The Save Our Public Schools campaign to keep the cap on charter schools is heating up. The delegates to MTA’s Annual Meeting voted on May 14 to fully fund our share of the campaign expenses. We are committed to winning this issue on the ballot in November.
SOPS organizers have been hired and will be working with MTA members and staff, as well as with other members of the coalition, to organize against lifting the cap. These local efforts will be supplemented by a full-blown campaign that involves advertising. But we need to win this on the ground in our communities, not just on the air.
To build momentum as we head into June, the campaign is planning a Week of Action from June 6-10. Please join us in encouraging members to participate in as many of the below-listed actions as they can. And please post images from the Week of Action – and from any local #keepthecap activities – on your association’s digital media sites.
One of the activities calls for wearing “Save Our Public Schools” stickers. MTA field staff are trying to get stickers to as many local associations as possible before June 6, either by delivering them in person or sending a batch by mail. If you need stickers, please contact your field rep.
The threat to our members and to public education from an unlimited number of charter schools is very real. We will lose if we sit this one out, but we can win if we work together with allies representing parents, students and other public school advocates. Tomorrowwe are sending the information below to all MTA members. Please consider resending it to them in a few days with your own message about why this is so important. If you need commitment cards, stickers or other materials, talk to your MTA field representative.
Week of Action — June 6-10
GOAL: Connect Save Our Public Schools to local education issues and the November ballot question
Save Our Public Schools was launched in March to fight the proposed ballot measure to lift the cap on charter schools – schools that already drain more than $400 million a year from our district public schools. The MTA is a major participant in the “keep the cap” effort. Heading into June, we are intensifying our local outreach efforts. MTA members are encouraged to participate in some or all of the activities planned for a Week of Action from June 6-10. This is a great opportunity to identify supporters, collect commitment cards and raise public awareness about the issue. Here are some action options.
Option 1 — Keep It Local
Highlight the importance of keeping local control of education and the negative impact that lifting the cap would have on your schools. Thank your School Committee members if they have passed a resolution; ask them to consider passing one if they haven’t. Go here to see if your community has taken action. Go here for a sample resolution.
Ask: Contact your School Committee members. Say “thank you” or ask them to take action.
Option 2 — Stick to Public Schools (Sticker Day)
Wear “Save Our Public Schools” stickers and/or hold signs to promote visibility. (Stickers and signs will be available in many locals and at MTA’s regional offices.) Take photos of supporters wearing stickers and post/tweet pictures. Don’t forget to use #keepthecap and the handle @SOPublicSchools.
Ask: Wear a sticker, hold a sign, take a selfie. E-mail your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet and post them.
Option 3 — Fully Fund Public Schools
Go here to find out how much your district is losing to charters and share that information on social media. Hold a sign describing unmet needs in your district that could be addressed with the funding that is lost to charters. MTA regional offices have preprinted signs or you can create your own.
Ask: How much is your district losing to charters? Highlight what you would do with that funding. Take photos of members holding signs; tweet or post them.
Option 4 — The Schools We Deserve (and Those We Don’t)
Highlight success stories and your vision for excellent public schools for all. Draw contrasts with charter schools that use hyperdisciplinary methods and teach to the test.
Ask: Tell us what your public school does well and why the goal is excellent public schools for all.
Option 5—Talk to 10 on the 10th
Ask people to talk to 10 friends, family members or peers about the November ballot question to help us identify voters. Go here to share information about Save Our Public Schools campaign supporters you have identified. That will save us from having to call them in the future – and save them from getting an unnecessary voter ID call!
Ask: Talk to 10 people about keeping the cap on charter schools.
For more information, go to massteacher.org/charterschools and saveourpublicschoolsma.com.