A discussion about education with Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz and Attorney General Maura Healey
Massachusetts Teachers Association members who identify as Global Majority/BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or people of color) are invited to attend what will be the union’s “first gubernatorial forum of the 2022 election season.” The forum will be held virtually on March 23 at 6 p.m. This will be an opportunity for MTA members to share stories with two gubernatorial candidates, Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz and Attorney General Maura Healey.
The MTA offered a statement on why it is holding this forum, explaining that as the MTA gets ready to decide on who to support as a gubernatorial candidate, it would like members to be involved in this process, interviewing prospective leaders and sharing stories:
“In 2022 Massachusetts voter will elect a new Governor. This office plays a key role in how education policy is decided-from K-12 through Higher Ed- as the Governor appoints the Secretary of Education-currently Jim Peyser, and 10 of 13 members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). The BESE in turn appoints the Commissioner of the Department Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) -currently Jeff Riley. The Governor also appoints 17 members to the UMASS Board of Trustees and 10 of 13 members of the Board of Higher Education (BHE), who in turn appoint the Commissioner of Higher Education. Secretary Peyser and Commissioner Riley have long pushed an anti-public education agenda, including school privatization, weakening of educators’ voices and collective bargaining rights and turning districts over to receiverships/state control, especially in BIPOC majority districts. Their leadership during the pandemic has been a dismal failure because they refuse to include the knowledge and expertise of the educators and their unions in any decisions related to pandemic education, and health and safety.
The Board of Higher Education’s track record is equally abysmal. It pays lip service to an Equity Agenda but has done nothing to work with education unions around pandemic education or to invest necessary resources into public higher education that would provide debt free higher education for students and ensure fair wages, benefits and working conditions for faculty and staff.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.