E Bulletin #33 2011-12

03/20/2012
Good morning. 

Last week we negotiated all day Monday, a half day on Tuesday, and all day Saturday. We continue to negotiate this week and next with many more all-day sessions scheduled. We have made some progress to be sure, but a number of financial issues separate us. Chief among them is the school district's insistence that we work an extended day without compensation. We already work an extended day, and a new survey by Scholastic and the Gates Foundation reaffirms what we already know: Our school day extends well beyond the daily bell-to-bell schedule--in fact our work day typically extends more than three hours beyond the school day. See a report here by Washington blogger Valerie Strauss. 

The school department understands our position: We are professionals and our time and expertise should be compensated as in other fields.

Our events on Thursday of last week received widespread coverage in the Globe, the Herald, and many other media outlets. Our goal is to obtain a contract that is good for students, affordable to the city, and fair to our members. We thank you for your help and assistance and we will keep you posted as to developments. 

Congratulations to the Fenway and Brighton High Schools
We congratulate the girls' basketball team from the Fenway and the boys' from Brighton, each of whom made it to the state finals. Fenway girls are the Division 4 State Champs. Congratulations to the team, their coach, and the school. Brighton lost the state final in Division 2, but had a wonderful year winning five post-season games. Congratulations to the team, their coach, and the school. We are all proud of our city's sports teams!

New Mass TELL Survey is Out!

The Commonwealth, in collaboration with both state teacher unions, is embarking on a state survey for teachers to give feedback on teaching conditions at their school. The survey, "Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL)," is anonymous and follows another similar survey done a few years ago. Everything you need to know about the survey can be found here. The survey conveys invaluable information that is used to "assess teaching conditions at the school, district and state level." We urge that all members participate. Please see the letter from DESE Commissioner Chester here.

New BTU T-Shirts


The BTU has introduced a newly-designed T-shirt! We think you will love the new design. See the image at left -- or check out thisPDF for a larger version.

Order forms are available from the BTU office or by emailing Michael McLaughlinPlease order your shirts as soon as possible!

BEAM Conference

Black Educators' Alliance of Massachusetts 2012 Annual Conference: The Will to Act: Eliminating the Opportunity to Learn Gap

Saturday, March 24, 2012 from 8 am to 4:15 pm
Northeastern University, John D. O'Bryant Institute, 40 Leon Street

See flier here.

Education in the News: Understanding the War on Teachers


Here's some insight into the attacks faced by teachers and their unions recently by Mark Naison, professor of African and African American Studies at Fordham University in New York and chair of the department of African and African-American Studies:

"All over the nation, teachers are under attack. Politicians of both parties, in every state, have blamed teachers and their unions for the nation's low standing on international tests and our nation's inability to create the educated labor force our economy needs.
 
"Mass firings of teachers in so-called failing schools have taken place in municipalities throughout the nation and some states have made a public ritual of humiliating teachers. In Los Angeles and New York, teacher ratings based on student standardized test scores--said by many to be inaccurate--have been published by the press. As a result, great teachers have been labeled as incompetent and some are leaving the profession. A new study showed that teachers' job satisfaction has plummeted in recent years..."

Read more of Mark Naison's analysis on the Washington Post website.

Citywide Math Competition April 5; Sign up by March 26

All schools are invited to send a team or teams to the first-ever citywide math competition that will be held at the BTU Hall on March 26. Schools can send two teams of students representing grades 4-5, 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12. Each team can be composed of six students, spread out over the grades represented. Math RocksTo attend you must register here by Monday, March 26. The March 26 registration date is very important for planning purposes. When you register, please include the following: your school, your name, your cell number, and the number of students attending by grade level.

Any questions, email Richard Stutman or Linda Davenport.  PLEASE REMEMBER TO REGISTER BY MONDAY, MARCH 26. 

RTC Corner: Petition Drive to Increase COLA


Please sign a petition to increase the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) base for Boston municipal workers. It will affect everyone, not just retirees.
    
FYI:
  • Social Security benefits have a 100% COLA base
  • Federal employees receive a 100% COLA base
  • State employees and teachers in all other cities and towns, except Boston, will receive a COLA base of $13,000
  • Some cities and towns will provide incremental annual increases of $1,000/year, until they reach a base of $16,000
  • Some cities and towns already have a COLA base of $16,000
  • Some counties have a COLA base of $18,000
  • The City of Boston has only 3% on the first $12,000 of your pension. This is $360/year, or less than a $1.00/day
The RTC Chapter has organized a petition drive to urge the Boston Retirement Board to increase the COLA base to $16,000 as allowed under Chapter 188. Download a copy here, please, and send in any signatures you obtain to the RTC Office, c/o BTU. Or bring the signatures to the next BTU membership meeting. Thank you.

Para Statewide Conference


A tribute to paras!
 Please join us on Saturday, March 31 at the BTUHall for the AFTMA-BTU 26th Annual Paraprofessionals Statewide Conference.

Registration begins at 8:30 am with coffee and danishes. The conference goes until 3 pm. Register here by Friday, March 23.

Know Your Benefits: A Seminar Series


Retirement Seminar

Elementary Field Representative Michael McLaughlin is hosting one of his annual seminars on retirement, and all are welcomed to attend. The seminar will be held on March 27 at 4 PM at the BTUThis is a change in time. If you have any questions, please email Michaelhere. Please see the flier here

BTU HWF Announces Softball League Registration


The Boston Teachers Union Health and Welfare runs a softball leagueeach year in the spring. Every school is allowed to enter a team; we try to accommodate each team based on its dismissal time and the location or part of the city where the school is located.softball4

If your school does not have enough players that are interested in playing, you could try to join another school and have a combined team. If that does not work and you have several people that would like to play, contact Tom Boussy (617-786-0027 or 617-312-0270) and he will assign them to a team based on dismissal time and then on location. All teams must submit their application along with a fee of $50, which will be returned if you play all your games and do not forfeit any. The deadline for the applications to be submitted to the Health and Welfare department is the next BTU meeting on April 11.

Once again, there will be an early division (games starting around 3:00) and a late division (games starting around 4:30), with games being played weekdays after school during the weeks between the April vacation and early June. New teams and new players are welcome to this "recreational" league fostering friendly and enjoyable competition. Call the BTU Health and Welfare Fund Office at 617-288-0500 and leave your name and phone number if you are a player looking for a team or if your team is looking for players.

* The season will tentatively start the week of April 23.

OIIT Laptop Update


Laptops for Learning (L4L) Update: Annual Laptop Registration
On March 19, OIIT launched an updated registration application to all L4L laptops as part of the annual laptop registration process. All L4L users are required to update their laptop registration information by Wednesday, April 25. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete and requires a reboot of the laptop. 

Please note that after the April 25 deadline, OIIT will collect laptops that have not been registered to run routine maintenance and software updates. As part of this process, data will unfortunately be lost. OIIT will redistribute laptops to teachers as quickly as possible.

If you have any registration questions, please contact the OIIT Service Desk at 617-635-9200.

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Sincerely,

   

   Richard StutmanFollow us on Twitter
President
Boston Teachers Union
rstutman@btu.org
617-288-2000