top of page
  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

July 12 EBulletin

Things are moving rapidly nationally, at the state level, and locally, and these developments set the context for our ongoing negotiations with the SC.

The NTA is in ongoing negotiations with the SC and Central Administration. I will discuss where these negotiations stand, and next steps.

Meanwhile, leaders of the MTA, along with leaders from the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts and the Boston Teachers Union, are in ongoing deliberations with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding DESE's reopening guidelines, and have proposed a "phased in" approach to reopening schools. The extent to which they are successful in these deliberations will bear upon our ability to negotiate a safer, more sustainable, more reasonable reentry plan here in Newton.

So there is much to consider, and I ask you to bear with the length of this post.

First, the context for negotiations:

There is an ongoing and evolving national, indeed international, debate about if and how to reopen public schools safely.

  • The World Health Organization finally acknowledged, after extensive pressure from the international scientific community, that SARS-CoV-2 is spread through aerosols. SARS-CoV-2 aerosols remain airborne for up to three hours. This means the quality of air circulation and filtration, the number of people breathing in the spaces in a building, and the length of time the spaces in those buildings are occupied together have more bearing on the spread of the virus than current CDC and DESE guidelines take into account. In fact, the DESE guidelines explicitly state that the total number of students in a classroom should not be a factor in district reentry plans, except insofar as the 3' distancing guideline restrict the total number of students that will fit in one room. (The CDC guidelines still recommend a 6' distance between people "where feasible.")

  • President Trump said he will pressure governors to reopen schools. Florida governor Ron DeSantis has already issued an executive order that schools must reopen for all students, although "neither the governor, nor the White House, can force school districts to open in Florida" ("Gov. Ron DeSantis Doubles Down on Schools Reopening Full Time in August.")

  • Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos threaten to withhold federal funding to states that refuse although it is unlikely they actually have that power, unless they are willing to withhold funding for our most vulnerable students.

  • Trump leaned on the CDC to change the guidelines for reopening schools, claiming they are “very tough & expensive guidelines,” which he said asked schools “to do very impractical things.

  • The New York Times revealed internal documents that make clear "that federal health experts are using a road map that is vastly different from what Mr. Trump wanted," including making "suggestions for mitigating the risk of school reopenings [that] would be expensive and difficult for many districts, like broad testing of students and faculty and contact tracing to find people exposed to an infected student or teacher." Indeed, it will be expensive. According to an estimate from AASA, the School Superintendents Association, "[a]n average-size district of 3,700 students can expect $1.8 million in pandemic-related costs for 2020-21, representing 3 to 4 percent of a typical annual budget" (from "Big Mess," cited below). Newton has over three times that many students. Moreover, the AASA estimate does not does not include the cost for testing and contact tracing the CDC hidden document recommends. The DESE guidelines are nearly silent on testing and contact tracing.

  • In fact, there is growing awareness that schools cannot reopen safely without additional federal funding for states and municipalities ("'Big Mess' Looming if Schools don't Get Billions to Reopen Safely"). As one teacher quoted in this NYTimes article said: “It’s incredible to me that the federal government would see the necessity of bailing out airlines and banks,” said Adam Goldstein, a fifth-grade teacher in San Diego, “and not see the need to do something similar for the public schools in this country.”

  • Already, school districts across the country are defying the federal government. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans for the New York City Public Schools to reopen following a hybrid model, with students attending school in smaller groups one to three days a week, though Governor Cuomo reserved his right to determine whether schools across the state will even open at all.

Pushback against the DESE guidelines is growing:

  • There is at best, no consensus on the medical evidence supporting the guidelines. I have spoken with a number of medical professionals who work in epidemiology and infectious diseases. Their opinions of the DESE guidelines, frankly, varied widely. But the statement one made to me confidentially hit home. I paraphrase: DESE had a plan. They then shopped for the medical evidence that supported that plan and ignored evidence that counter-indicated doing so. 

  • Some medical professionals are speaking out, and it is likely that more will follow. For instance, Julia Kohler, the chair of the Immigrant Health Committee of the Massachusetts Chapter of the AAP, and a Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist, wrote this letter to Dr. Sara Goza, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, expressing her concerns about the role the AAP guidelines for reopening schools played in the creation of the DESE guidelines. She enumerates and elaborates three concerns about the guidelines:

    • assumptions about SARS-CoV-2 infections in pediatric populations, for which evidence is insufficient at best, are stated as facts in this Guidance;

    • the Guidance lacks consideration of the stark differences between schools in wealthy and in white school districts compared to those in poor, Black, Native American or immigrant communities; and 

    • the Guidance was written without engaging other professionals in the schools, with whom we as pediatricians will do well to maintain a mutually informative, supportive and respectful dialog.

  • The claims that DESE makes are often not even supported by the evidence they cite. A music teacher (!) from Canton examined each of the footnotes in the DESE guidelines, stating the DESE claim, the type of evidence footnoted (e.g., CDC guidelines, state guidelines, newspaper article, peer reviewed journal article, non-peer reviewed journal article, etc.), contextualized the evidence (sample size, whether the author(s) presented contradicting evidence, type of evidence, time and location of study, etc.,), whether the evidence supported DESE's claims (of 81 claims, only 59 were fully supported by the evidence, others had partial to limited support, 7 claims were not supported by the evidence.)

  • Lexington Public Schools has decided that it will not comply with the requirement to present three plans for fall reopening. Lexington will only develop plans for hybrid and fully remote learning. They do not believe that a plan to fully open schools could be safe for students or staff. In spite of the fact that Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley personally pressured Superintendent Julie Hackett to prepare a plan for a full reopening, local president Sarah Avon Lewis says the district will not do so.

  • Even in a state where infection rates are as low as they are Massachusetts, the only prudent path to reopening schools is to adopt either a hybrid model or a fully remote learning model. Put differently, the evidence I have reviewed tells me that even if the Newton Public Schools could comply completely with DESE's guidelines for reopening schools to all students early this fall, this would still be a poor choice, both in terms of the physical health and safety of students and staff, as well as students' and our own social and emotional well-being. Specifically, in any consideration of having in person learning, hybrid models for remote learning mitigate the risk of school transmission of the virus by a much higher factor than any models that return all students to school full time. This is measured in terms of how much longer each of these models is able to prevent cases from appearing in schools. The issue is not just how many students you can bring back and how quickly; the issue is how safe you can make them and staff while they are there, and how long you can keep the schools open. Students will be in school more--even if it is only one to three days per week, if we can keep them there sustainably--and that is arguably much more important to their social and emotional well-being, as well as their academic growth, than going back to school and then quickly having schools shut down. (See this excellent study commissioned for the Pennsylvania Public Schools, which has guided my thinking on these issues. It includes the most measured and judicious review of the medical evidence about school reopening I have been able to find, and it provides an excellent method for assessing the effectiveness of different approaches to mitigating the risk of school transmission of SARS-CoV-2.)

NTA Negotiations with the District: As you are aware, Superintendent Fleishman has created four planning committees that are working on a reopening plan: Operations, Pre-K - 5, Middle School, and High School. David has charged the member of these committees with creating three reentry plans: one for all students to return at the same time, one for students to return under a hybrid schedule, and one for students to continue exclusively with remote learning. We have included the names of NTA members on the planning teams on our NTA website. Go to the NTA homepage and hover over the reopening planning tab to find the committee you wish to view. Parallel to this, the NTA is negotiating with the district around the broader parameters of any contractual changes that must be made for the 2020-2021 school year, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 adjustments to teaching and learning. You can find the names of members of our negotiations team on the same webpage. 1. On July 2, we submitted a "demand to bargain" letter that indicates the scope of the issues the NTA and NPS need to negotiate: 

  • Learning Model(s);

  • timing of return to school buildings;

  • schedule;

  • health and safety practices, protocols, and equipment;

  • changes in teaching and learning practices;

  • accommodations, sick time, and leaves of absence;

  • evaluation;

  • professional development; and

  • any and all other topics that relate to our members working conditions.

2. On that same date, we also submitted a 150e information request that focuses primarily on operational plans for reopening. 3. We have bargained twice, once in an exploratory matter primarily with Central Administrators to explore what we thought needed to be bargained, and a second time, after we submitted our list of issues, with members of the SC negotiations team, David Fleishman, Jill Murray, and Toby Romer.  We prepared a bargaining proposal on Learning Models which we shared with the Committee, which follows below. It is important to note that our proposal is provisional. It is based on feedback we gathered from members through our focus groups, individual conversations with many members, consultation with the MTA, consultation with medical professionals, analysis of the DESE guidelines and comparisons with other state reopening guidelines--and much collaboration. It is a work in progress.  Our intent is to provide scaffolding for discussions in the Superintendent's planning committees, with the hope of focussing those meetings around a charge that is less amorphous than providing three plans to DESE, one of which we already know is simply untenable. Our charge, as NTA members, is to collaborate fully and completely in the process of formulating a reentry plan that best meets the needs of Newton's students, families, and educators. That collaboration includes meeting at the bargaining table and working together with the district to determine how best to do just that as well as collaborating in the planning teams. Unfortunately, both the Newton Teachers Association and the Newton Public Schools have been provided weak guidance by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We must proceed with careful and cautious skepticism regarding those guidelines. You will see that there is a good deal of detail in how a NPS hybrid model would look. In general, the advantage of any hybrid model over a model that brings all students back at once is that it allows for fewer students to be in school at one time, thus mitigating risk. And a well-designed hybrid model allows for a smoother transition from remote learning to in person learning.  But there are also two real drawbacks to a hybrid model: 1. Educators cannot do two jobs at one time: they cannot teach one cohort of students in person and another cohort remotely at the same time.  2. Any hybrid model has educators and families working ten days every two week, and students attending school five days every two weeks. This puts an tremendous burden on families with children, especially young children. We go into a good deal of detail because we believe the model we are proposing best addresses these shortcomings.  Please bear this mind as you read the proposal below. ***** Members of the School Committee and Superintendent Fleishman: As we stated in our “demand to bargain” letter of July 2, 2020, the NTA asserts its right to bargain the following issues:

  • Learning Model(s);

  • timing of return to school buildings;

  • schedule;

  • health and safety practices, protocols, and equipment;

  • changes in teaching and learning practices;

  • accommodations, sick time, and leaves of absence;

  • evaluation;

  • professional development; and

  • any and all other topics that relate to our members working conditions.

In this communication, please find the Association’s initial proposal regarding the learning model for the 2020-2021 school year.  Proposal #1: It is neither safe nor sustainable to return all students to school at the beginning of the 2020 academic year. To this end, The NTA proposes that the NPS and the NTA plan exclusively for a hybrid model and a distance learning model. The guiding principle of both the distance learning and hybrid models is to create a sustainable, safe and consistent experience for students, family, and staff. Any plan that brings all students back at the same time will result in students spending less time in school throughout the course of the year than a robust and well-designed hybrid plan that is paired with a distance learning plan.  It is absolutely essential to give full consideration to the evidence that any hybrid learning plan mitigates school based transmission up to five times more effectively than the best laid and best executed plan that brings all students back at the same time; based on the evidence that supports this conclusion, there are no reasonable grounds for planning for a full return of students at the same time. If, and when, through a hybrid reopening, we have been able to keep students in schools for an extended period of time, without the schools themselves becoming a source of community spread in their own right, then we will be able to carefully bring individual cohorts of students back into the schools for more extended in-school learning, allowing sufficient time after each change to measure effectively the impact of taking these next steps in reopening. In short, the NTA acknowledges that the uncertain public health circumstances that we all face this coming school year will call on educators to plan for and engage in both distance learning and in-school learning. The NTA proposal addresses this need in the following proposal. First, both educators and students must be allowed to choose to participate in either a hybrid learning model or an exclusively distance learning model—a “Distance Learning Academy.”  If there are more educator applicants to participate in the Distance Learning Academy than the district can accommodate, then the NTA and the district will, by mutual agreement, determine a fair and impartial method for determining who may exercise the option to participate exclusively in distance learning. This method would prioritize applicants based on the following criteria:

  1. Educators who are at high risk or who are caring for someone who is at high risk based on medical criteria that the NTA and NPS agrees are fair and reasonable.

  2. Educators who are caring for young children at home, especially single parents.

  3. Educators who are caring for older children at home, especially single parents.

Second, the hybrid model shall be an A/B hybrid, with the following characteristics (not exhaustive):

  • Students will alternate days between classroom instruction and remote instruction on a two week rotation:

  • A- week 1, in school M, W (half day), TR; week 2, M, TR

  • B - week 2, in school T, F; week 2, T, W (half day), F

  • Math, English/Literacy, Science, and Social Studies taught in school

  • Electives taught remotely

  • Students receive support in their major subjects remotely on the days they are not in school (e.g., office hours; small group instruction, special education academic services).

    • Student schedules shall be shortened so that classroom educators have time at the end of the day for professional planning (see below) and time for support of students who do not attend classes in school that day.

    • Could be small group work for one or two groups, or office hours.

There shall also be a Group C for students who must attend school every day. The planning committees will determine which groups of students and educators should be in Group C, which would meet in school every day. Possible candidate groups:

  • Programs for students with moderate and severe disabilities

  • Prek

  • Kindergarten, first, second grade?

  • ELL

The planning committees will make these decisions based on student need as well as feasibility, that is, space, and personnel (e.g., kindergarten class size would need to be reduced, requiring space and teachers/teaching assistants). The A/B hybrid model will share many of the characteristics of an exclusively distance learning model. In fact, the goal will be to develop a distance learning model and Hybrid Model that essentially run “parallel” to each other. Examples of shared characteristics (not exhaustive).

  • Bi-weekly Learning plans every Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. to students using templates

  • Asynchronous and synchronous remote supports for students

  • Focus on connection, relationships, and social emotional well-being of students

  • Enhanced accountability measures for students relative to the spring 2020 Distance Learning Plan, and more structured learning time, both remotely and in-school (when the latter is possible)

  • Coordinators/coaches/literacy specialists continue to develop bi-weekly lesson plans formatted Monday through Friday. (following practice from spring)

  • Educators would be given latitude to develop alternative forms of instruction and share best practices (e.g., interdisciplinary project based learning) to increase student engagement and connection (group projects)

Time on Learning

  • Maximum of 4.5 hours in-school time on learning on M, T, TR, F, and 2 1/2 hours on Wednesday.

  • Allocation of time at the end of the in-school day for teachers to interface with students who were not in school that day.

  • Remote morning meeting/advisory meeting with all students every day

Sample elementary schedule (M, T, TR, F) 8:00 educator arrival 8:10-8:20 student arrival 8:20-8:50 Morning Meeting, all class, zoom in students doing remote learning 8:50-12:50, academics, snack, recess 12:50-1:05 dismissal for students; bag/box lunches distributed 1:05-1:35 staff lunch 1:35-3:00 professional planning, one small group Zoom meeting (30 minutes maximum) Sample middle school schedule (M, T, TR, F) 8:00-8:45 educator arrival/professional planning 8:45-9:00 student arrival 9:00-9:15 advisory/homeroom 9:25-1:25 academics, snack, recess 1:25-1:40 dismissal for students; bag/box lunches distributed 1:40-2:10 staff lunch 2:10-3:00 professional planning, Zoom office hours/small group lessons (30 minutes maximum)  Sample high school schedule (M, T, TR, F) 8:00-9:10 educator arrival/professional planning 9:10-9:25 student arrival 9:25-9:40 advisory/homeroom 9:50-1:50 academics, snack/bag lunch 1:50-2:20 lunch 2:20-3:00 Zoom office hours/small group lessons Sample elementary schedule (W) 8:00 educator arrival 8:10-8:20 student arrival 8:20-8:50 Morning Meeting, all class, zoom in students doing remote learning 9:00-11:00, academics, snack, recess 11:00-11:15 dismissal for students; bag/box lunches distributed 11:15-11:45 staff lunch 11:45-3:15 Professional Planning and meetings Sample middle school schedule (W) 8:00-8:45 educator arrival, professional planning 8:45-9:00 student arrival 9:00-9:15 advisory/homeroom 9:25-11:25 academics, snack, recess 11:25-11:40 dismissal for students; bag/box lunches distributed 11:40-12:10 staff lunch 12:10-3:00 Professional Planning and meetings Sample high school schedule (W) 8:00-9:10 educator arrival/professional planning 9:10-9:25 student arrival 9:25-9:40 advisory/homeroom 9:50-11:50 academics, snack/bag lunch 11:50-12:20 dismissal for students; bag/box lunches distributed 12:20-12:50 staff lunch 1:00-3:15 professional planning, meetings Third, the hybrid model facilitates a smooth transition between in-school instruction and Distance Learning. The Distance Learning Academy would share most of the features of the hybrid model:

  • Alternating days of general education instruction and specialist instruction

  • Shared curriculum

  • General education educators would be assigned to school based teams

  • Students would participate in specialist classes with students who are receiving general education instruction in school, thus establishing connection to their neighborhood peers, and facilitating transition into schools should they choose.

Students who are receiving general education instruction in school could easily transition into distance learning should they need to quarantine—as an individual, class, grade level cohort, or school.  Proposal #2: “All Hands on Deck” to support students: All educators in the district will be assigned to work with a cohort of students. They will be these students’, and their families’, liasons/social workers/coaches. Estimating the number of educators and the number of students, this model would require every educator to take responsibility for up to six students. Responsibilities:

  • Contact every student every day, at least initially.

  • Assist students in planning for the two week learning period.

  • Assist with understanding learning platforms, troubleshooting or triage technical difficulties, scheduling work.

  • Coach students. Contact students every day to check in, make sure students are attending classes, doing homework, getting up on time (particularly on days off to keep a continuity of schedule). 

  • Coach parents. Support parents to support their children

  • Attend weekly peer supervision groups, with opportunities to share experiences and best practices, triage interventions, etc.

MTA, AFT Mass, and BTU negotiations with Commissioner Riley and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The MTA is advocating for a phased reopening of schools that realistically assesses the needs of educators, students, and families to begin school again this fall after the traumatic events of the last four months. Here are the proposal they are advocating for on our behalf:

MTA/AFT/BTU Public School Reopening Proposals to DESE July 9, 2020 The unions reserve the right to add to, delete from and further modify this proposal. Background and Context In the same way that the state is taking a deliberate and careful approach to reopening the economy, the state must take an equally deliberate and careful approach to reopening our public schools. Having spent approximately 25 percent of the 2019-2020 school year in crisis mode and learning remotely, , all of our students — regardless of socioeconomic status or race — will be coming back with social, emotional and academic needs that we don’t yet fully understand. The nearly 390,000 students whose families are at 185 percent of the federal poverty level under the Student Opportunity Act will have even more acute trauma than they carried before the pandemic. The intersection of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement compels us to examine and dismantle structures of racism and classism in society and in the institution of public education. Our schools cannot go back to the conditions under which they operated before COVID-19 or we will fail our students, families, educators and communities at the time of their greatest need. This moment provides us with an exciting opportunity to transform public education to adapt to our new reality. Educators will need to develop new skills, strategies, teaching methodologies and curricula that match the conditions we will be returning to under any of the three models (remote, in-person or hybrid). Students and their families have ongoing needs that must be met — before and upon return to school. School buildings across the Commonwealth are not yet equipped to meet environmental health and safety standards. To be ready to return, we need time to prepare buildings and physical settings; plan and learn new skills; and welcome and acclimate our students and families. And we need full funding and staffing to address the myriad facets of teaching and learning during a global pandemic. Local associations and local districts should determine the plan to start the year with that best suits their context — be it remote, hybrid or full return with health and safety protections — and then determine a secondary plan for changes in context. Standing labor management committees should be established immediately to provide opportunities for regular communication and feedback to the district regarding reopening planning and implementation. MOUs should be negotiated as dictated by local governing practices. Additional stakeholders such as families, students and community members should also be given ongoing and systematic opportunities to be engaged and to give input. The local plan should be a living document, the goal of which is to provide a vehicle for ongoing partnership and collaboration with educators, families, communities and students.

Proposal #1 Phased Reopening

1. Phase 1 of Reopening: The first phase is for teachers, Education Support Professionals, substitutes (both itinerant/per diem and building substitutes who are paid a full salary and are available every day) and all other relevant school personnel to have uninterrupted time together to prepare for the return of students and resumption of school in whatever model the local association and district deem best through negotiations. This time will be used for things including but not limited to setting up classrooms and other spaces; learning about the health and safety protocols; making time for professional development and curriculum development; and preparing for Phases 2 and 3 — the Social Emotional Learning (SEL), academic learning and possible hybrid remote education that will be fundamental to the first six weeks of school when students return. The typical district professional development allotment at the start of the school year is wholly inadequate in the context of our current crisis; there is also too much variation from district to district.

2. Phase 2 of Reopening: The second phase is for educators to meet students and families. This time will be used for things including but not limited to meeting one on one with families and students and preparing them for the new health and safety protocols, including physical distancing and mask wearing. This time should be used for social emotional wellness checks, basic needs assessments, an evaluation of technology needs and reconnecting with students, families and school communities.

3. Phase 3 of Reopening: The third phase is the resumption of instruction/learning, whether in person, remote or hybrid, and it focuses on the first six weeks of learning. The foundation of any successful school year is built in the first six weeks. During this time, educators and students will build their relationships with each other, establishing their learning community and school climate and culture. It is a time when we set expectations and rules, learn new structures and routines, and lay the groundwork for Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and academic learning throughout the year. Unfortunately, in too many instances SEL has been reduced to a curriculum block on the daily schedule rather than a process that is integrated into the entire day. Now more than ever, we have to build school culture and embark on SEL in the manner that was intended. Academically, curriculum and instruction decisions should be informed by what students need and by what will engage them. These decisions should be made by the educators closest to the students — e.g., grade-level or department teams. Business-as-usual instructional approaches — organized around “covering the curriculum,” test prep and test administration— must be avoided, as this will distract from real learning, cause unneeded stress, and produce meaningless results in the case of standardized tests. Local plans should emphasize project-based learning, which provides maximum flexibility as students move between in-person and remote instruction.

4. Phase 4 of Reopening: The fourth phase will be based on an assessment of where things stand, both in terms of public health data and educational progress under the initial reopening plan. This assessment will be led by the joint labor management committee, and will seek input from students, parents and the community. It should take place six to eight weeks after the start of school. Based on this assessment, local associations and districts will determine their next steps — e.g., continue with the initial plan or make modifications through a revised MOU.

Proposal #2 Health & Safety

1. PPE: The state will survey local districts for their personal protective equipment needs and will purchase and distribute PPE to all districts according to needs that will be ongoing throughout the school year. 2. The state will apply all relevant science-based guidelines and OSHA requirements to ensure the greatest possible safety, both for students and their families and educators and their families. These requirements will include physical distancing of at least six feet and mask wearing at all times in classrooms and in other group settings. Masks must be made available for students and staff. 3. As a condition of reopening, all districts must evaluate and, if necessary, upgrade or repair their windows and HVAC systems to provide for proper air exchange, filtration and climate control to ensure the safety of students and educators. 4. All districts must establish baseline protocols for daily maintenance and cleaning. 5. All districts must have protocols for dealing with positive COVID-19 cases, including establishing isolation rooms, testing and contact tracing.

Proposal #3 Modifications/Waivers on State Regulations related to

  • Time on learning regulatory requirements for 180 days and 900/990 hours.

  • Extending timelines for advancing or renewing current licenses based on barriers to educators’ ability to earn PDPs, take or pass MTELs, and meet other coursework or program requirements.

  • Educator Evaluations —the current system no longer applies and needs to be rethought and renegotiated in light of the unique circumstances facing educators and administrators.

Proposal #4 Staff Assignments/Workload, Including Alternative Teaching/Learning Arrangements for Educators and/or Students

  1. There should be recognition that there will be a need for both remote and in-person educators.

  2. As a general rule/expectation, educators should be primarily or exclusively remote OR primarily or exclusively in-person, but NOT both.

  3. Educators prioritized for remote instruction should include those in at-risk categories or who have household members in at-risk categories, as well as those with pressing child care responsibilities; districts should consider mitigating child care issues by coordinating teaching and learning schedules regionally, particularly in a hybrid (staggered schedule) environment.

  4. If alternative work arrangements are not possible for at-risk educators, there must be provisions for paid leave until alternatives can be arranged.

  5. Educator assignments must balance flexibility (e.g., being asked to teach outside an area of expertise) and employment protections (e.g., maintenance of licensure and employment protections, including PTS).

  6. Students in at-risk categories or who have household members in at-risk categories shall be provided alternative learning arrangements, including remote learning, for example.

Proposal #5 Full Funding and Full Staffing

  1. SOA is the baseline funding.

  2. Reopening requires more money and more staff: smaller classes, more bus capacity to enable physical distancing, more nurses and counselors and Education Support Professionals to address student needs, and an unwavering commitment to using the appropriate PPE and following health and safety protocols.

  3. Layoffs must be rescinded, and there must be an intentional commitment to hiring more educators of color.

  4. The state shall reimburse each district for all necessary PPE, physical materials and other resources necessary for reopening.

  5. The state must fully fund existing child care programs so that educators and parents can return to work.

Proposal #6 Reimagine Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment: No MCAS

  1. In collaboration with the MTA, AFT and BTU, the DESE shall create professional development requirements for educators that specifically advance anti-bias work and address inequities. Cultural- and linguistic-sustaining practices, including ethnic studies, must be embedded into preK-12, higher education curriculum. The DESE will create criteria for holding administrators accountable for implementing anti-bias work and ensuring that educators have the necessary resources and support to implement this important work.

  2. Statement from DESE

    1. Committing to SEL, trauma-informed anti-bias curriculum as priorities.

    2. Affirming the need for contractual protections for educators teaching an anti- bias curriculum that addresses social and economic inequities.

    3. Ensuring that all districts develop plans to recruit, hire and support educators of color and provide multilingual interpreters.

  3. MCAS obstructs the goals of reimagining curriculum and instruction; therefore, it must be waived for 2020-2021. Upon reopening, the focus of educators and students must not be on test prep.

  4. Waive the MCAS graduation requirement for incoming junior, sophomore and freshman classes.

Proposal #7 Computers and Internet Access for All

  1. All students and staff, including paraprofessionals, must have access to appropriate technology to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

  2. All students and educators, including paraprofessionals, must have access to reliable and adequate internet service.

  3. District must provide support to students, families and staff to set up and use technology.

"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Please take care and stay well. Mike  



bottom of page