BEA’s Zoom Meetings with the Braintree Community

The Braintree Education Association will be hosting online meetings to discuss budget cuts and the BEA. Please see below for two upcoming zoom meetings. All Braintree community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

When: Sunday May 2, 2021 @ 7:00pm

Zoom Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81173596116…

Meeting ID: 811 7359 6116

Passcode: 316727

OR

When: Monday May 3, 2021 @ 8:00pm

Zoom Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83541941120…

Meeting ID: 835 4194 1120

Passcode: 916254

Braintree Educators Vote No Confidence in School Committee

Responding to the Braintree School Committee’s unilateral decision to hastily return high-school students to full in-person learning next week and other students shortly thereafter, members of the Braintree Educators Association overwhelmingly voted no confidence in the committee.

“We want to do more in-person learning, but to do it effectively and safely, we need extensive planning and preparation among all of the stakeholders,” said BEA President Truong Dinh. “The committee and Mayor Kokoros are upending existing plans that educators and administrators put in place just last month. This continues a troubling pattern of committee members ignoring the expertise and perspective of dedicated career educators.”

The BEA has raised concerns with how students could be returned to schools in a manner that conforms with COVID-19 guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The decision to bring back older students first is also in conflict with the state’s guidance to initially increase in-person learning for elementary school students.

The BEA outlined its concerns in a letter to the committee following the vote of no confidence.

The BEA maintains that there are far too many unresolved issues around the academic, health and safety needs of students and educators to realistically return to more in-person learning as early as March 15, which is the date set by the School Committee for high-school students to return to fully in-person learning.

The BEA remains committed to bargaining with the School Committee over plans to safely and effectively increase in-person learning for our students.

Say Their Names

The following message was sent to MTA members today by President Merrie Najimy and Vice President Max Page:

George Floyd. Say his name.

Breonna Taylor. Say her name.

Tony McDade. Say his name.

Those are the names of black lives murdered at the hands of the police in just the last few weeks. The list of state violence perpetrated against black and brown lives is long, centuries long. There are “many thousand gone,” in the words of a 19th-century African American folk song.

To our black educators, students, families and communities: Your pain, exhaustion, fear, rage and outrage are real. You have been brutalized for generations. Your cries, your grief, and your movements to demand justice and liberation have been met with brute force at every turn. The MTA stands with you — in love and solidarity — to fight for justice and liberation.

Writing this message is difficult — because of the horror of the murder of yet another black man in America, but also because it feels increasingly impossible to say anything that does not stop with rage, or engage in empty rhetoric, or traffic in false hope. We can be nearly certain that this is not the last time we will say the name of another black person who died at the hands of the police.

As the scholar and activist Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor recently wrote, the fact of George Floyd’s death “amid a pandemic that has taken the life of one out of every 2,000 African Americans is a chilling affirmation that black lives still do not matter in the United States.”

And while it is difficult to write this message, it is also necessary.

It is necessary for us to understand that Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee is that of the larger economic system of capitalism that was built with white supremacy and racism at its core. It is a system that devalues and dehumanizes black and brown lives.

“And our president calls for doubling down on militarism as his solution. We say NO.”
The system allows for police to brutalize and kill black and brown bodies with impunity.

The system disinvests in public schools, leaving students of color to languish in rodent- and mold-infested buildings; militarizing schools with security systems and police instead of fortifying them with student support services and Education Support Professionals; subjecting students to rigid accountability systems; operating on a curriculum of colonization; measuring “performance” by standardized tests founded in the eugenics movement; constructing a pipeline to prison instead of to college or to dignified employment; and marking districts as failed and turning them over to privatization.

The system divests from public colleges and universities, leaving all students — especially black and brown students — carrying crushing debt, cutting essential programs, and exploiting the labor of professors through adjunctification. The system divests from public health, human services, housing and jobs, leaving black and brown communities living with food and housing insecurity, breathing polluted air, drinking poisoned water and facing countless conditions that leave their residents in poor health and disproportionately at risk of illness and disease.

The system invests in prisons and militarism, separating families through incarceration and deportation, imprisoning people of color at disproportionate rates, caging immigrant children, and detaining immigrant parents.

And our president calls for doubling down on militarism as his solution. We say NO.

To our white members: We call on you to look again inward at your own privilege and outward to the ways that you can — you must — be a part of the struggle to upend the oppression built into our society’s institutions. Deciding to sit out this moral responsibility as a union member is not an option. As Ibram X. Kendi has written, “There is no sideline to this struggle.”

You have the power to break down the systems of oppression, when you are ready to become allies, accomplices and co-conspirators for justice and liberation. You are not in it alone. You have each other and you have the MTA. We are committed to helping you learn and grow into these roles.

The murder of George Floyd occurred even as many of us were engaged in a profound act of collective solidarity — staying apart in order to protect our friends, families and neighbors. There is a glimmer there.

We can build on this collectivity to reimagine what our schools look like when we return so that we finally, finally upend the structural racism that creates racial inequities between one district and another, between one student and another. We can rid ourselves of the tests that have served to denigrate people of color and their schools and narrow the citizens we hope to raise. We can upend a Commonwealth that spends more on its prisons than it does on its 29 public colleges and universities.

Stone memorials that sit in corners of parks are where memory goes to die.

The only true memorial to George Floyd and the “many thousand gone” that we, union members and educators, can build is to transform public education, the Commonwealth and the country to be places where black and brown lives matter.

In love and solidarity,

Merrie and Max

MTA leadership: ‘We are in this together’

 

We are in an extraordinary time. But we are in it together. During this global pandemic, we need physical distancing but social connection. So many MTA locals are finding ways to create social connections among members, with students and their families, and in their communities. The MTA is doing that too!

This post is the first of what will be regular website updates for you, our members, on some of the most important issues and actions as we all, together, support each other through this crisis. Very soon we will share other technological means by which we can all stay in touch and share how we are helping our students, members and all of our families survive and thrive through the pandemic.

Today we want to share with you a set of common good demands  — demands for our public schools and colleges, for all workers and for our communities — that we have gathered from our many conversations and email exchanges with all of you, as well as through conversations with our many union and social justice partners in the state and across the country. This is a living document, meant to be updated as the situation changes.

Indeed, through your advocacy and organizing, we have already achieved some of the demands in this document, including a statewide closure of schools and commitments from most communities and campuses around paying all workers during this crisis.

But we felt that as the largest union in New England, we needed to take a stand early in this crisis about what public education needs, and what the communities in which we live need, in the short term and as the impact of the pandemic is felt in the months ahead.

Check back on this website regularly so you can be in dialogue with us as the MTA organizes for the common good of our members and all of our communities.

In solidarity,

Merrie Najimy
MTA President

Max Page
MTA Vice President

Speak Up for the Student Opportunity Act

Please act now! We have a once-in-a-generation chance to improve the way public schools are funded in Massachusetts, but your state representative needs to hear from you now!

The Student Opportunity Act would implement the recommendations of the 2015 Foundation Budget Review Commission and increase state education aid to local schools by $1.5 billion over inflation by 2027. The Massachusetts Senate passed it unanimously on Oct. 3, and the Massachusetts House of Representatives is likely voting this month.

Please ask your State Representative to support the Student Opportunity Act as passed by the Senate!

Download a Fact Sheet About the Student Opportunity Act

Send an email letter to your state representative here!

Red for Ed Rally

You’ve seen it in Arizona, Oakland, and Oklahoma–now its OUR TURN!

On Thursday May 16th teachers from around the state will gather at the State House to DEMAND that our public schools are FULLY FUNDED. As it stands, our state government is under-funding public education by more than $1-2 BILLION a year. For Braintree alone that is a loss of $4,043,481!

Imagine what we could do with the funding we deserve. We could fix that leaky roof, replace moldy carpets, remove asbestos, solve heating/cooling issues, purchase technology, books, and classroom supplies. These funds would not only help us fix existing problems, but would help us prepare for future success in a rapidly growing district. I know we are all proud to work with what we have, but imagine if we had what we actually needed???

Maybe you think, “Well, I’ve got it pretty good in Braintree.” Maybe you don’t need more support, classroom supplies, or technology. If that’s the case, then consider students and teachers in nearby Brockton. If our campaign is successful it would mean an additional $46,484,084 for their district!!!

Please wear RED and join us in demonstrating to our legislators that WE WILL FIGHT to preserve public education and the success of our students.

In Solidarity,

Katie, Rachel and Taylor