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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

June 21 EBulletin

We made it to the end! This has been one of the most difficult, most challenging years of my life, and I am sure, of yours as well. I hope all of you can begin to let go of the tension and stress that has so characterized the last few months, and begin recharging yourselves. You've done amazing work this spring. You've earned this break. And as a union, we've done amazing work this year as well. It's hard to believe, but a year ago, we were heading into the summer, knowing that in all likelihood that we would begin the new school year without a contract. Hard to believe that our transition to distance learning came on the heels of an exhilarating, exhausting, and ultimately, hugely rewarding contract campaign.  We head into this summer with an uncertainty that makes last summer's pale by comparison. Tomorrow the NTA begins planning and negotiating for whatever next year brings. Even though this would normally be the last email of the season, I of course will continue updating you over the summer...perhaps not every week, but certainly much more frequently than I normally would. 

Summer Reading

I also plan on squeezing in some reading this summer. Like many of you, I am sure, I intend to dig deeper into the issue of race. We won't be alone: The NYTimes nonfiction bestseller list is predominately occupied by books on race right now.  If you find a book on race and anti-racist practices that you would like to share with others, and are willing to include your name and write a short blurb, send your recommendation to me and I will put it in the EBulletin (though I do reserve the right to some editorial discretion). Right now, I have three recommendations to share with you, one of my own, and two shared with me by others. (I didn't ask these members in advance for permission to print their names, so I will not do so this time.) My own recommendation is Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law. While Rothstein's book does not directly address race and its implications for educators, his analysis of the way in which federal, state and local laws reinforced segregation and excluded black Americans from the remarkable growth of the middle class in the 40s, 50s 60s and 70s is compelling reading. Rothstein's thesis is that the effects of racism are not just defacto, the consequence of private individuals or private institutions expressing prejudice against blacks, but dejure, of a legal system that excluded and continues to exclude blacks from opportunities won by the white middle class during that period, a legacy that endures today. A classic introduction to thinking about white identity and white privilege that stands alone in its groundbreaking ability to provoke self-reflection is Beverly Daniel Tatum's Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? A group of English teachers at Newton South High School invite you to join them in a virtual book club for Dr. Bettina Love's book, We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom, and learn how to implement abolitionist and antiracist pedagogy in your classroom, school, or district. They will be hosting a series of webinars, all led by experts, that will be organized by affinity group and/or role in education. Their series will culminate in a keynote speech and Q&A with Dr. Love herself! This series is free to attend as it is a grassroots effort--for educators and by educators. Please sign up by clicking here.

MTA Virtual Summer Conference MTA’s Division of Training & Professional Learning invites members to register for the first-ever Virtual Summer Conference. We offer a wide range of exciting, interactive programs spread throughout the summer to meet the needs of our members in this moment. The programming at Virtual Summer Conference will position our union to stay strong as we begin our Now, More Than Ever campaign. Offerings include:

  • New special events programming including a speaker series, town halls, movie nights and more

  • Learning Tracks: New Presidents, New Members, and Next Generation Leadership

  • PDP courses: 12-15 hours towards recertification in English learners, special education and technology

  • Union education workshops, with topics including COVID-19, collective bargaining, member advocacy and organizing, and many more

  • Professional development workshops on student mental health, social emotional learning and social justice & racial equity

  • Programming designed especially for Education Support Professionals and Higher Education members

 For more information and to register for any programs, please visit ******** Enjoy your summer! Thank you for reading. "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Please take care and stay well. Mike  


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