Message from AFT Massachusetts and President Beth Kontos
Fulfilling the Promise of the Student Opportunity Act
Governor Baker’s budget proposal last week kicked off the first year of the seven-year implementation of the landmark Student Opportunity Act (SOA), and now is the time for AFT Massachusetts members and allies to ensure that the resources won in the SOA go to programs and services that directly benefit students. Read on to learn how the law will affect your community next year, and what you can do to take action at the local level.
The new law commits the state to achieving equitably funded public schools over a seven-year span. Once fully phased in, it will deliver $1.5 billion in additional annual state aid to local public schools, with the bulk of those resources going to the schools with the greatest need: those in low-wealth communities serving high numbers of low-income students. READ MORE.
AFT Massachusetts, Boston Teachers Union Both Endorse U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in MA Democratic Presidential Primary
“I’m deeply grateful to have the support of AFT Massachusetts and the Boston Teachers Union,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “They are on the frontlines of making sure every kid can build a future and our educators have dignity on the job. I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with them in this fight.”
“Senator Warren has always been a champion for students and educators in our fight for the nurturing and supportive schools we deserve. She stood with educators on the strike line and in our work to protect our public schools and win new funding for our students. We know we can count on her as President,” said Beth Kontos, President of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts (AFT Massachusetts). “As a former educator, Senator Warren knows firsthand that we need bold action to support public education, and that the best way to help the students with the greatest needs is to give them the additional help they need in the classroom. She’s building a movement that can win in November and replace the failed Trump-DeVos education agenda with the pro-student, pro-public education plan our students need.” READ MORE about the endorsement. Join AFT members in NH to elect Elizabeth Warren.
Boston Public Library Professional Staff Association Joins AFT Massachusetts, MA Library Staff Association
In an overwhelming vote last month, the members of the Boston Public Library Professional Staff Association (BPLPSA) voted to affiliate with AFT Massachusetts and the MA Library Staff Association (MLSA). The MLSA, part of AFT Massachusetts, represents more than 500 public librarians in 31 municipalities across the state of Massachusetts.
“It is my great pleasure to welcome the Boston Public Library Professional Staff Association to the ranks of the Massachusetts Library Staff Association and AFT Massachusetts. What better way to welcome in 2020 than with the affiliation of the dedicated library professionals of the flagship library of the Commonwealth to the MLSA and AFT-MA!,” said Pat Kelly, president of the Massachusetts Library Staff Association. READ MORE.
AFT Members Bringing Pro-Public Education Agenda to Local Elected Office
This November saw local elections for School Committee and City Council all across Massachusetts. As local communities prepare to receive millions of dollars in new state funding from the Student Opportunity Act, educators and their parent, student, and community allies are working to ensure that local officials are committed to spending that money in the classroom to support students’ needs. AFT Massachusetts members were active in dozens of local electoral campaigns this fall: knocking doors, holding signs, calling voters, and casting their ballots to support pro-public education candidates.
Several of those candidates happen to be AFT Massachusetts members themselves. READ MORE.
Member Benefits Spotlight
As an AFT member, you and your family members are eligible to earn an Associate Degree completely online, for free. The Union Plus Free College Benefit, offered in partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College, a fully accredited, non-profit public institution that is part of the University System of Ohio, offers grants — known as "last dollar scholarships" — that fill the gap between any federal, state and employer education grants for tuition, fees, and e-books for certain online programs at Eastern Gateway. Even if you don’t qualify for student financial aid, the Union Plus Free College Benefit will be applied to your balance for tuition, fees and e-books. That means that as long as your financial aid file is complete, there is no cost to the student and students are never asked to take out any loans.
Upcoming Events (Learn More)
- Member Benefits Workshop for AFT members on the 495 Belt North - February 13, 2020
- Annual Conference for Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel - April 4, 2020
- AFT Massachusetts Convention 2020 - May 1 and 2, 2020
- Student Debt Clinic for AFT Members - May 12, 2020
- AFT Convention 2020 - July 27 to 30, 2020