Board of Directors Remarks
On November 5, 2014, I attended a Western Mass All-Presidents meeting facilitated by Taylor Brennan and Jason Mathes of the MTA. More than 40 people showed up at HCC. The first topic of concern and discussion was DESE’s then two-week old plan to link your licenses to your evaluation.
On November 14, Commissioner Chester announced that DESE was rescinding the draft options that proposed linking licensure to educator evaluation. “The decision was made in response to feedback from the field,” he said in his online weekly update.
The MTA won. They won because members from across the commonwealth spoke out in opposition to these ill-conceived proposals.
What can the CEA take away from this story as we prepare to pack the School Committee meeting tonight in our fight to win a fair contract?
We can learn the importance of activism. The MTA won because its members bombarded DESE with over 45,000 emails. Commissioner Chester told the Boston Globe that “99.99 percent” of the feedback was critical of DESE’s proposal. The message of “None of the Above” was heard loud and clear. If we want to be heard, we must speak out.
We can learn the importance of timing. The MTA won because its members acted quickly and forcefully. In less than a month since DESE unveiled their proposal the members of the MTA pushed forcefully back. MTA President Barbara Madeloni said, DESE was “shocked at the response. They aren’t used to us fighting. If we had taken months to gear up we would have had a much harder time mobilizing members, and a harder time winning.”
We can learn the value of solidarity. The MTA won because 45,000 members acted together.
The CEA members need to continue to connect with each other, talk in our buildings and strengthen relationships. We must act in solidarity to win our contract fight. As a union we must support each other and collectively push back against the School Committee’s divisive and insulting offer.
With the guidance of our Crisis Team, we will plan, organize and execute collective responses that clearly demonstrate our support for a fair deal. We have already begun; Black Friday, sign up for union-only communication, attend the School Committee meeting, 11.19.14 or 12.3.14, …, write a letter, speak out, support each other.
We need to fight in order to win. We may not always win, but if we don’t fight we can’t win.