Skip to main content



Massachusetts residents are back in their homes after a series of gas explosions and fires shook three communities—Lawrence, Andover and North Andover—in the Merrimack Valley on Sept. 13. The disaster killed one resident and forced 40,000 people to evacuate their homes.

“It’s been tough. There is a lot of hurt going on in the community, but we are resilient. We are going to recover,” says Lawrence Teachers Union President Frank McLaughlin, who drove around the city on Sept. 16 to check on some of the affected areas. According to McLaughlin, at least four LTU members lost homes, and 60 members


Deadline Extended Until January 25th!

Help the AFT Massachusetts celebrate the service of an educator, librarian, nurse, or school related-personnel whose leadership has made our union stronger. Nominations are now being accepted for our 2019 distinguished service awards. Who will you nominate to be recognized at the AFT Massachusetts annual convention in May 2019?


The Boston Teachers Union has long recognized that the union’s responsibilities go beyond the “bread and butter” issues of salary and benefits. Supporting union members means being engaged in all parts of educators’ lives, from political activity in the community to professional expertise in the classroom. As a result, the BTU has a robust, high-quality professional learning program for its members.

One recent addition to this professional development program is a course called ‘Tech Goes Home,’ which was offered to BTU paraprofessionals this past school year.

In the BTU-funded program


Recent events in the Chelmsford Public Schools prompt me to emphatically state that AFT Massachusetts (AFT MA) will never tolerate acts of intimidation against our union, any of our members, or members of our staff. Period.

That’s what undeniably occurred when then-president of the Chelmsford Federation of Teachers Jen Salmon and AFT MA field representative Eric Blanchet were removed from the Harrington Elementary School last November by the police. Their removal at the request of the Chelmsford School Department clearly violated the law.


The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, by a 7-2 vote on June 26, approved revisions to the state’s school and district accountability system over strenuous objections from the state’s two teachers unions, who argued that the new system is by and large a continuation of the failed and discredited status quo.

“It’s meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” said Dan Murphy, AFT MA’s director of educational policy. “The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education solicited stakeholder input over a two-year period. This input signaled a clear appetite to move in a fundamentally different direction. So, we’re disappointed that the Department and the Board opted for business as usual—replicating the same flaws as the old discredited system while introducing new problems and even more inscrutable metrics. We need a system that is fair and easy-to-understand, and that above all is about support, not punishment.”


The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education amended educator licensure rules at their June 26, 2018 meeting, voting to extend the “Sheltered English Immersion” (SEI) Endorsement requirements to career vocational technical teachers. 

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released an initial proposal in March, inviting comments from the public.  AFT Massachusetts submitted extensive comments in May, noting numerous flaws with the proposed implementation plan and timeline, and providing concrete recommendations for solving the identified problems. 

DESE revised their


After years of tight budgets and multiple rounds of cuts, things were getting tough in North Attleboro’s Schools. In 2013 and again in 2015, voters rejected attempts to override the tax-limiting law Proposition 2 ½, leading to the closure of an elementary school, increased class sizes, and a cut of more than 70 paraprofessionals over the last few years. School technology upgrades weren’t being funded, and the potential for another elementary school closure was looming.

But in April, a $6.5 million tax increase, including $2.67 million annually for schools and another $1 million annually for one


The 25,000-member AFT Massachusetts, one of the state’s largest labor unions, announced their endorsement of Jay Gonzalez for Governor in this year’s election. The AFT Massachusetts is the first statewide labor union to make an endorsement in the race for Governor.

“Jay has an aspirational vision for an education system that gives every student the resources they need to succeed. Through his strong support for the Fair Share Amendment, he’s outlined a plan to fully fund our schools and libraries, fix the broken Foundation Budget, and make our public colleges affordable again,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos


Growing Statewide Momentum for Recess Requirements As Teachers and Parents Push Back Against Overreliance on Testing

Elementary and middle school students in Lowell will be guaranteed recess after a successful campaign by teachers from the United Teachers of Lowell and parents, students, and community members from the Lowell Education Justice Alliance.

A citywide recess policy adopted by the Lowell School Committee in May will require elementary schools to have a minimum 20-minute daily recess and require middle schools to have a minimum 15-minute daily recess. Elementary and middle schools will also have 5-minute activity breaks in the morning and afternoon, with physical activities including yoga, stretching and dance. 


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.