The Massachusetts Teachers Association rejected the for-profit promotion of Depersonalized Learning! MTA delegates also adopted a resolution calling for full funding of public schools.

Massachusetts is the highest performing state in the nation on NAEP tests, yet the rightwingers on the state board keep trying to shove corporate reform on their successful public schools and teachers.

Thank you, MTA and your valiant leader, Barbara Madeloni.

Madeloni wrote the following to the MTA membership:

“The Annual Meeting of Delegates, which is the highest decision-making body in the MTA, convened on May 19 and 20 to discuss, debate and vote on policy. In this e-mail, I highlight several of the New Business Items that were approved by the delegates. You can read all of those NBIs here in the members’ area of the MTA website. (First-time users will need the number on their MTA membership cards to log in.) The votes of the Annual Meeting delegates reinforce the membership’s commitment to defending public education and building union power to bring about the schools our communities deserve.

“Personalized Learning: The New Threat to Public Education

NBIs #6, #12 and #13 address the threat posed by the state’s promotion of computer-based “personalized learning” strategies, including one through a program called MAPLE/LearnLaunch. This overview is long, but well worth watching. It explains the real dangers of handing over our schools and students to corporate education technology entities.

“Teaching and learning are deeply human activities. We cannot let ed tech companies depersonalize learning or make education a technocratic endeavor. We must assert the centrality of face-to-face relationships – community – and our professional knowledge and autonomy as essential to public education.

“NBI #6 asserts that the MTA opposes DESE’s MAPLE/LearnLaunch partnership and calls for the MTA to create a web page to “share strategies to combat the harmful effects of unvalidated ed tech products on our students, and to defend teachers’ professional judgment and standards against interference by business interests.”

“NBI #12 calls for a web page dedicated to informing members about the threat to public education posed by privatization, including but not limited to personalized learning programs. This connects to our existing page on State Takeovers/Privatization and encompasses the many forms that privatization is taking in preK-12 and higher education. (Important note: The current page includes a link to a form where members in Level 4 and 5 schools are asked to report on their experiences. Please take a few minutes to fill this out if you are in one of those schools.)

“NBI #13 calls for the MTA to update its 2016 report, Threat to Public Education Now Centers on Massachusetts, to include a section on corporate support for personalized learning.

“Hold the Commonwealth Accountable: Fully Fund Our Public Schools

“NBIs #9 and #10 call for the MTA to prepare to file a lawsuit against the governor and Legislature if they fail to address the school funding shortfall identified by the nonpartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission. The commission determined that public schools are underfunded by at least $1 billion a year. NBI #10 says that in the event a lawsuit must be filed, it should seek to end the state’s punitive accountability system until and unless the schools are fully funded. Moved by retiring Springfield Education Association President Tim Collins, these two NBIs represent one way the MTA is responding to the failure of the Commonwealth to abide by its Constitution and “cherish” our public schools.

“On a related note, the City of Brockton recently set aside $100,000 toward funding a similar education lawsuit, and officials in Worcester are also discussing the issue.”