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“As the People’s Lawyer, Maura has always stood up strong for Massachusetts students and educators. As our next Governor, she’ll bring Massachusetts together to build an equitable recovery in our schools,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “As Governor, Maura will invest in the academic supports, wraparound services, and mental health resources our students need to recover from the effects of the pandemic. She’s offering real solutions to close the opportunity gaps in our schools, and to make Massachusetts more affordable so that educators can afford to live and raise our families here. Maura Healey is the public school champion Massachusetts needs right now, and AFT Massachusetts is thrilled to endorse her as our next Governor.” “As our Attorney General, Maura took on Betsy DeVos and the Trump Administration to protect survivors of sexual assault. She led the fight against predatory student loan servicers like Navient, winning millions of dollars in restitution for Massachusetts borrowers who were cheated by deceptive practices,” said AFT Massachusetts Secretary-Treasurer Brant Duncan. “As Governor, she’ll fully fund the Student Opportunity Act, ensuring that students in every community have access to a well-rounded education with the resources they need to succeed. And under her leadership, state government will be a real partner with local communities to help improve our schools.” MORE
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations (DLR) found the Chelmsford School Committee guilty last week on 12 counts of violating labor law in the case involving then Chelmsford Federation of Teachers President Jennifer Salmon.  The DLR found that Ms. Salmon was both disciplined and placed on administrative leave in retaliation for her protected union activity in advocating for safety concerns of teachers.    “The school administration clearly trampled on the rights of the union president, who was simply trying to schedule a meeting with the school principal to discuss safety issues,” said Beth Kontos, president of the AFT Massachusetts. “The school department’s retaliation against the democratically-elected union president for her protected union activity was nothing short of egregious.”      MORE
AFT Massachusetts is excited to welcome two great new members to our statewide Executive Board! This month, Kim Wilson of the UMass Dartmouth Faculty Federation and Colleen LiPorto of the Lynn Teachers Union joined the board, which represents the 23,000 AFT members statewide. “I’m excited to welcome these two passionate and experienced local union leaders to the AFT Massachusetts Executive Board as we work to help our students recover from the effects of the pandemic, tackle the growing workforce crisis in our public education system, and organize to win more resources for public education from preK through college,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “Their experience, both in the classroom and as active union members, is critically important as we work to engage all of our members and organize together to protect public education.” MORE
The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program—with the changes that the AFT has secured through advocacy and litigation—is perhaps the single best opportunity to deliver money in our members’ pockets. So far, $7.3 billion has been forgiven for more than 127,000 public service workers. But there is limited time to act to secure these benefits. Specifically, the expanded opportunity to receive credit for past payments ends Oct. 31, 2022. That means AFT members must submit paperwork by this date—it’s not too late! The temporary expansion of Public Service Loan Forgiveness means more people are getting relief, including many who were previously denied for having the “wrong type” of loan or repayment plan. You must apply before October 31, 2022 to take advantage of this temporary PSLF expansion. Don’t wait! Sign up with Summer at and apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness today! Need more information? Attend an AFT student debt clinic webinar. MORE
The COVID-19 pandemic taught us important lessons about the impact of a public health crisis on public education and our health care system. The closing of schools and colleges — and then the dramatically altered ways in which they needed to operate under pandemic conditions — posed significant challenges for students, families, patients, and our communities. Yet we understood that failing to take bold steps to keep people safe during the pandemic would cause even deeper pain. Now we must treat gun violence as a national crisis. MORE
“Raising the cut scores required for high school graduation would have a harmful impact on the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable students, impairing their futures by potentially denying these students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma,” Kontos writes. “Instead of doubling down on a flawed test that promotes inequality … put your energies into developing more non-MCAS pathways to a high school diploma.” “How does the establishment of new barriers to a high school diploma square with DESE’s professed aim of advancing racial and social equity?” Kontos asks state officials. “Your proposal to raise the passing standard appears to be in direct conflict with your larger equity goals—and for that reason alone should be abandoned.” MORE
Kontos applauds DESE for its recent efforts to re-examine policies through a racial equity lens. But she asks: “Why has the accountability system—with its demonstrated racial and socioeconomic bias and clear mismeasurement of school quality—escaped this reckoning? Why does DESE continue to label and punish schools serving students of color based on biased, inaccurate, and discredited measures?” “It’s time to pause, reflect and reimagine school-accountability policy,” Kontos concludes. “We urge you to make that a top priority, and we look forward to being part of that work.” MORE
Join AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos and US Senator Ed Markey on May 25 at 5 p.m. via Zoom to learn about how we're organizing to win the Fair Share campaign on this November's statewide ballot! Find out about this once-in-a-generation opportunity to raise new revenue for Massachusetts public schools, colleges, roads, bridges, and public transportation, and learn how you can get involved in the campaign.   The Fair Share Amendment is a proposal to add a small tax on annual individual incomes exceeding $1 million. While the amendment is expected to impact fewer than 1% of taxpayers, it is projected to raise $1-2 billion each year for investments in transportation and public education. The Fair Share Amendment is on the ballot statewide on November 8, 2022. MORE

In response to a lawsuit filed by corporate lobbyists against the Fair Share Amendment, the question on this November's ballot that would generate over $1 billion a year to improve Massachusetts transportation and public education systems by creating a 4 percent tax on annual income above $1 million, the 23,000-member AFT Massachusetts today released the following statement from AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos:

"Massachusetts students are struggling to recover from the pandemic, drivers and bus riders all across the state are travelling on crumbling roads and bridges, and students at

​ “Earning a degree from a state college – which was once heralded as a pathway of opportunity – has become completely unfeasible for most middle-class families and students across Massachusetts,” says Dr. Grant O’Rielly, President of the UMass Dartmouth Faculty Federation. The new study from the Hildreth Institute, a local higher education policy think tank, found that tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges and universities have increased at one of the fastest rates in the nation, drastically exceeding family incomes. Since 2000, median family income in Massachusetts has risen only 13%, but even after adjusting for inflation, tuition and fees at Umass Dartmouth have increased by 57% – a $6,205 price hike. That's the second largest hike in the UMass system (behind UMass Lowell at 59.6%). “The faculty see it on our campuses and in our classrooms. Enrollment is down. Students and families are being told that in order to attend a state school, they’ll need to take out burdensome loans because even the maximum amount of state aid will cover only a fraction of their costs," says Dr. O’Rielly. "If we’re serious about supporting and lifting up families across the state and serious about ensuring that we prepare the youth of Massachusetts to contribute to the future economy of the Commonwealth – breaking down the barriers to public higher education is a critical first step.” MORE