In the past few weeks as the snow continued to fall, the CEA continued to move slowly toward our goal of creating the schools our students deserve. A review of the highlights follows.
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING TEAM WINS VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
Unit A held a ratification vote 3/2/15 at CCHS and overwhelmingly voted to approve the Tentative Agreement; 288 for, versus 32 against. In the next few weeks the School Committee will follow with a vote of their own, after which we will at long last have a new contract.
Implementation of most of the changes will go into effect immediately, such as salary adjustments but others, like the 10 minutes at the end of the day, have been put on hold until September.
MEDIA TECHS JOIN UNIT E
After years working for the CPS without CEA protections and benefits, Library Media Technicians have been placed in Unit E by a Memorandum of Agreement between the CEA and the School Committee, signed 2/26/15. Salaries for the current position will be incorporated into the Unit E contract and current employee’s years of service will be grandfathered in as longevity rates. Mary Windrum, LMT @ CHS says, “Kudos to Ann Kos for making it happen.” Welcome library techs.
In July 2014, a group of educational leaders in Western MA agreed to establish the Western Mass. Educational Leaders Coalition in response to their common concerns with recent Federal and State initiatives that are shaping public education in the Commonwealth. A link to their position statement follows here: http://superintendentlps.blogspot.com/2015_01_01_archive.html
WMELC members are collectively concerned with impact of the following:
The amount, pace and cost of unfunded mandates.
The validity, reliability and implementation of PARCC exam.
The amount, frequency and cost of standardized testing.
In February 2015, the Superintendent, the School Committee and the CEA agreed to add Chicopee Public Schools to the Coalition. It is our hope that DESE and state legislators will develop educational policy that reflects the important concerns expressed by the WMELC.
ORGANIZING FOR A MORATORIUM ON HIGH STAKES TESTING
The MTA Board has adopted a legislative agenda that called on the association to “have a bill filed that imposes a three-year moratorium on PARCC and high-stakes testing.” The legislation has been filed. The staff of the Government Relations Dept. will be lobbying support for the bill, but the legislation cannot succeed without strong member and community support. WMELC has spoken up. Now it is our turn.
CHICOPEE MEMBER FORUM
Are you a concerned SPED teacher? Are you an elementary teacher giving grades for subject areas not yet taught? Are you concerned about PARCC testing?
We all agree; our students, our schools, and our careers are under increasing pressure from private forces that want to gut public education.
On March 26, 2015, from 4:00-6:00 PM at the Chicopee Falls Polish Home, 27 Grove Street, Chicopee, we are holding a Member Forum. Please come.
This is our best opportunity this year to come together to talk about:
What we like about teaching?
What makes our job difficult?
What we should do to fix it?
Our contract fight demonstrates that collectively we have the power to push back against these interests to improve our student’s learning conditions and our working conditions. Come to talk and listen. MTA President Barbara Madeloni will attend. Dinner will be served. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
February 2015 was a good month for the CEA. With your involvement, March will be even better.