With Question 2 Defeated, MA Teachers Turn To Ambitious Legislative Agenda

December 14, 2016

With Question 2 Defeated, MA Teachers Turn To Ambitious Legislative Agenda. Having successfully maintained the cap on the number of charter schools in the state, the Massachusetts Teachers Association is hoping to use that momentum to push a package of bills through the state legislature.

The agenda was approved this month by the union’s board of directors but has not been made public until now.

The nine-page document describes a membership that is “tremendously energized as never before” and ready to create schools that are “fully funded, safe, accessible places of joy.”

To achieve its goals, MTA plans to craft three omnibus bills that address K-12 education, higher education, and retired public employees. A fourth package of bills would help institute a constitutional amendment creating a tax on incomes over $1 million, a $15 minimum wage, and paid family medical leave. The constitutional amendment was approved by the Legislature last May, but must receive legislative approval again next year before being placed before voters.

Among other things, the K-12 bill would eliminate “incursions on collective bargaining,” place a moratorium on high-stakes testing, limit class size in special education inclusion settings, and mandate recess.

The higher education bill would require the state’s community colleges to hire 250 tenure-track faculty each year for four years, and 250 full-time support and professional staff.

The retiree bill would increase the cost-of-living allowance base from $13,000 to $16,000 and freeze retiree premium contribution rates permanently.

Despite these ambitious plans, MTA also expects to have to play defense. “Even with an overwhelmingly Democratic majority in the Legislature, proposals to undermine the rights and working conditions of our members present a constant threat, particularly in the more conservative House,” the document states. “We need to demand that legislators stand with us in support of public education and hold them accountable for their actions or inactions.”

Recent Intercepts. EIA’s daily blog, Intercepts, covered these topics December 1-13:

* NEA 2017 Leadership Summit Sessions. “Using ESSA to Recruit, Empower, Engage, and Influence Members to be Actively Involved.

* Plan Your Next Edu-Getaway! No more trips to Finland.

* Today I Received an E-Mail from the Past. NEA’s predictions for the future didn’t quite come true.

* Finnish Off. In a twist, the Finns learn something from us.

* Fight to the Finnish. Diane Ravitch did not read her morning newspaper.

* Nebraska State Education Association Names a Free Thinker as Executive Director. “It is time for our union to evolve.”

* Pro-Labor Voices Call For a Revolution in Union Thinking. It has to happen eventually, doesn’t it?

* NEA Promotes Chief Lobbyist. One step up.

* A New Mobile-Friendly Look For Intercepts. Your phone, tablet and eyeballs now feel better.

Quote of the Week. “School choice is a joke … if you’re competing for crumbs, what are you getting? Or if you’re competing to take the best kids out, then what are you leaving behind? School choice is a misnomer. There is no such thing.” – Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union. (November 30 WTTW’s Chicago Tonight)