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Solidarity with the members of the Woburn Teachers Association! The union educators of the Woburn Teachers Association are organizing to secure: ● A living wage for education support professionals; ● Smaller class sizes to support the educational needs of all students; ● Physical education classes twice a week for elementary students, which is comparable to surrounding school districts; ● Fair and professional compensation for all workdays; and ● Dignity and respect in the workplace. MORE
The families of Melrose have a right to expect the education and learning needs of their children will be addressed in the public schools. The committed educators of the Melrose Education Association are fighting for their students by demanding progress at the bargaining table on essential classroom issues.   The union educators of the Melrose Education Association are acting to secure: Enough planning time to prepare the best lessons possible for their students; Fair and competitive compensation to retain current educators and attract the best new educators; and Improved working and learning conditions. AFT Massachusetts stands in support of the Melrose educators receiving fair contracts and calls on school administrators to immediately negotiate contracts that are good for students and fair to teachers. MORE

The bill, An Act Empowering Students and Schools to Thrive (or the Thrive Act, for short), would equip local communities with the tools and resources that students and schools need to succeed, and dramatically reduce the harm caused by the high-stakes, punitive use of standardized tests, such as state takeovers and denying students high school diplomas. “This bill is about lifting up students, lifting up schools, and lifting up communities,” says Kontos. “And it’s about freeing students and educators from the shackles of punitive, high-stakes standardized testing. Like the Student Opportunity Act, the key to victory will be grassroots advocacy and organizing, and AFT MA members must be front and center in those efforts.”

Our educators go above and beyond in many ways to ensure the needs of the students in the Commonwealth are met. Sometimes this means staying after with students, sometimes it means dipping into personal funds to make sure they have supplies, and sometimes it means donning a red suit and spreading some Christmas cheer.  In 2018, Michael Curley received a phone call from one of his wife’s closest friends. This friend loves Christmas and hosts an annual holiday gathering following Thanksgiving dubbed “Thanksmas,” and this year she was asking if Michael would be interested in donning the role of Old Saint Nick. He said he couldn’t say no to a close friend, and that the chance to play Santa seemed fun.  MORE
“AFT Massachusetts members have worked alongside Dr. Patrick Tutwiler for many years, first as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, and then in Lynn where he served as superintendent. Dr. Tutwiler is a professional educator of the highest caliber who puts students and families first, while also respecting dedicated educators in the classroom. “As we continue to navigate the post-COVID impact on students throughout Massachusetts, Governor-elect Healey and Lt. Governor-elect Driscoll have made the right choice in Dr. Tutwiler to lead our public schools. We look forward to working with them both to improve education opportunities for all students in our state.” MORE
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that saying remains true especially today. While teachers and staff are working for the betterment of students across the Commonwealth, others work behind the scenes playing equally valuable roles in providing students with the resources and attention they need to succeed.  Paraprofessionals provide a critical service to our schools and communities by providing essential assistance in a variety of ways. Certified Nursing Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, Physical Therapy Assistants and Paraeducators, represented by the Springfield Federation of Paraprofessionals (SFoP), are all vital members of our communities that ensure communities across Massachusetts can thrive. We talked with Cathy Mastronardi, President of SFoP about the myriad of ways these critical professionals help students, staff and communities succeed, but are too often overlooked. MORE
“An agreement such as this has been a long time coming for paraprofessionals in Peabody,” said Doreen Blaisdell, a Paraprofessional from the South Memorial Elementary School. “Pay for paras has dramatically increased in nearby communities in recent years and I am proud to see Peabody join that trend.” “Recent achievements such as the passage of the Student Opportunity Act and the Fair Share Amendment have provided our schools with the resources to finally take steps to recognize the critically important work done by paraprofessionals to support our students,” said Eric Blake, President of the Peabody Federation of Teachers. “The PFT appreciates the School Committee’s recognition of the importance of paraprofessionals.” MORE
“This contract was one of the strongest bargained in the past 20 years and was the result of an incredible team effort, solidarity of the faculty, and the overwhelming support of the students,” said Will Silvio, President of the Berklee Faculty Union, AFT Local 4412. Under the new contract, all faculty will receive a 3% raise each year and, additionally, a one-time 2% bonus in the first year. Meanwhile, the wages of the lowest-paid faculty members will increase by up to 19% over the same period due to adjustments to the minimum wage for each faculty rank. This provision is especially important for faculty who came to Berklee as part of the 2016 merger with Boston Conservatory. Additionally, part-time faculty who teach in the Boston Conservatory program will now be paid for office hours and department meetings, like other part-time Berklee faculty. "I'm thrilled we brought home a strong contract,” said Andrew Shryock, Secretary-Treasurer of the Berklee Faculty Union. “What's just as satisfying was to see so many people come together around a shared vision for Berklee where faculty can do their best work and provide a world-class experience for Berklee students.” MORE
The Commonwealth has taken a much-needed step in the direction of supporting our educators, students and communities with the passing of Question 1 – the Fair Share Amendment. Now that we’ve passed Question 1, we will have a fairer tax system, and an additional $2 billion in annual funding that will be a great boon to the state, and to future generations in Massachusetts.    “By passing Question 1, we’ve won an enormous victory for Massachusetts students, families, and educators that will reverberate for decades,” says Beth Kontos, President of AFT Massachusetts. “Starting next year, Massachusetts will have a fairer tax system and substantial new revenue to invest in our public schools, colleges, and transportation systems. Years from now, our communities will continue to see the benefits of better schools, safer roads, and a tax system that asks those at the very top to do their part. A huge thank you goes to all the AFT Massachusetts members who devoted their time to door-knocking, phone-banking, and conversations with neighbors to help push us over the finish line and deliver this historic win for Massachusetts.”   MORE
Public education in our country is in the midst of a crisis. Inadequate funding has led to steadily climbing classroom sizes, teacher shortages, and school buildings that are in disrepair or inadequate. Question 1 on the November ballot will help address these dire issues across the Commonwealth and give our educators and students the much-needed support they deserve.  The pandemic has tested many of us, and has seen the title of ‘hero’ bestowed on many people, including educators who had to figure out how to keep our kids learning and engaged in unprecedented circumstances.  MORE