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RTA – Revere Teachers Association

Revere Teachers with Big Ideas for Education

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On August 4 the Massachusetts Teachers Association hosted their third annual Ed Talks program at Summer Conference in Williamstown, and two of the speakers were RTA members!

Congratulations to Nancy Barile and Mary Porter on fantastic talks about engaging and empowering urban students.

Watch the these TED Talk style presentations on the Massachusetts Teachers Association YouTube channel.

Improved Newsletter Sign-up

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Submit your information at revereteachers.org/newsletter to keep up to date with RTA news.

You can use the same form to update your contact information.

Thank You!

Flexible Spending Accounts

Enrollment in 2015 Flexible Spending Accounts closes in one week: November 21. 2014.

Flexible Spending Accounts are a way to set aside money for medical or dependent care expenses before taxes, making your money go farther. It is a great way to save money on predictable expenses.

This year Cafeteria Plan Advisors, who administer FSAs for Revere, are introducing the Debit Card option for medical claims. You fill out the enrollment form, your pre-tax pay is reduced for calendar year 2015, and you receive a debit card with a value equal to the full plan amount, usable any time after January 1.

Setting aside a $1000 FSA will put a $19.25 weekly deduction on your paycheck, but will only reduce your take-home pay by ~$13.50, saving you about $300 over the course of the year. Money left in the FSA at the end of the plan year is lost, but vendors like fsastore.com make it easy to spend down the last of your plan amount.

First Time Enrollment

Re-enroll for 2015

Malden Forum Canceled

After pulling back from the policy options related to performance based licensure, DESE has cancelled the forum that was scheduled for Wednesday night. Thanks to 70+ Revere teachers who were ready to go and let DESE know what we think. We will have harder fights in front of us with a governor who campaigned on opening 50 charter schools across the commonwealth. Thank you again for your enthusiasm. If you did not get the email from MTA President Barbara Madeloni and Vice President Janet Anderson, please read their thoughts on this successful rallying of support for Massachusetts educators.

We fought back! We won!
Last Friday, DESE agreed to withdraw all plans to link your license to your evaluation. Today, DESE canceled the Malden Town Hall forum on licensure and is likely to cancel the one in Bridgewater. The MTA is therefore CANCELING all collective member actions related to the Town Halls in Malden and Bridgewater. (If the Bridgewater event is not canceled, we will have members inside the event asking tough questions and speaking their minds.)We won because you spoke out against these ill-conceived proposals – and were preparing to turn out in big numbers at the Town Hall events. Take time to recharge your batteries because there will be more fights to come.

What did we learn? Here are some of our thoughts. We will be curious to hear yours.

We need to fight in order to win. Even if we fight we may not always win, but if we don’t fight we can’t win.

We won because members acted. We in leadership provided you with ways to act, and our field reps, communications and research operations helped arm us with the information and arguments we needed. But it was member power that turned the tide. Mitchell Chester told The Boston Globe that “99.99 percent” of the feedback was critical of DESE’s proposal.

We have to move quickly and forcefully. It has been less than a month since DESE leaders unveiled their proposal and we’ve already won (at least round one). They were shocked at the response. They aren’t used to us fighting. If we had taken months to gear up we would have had a much harder time mobilizing members, and a harder time winning. We need to continue to connect with each other, talk in our buildings and strengthen the relationships that will allow us to respond even more quickly and forcefully next time -because we all know there will be a next time, if not on licensure then on other issues.

We won because of our solidarity. This time solidarity was easy. DESE was going after all of us. Next time the attack might hit some members earlier and harder than it hits others, and some members might think they can escape. As a union, we have to support each other and not let them pick off the most vulnerable, whether the issue is charter schools, or Level 4 and 5 schools, or ESPs, or adjuncts.

It ain’t over even when it’s over. We have to stay vigilant. We’ve killed this proposal for now, but it won’t be a surprise if an effort is made to bring back some modified version. The forces going after educators, unions, and public education won’t let up – and neither can we.

In solidarity,

Barbara and Janet

Licensure Feedback Forum Details

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Wednesday November 19th is the next feedback forum on proposed changes to educator licensure. The proposed options link earning or renewing a license to educator evaluations, student test scores, student survey results, or a combination of the three. The premise of linking basic qualifications and measures of outcomes in individual classrooms is absurd. Beyond this, the gains we have made in building an educator growth system in Revere are lost when critiques would lead to lost credentials. The use of MCAS data to revoke teaching licenses creates a perverse incentive to avoid teaching in any high need district. We need to show the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that the feedback from professionals is against these changes because they threaten the good work we do.

This forum has been filled to capacity for weeks, but the MTA is organizing locals to bring additional educators to provide feedback to DESE. The first hour of the forum is a large group presentation, Q&A, and survey, and more than the stated capacity have been let in at other sites. Wednesday’s forum is at Malden High School, which has the potential to hold far more than registered participants.

The RTA, with Dr. Dakin’s help, has arranged for a bus from Revere High to Malden High. We will be gathering at 3:45 in the RHS parking lot, and returning at approximately 5:30 – a little later if we are allowed into the forum, a little earlier if we are only part of the MTA rally outside.

Please let your building rep know if you will be able to join us next Wednesday, and whether that will be at 4:15 at Malden High, or 3:45 to take the bus from RHS.
Even if you can’t make the forum, consider sending an email to the Commissioner, the Associate Commissioner who will run the forum, and BESE members by visiting the MTA Capwiz Email Tool.

MTA will be providing small signs and some sign making materials for use at the rally. You are also welcome to make your own. It would be great to get out a unique, student-centered, and positive message about why we oppose these changes.

Thank you,

Erik

 

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