From MTA President Merrie Najimy
and Vice President Max Page
Today Congress released a massive new funding bill called the HEROES Act that would provide major new resources to public education from preK through college, to states, to municipalities and to students burdened by heavy debt.
This action is just one of many that need member support as part of the MTA’s new campaign — announced at our Annual Meeting — to battle the threats of budget cuts, furloughs, layoffs and giveback demands, which we call the austerity virus. We must as a union boldly and confidently lead a campaign we are calling “Now More Than Ever: Fund Our Future.”
The message is simple. In addition to federal funding, now more than ever we need support from our state and local governments.
We are asking our preK-12 locals to go back to all of the school committees that supported the Student Opportunity Act and its predecessor, the Promise Act, and urge them to pass a new resolution calling on the Legislature to keep its commitment to funding the first year of the SOA. The process can take several weeks, so please confer with your local leadership about getting that going as soon as possible.
At the same time, we have several initiatives to Take Action for Public Higher Education, which has already been hit hard by new coronavirus-related costs, furloughs, layoffs and uncertainties about next fall’s enrollment. We need federal and state support for public higher ed — now more than ever.
As we move forward with the campaign, we will be sharing information about more actions that locals and regional networks are already planning. Some are exploring, for example, the possibility of expanding the “Care-avan” concept into a broader, more unified action around Now More Than Ever.
Several locals have garnered local media attention by driving in parades of cars decorated with messages of support for their students. Can we do something similar at a regional or statewide level? We will also be promoting the new funding campaign through social media posts, virtual lobby meetings and other actions.
We welcome your creative ideas. Please share your ideas with your colleagues and field rep or organizer and send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts on how to boldly make the case for funding for public education — now more than ever.
Merrie & Max
Massachusetts Teachers Association