) with information and support that will sustain and strengthen them as they prepare for life’s challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, while districts like Salem (see October/November 2017 issue) are encouraging and involving the students in sustainable and educational nutritional programs, many schools do not provide the sustenance and support that young minds and bodies require.

In Memoriam

IN MEMORIAM

Kathy Kelley (1945-2017)

We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Kathleen A. Kelley, former President of American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts. She passed away on Sunday, August 13, 2017 at the tender age of 72 years young.  Our prayers go out to her family and she will be sorely missed.

EXCLUSIVE Guest Column by Senator Pat Jehlen

Does your school have enough money?

That question, stretched across the Commonwealth, was the focus of an important Supreme Judicial Court decision and legislation in 1993,and it’s likely to be the main issue in education that the legislature and the voters will deal with over the next 18 months.