Category: Recent News

Courage to Teach 2018-19 Professional Renewal Retreat Series for Educators

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018-19 Courage to Teach retreat series at Bethel Horizons, near Governor Dodge State Park.   This year-long series of four sessions (Friday evening through Sunday afternoon) is based on the work of noted educator, writer, and activist, Parker J. Palmer.  Educators experience extended time to explore “the heart of a teacher” and reconnect with their core values and the passion that brought them into teaching.  Each retreat follows a seasonal theme, using the rich metaphors of nature, reflections on personal stories and classroom practice, poetry, and insights from various wisdom traditions.  Dates for the retreats are:  Nov. 2-4, 2018; Jan. 18-20; April 5-7; June 28-30 (all 2019). 

Based on evaluations gathered over the last 16 years, participants consistently report:

  • Renewed satisfaction and commitment to their profession;
  • Improved connections with students and classroom practice;
  • Strengthened collegial relations at their school sites.

The following comments from recent participants are typical descriptions of the benefits of CTT:

  • Courage to Teach provided me with amazing opportunity to explore who I am and how this is brought into the classroom and how I interact and build relationships with the students I teach every single day. It is a gift of time and place to clarify one’s own thoughts, hopes and dreams throughout all four seasons.”  (2017-18 cohort member)
  • It has been a transformational experience for me in both personal and professional ways. I am so grateful for the relationships I’ve made, the self-care and reflective practices I’ve learned, and the renewed passion for being a public school educator.”  (2016-17 cohort member)

Local educators pay a total of $890 (in three installments) for the four weekends, which represents about 50% of the actual total cost of eight night’s lodging, 24 meals, facilitation and materials.  Fundraising efforts and generosity of community organizations and individuals who are willing to invest in local educators cover the other half of the costs.  Participants can apply for a maximum of four hours of graduate credit from Edgewood College, available at an addition cost of $180 per credit.

Barb Hummel and Bonnie Trudell have been co-facilitating Courage to Teach retreats for the past 16 years and are prepared by and affiliated with the Center for Courage and Renewal.  Further information and an application form are available here.  Contact Barb at (barbara.hummel53711@gmail.com) or Bonnie (bkt.1943@gmail.com) with questions.    

The University League of Madison Invites You to Become a Member

For 117 years, The University League of Madison Wisconsin has provided opportunities for people with similar interests to get together to learn, share information and form lasting friendships through interest groups, volunteer groups, social gatherings and scholarship benefits. The organization has given more than $150,000 annually for UW-Madison student scholarships via their 501 (c ) (3) non-profit organization.

The current president Theresa Calderon is a retired MTI member and retired MMSD administrator. President-elect Barbara Rogers is a MTI-retired member.

The University League welcomes all who are interested to become members. One does not need to be UW Alumni or have any other affiliation with the University Systems to become a member of the University League.

For more information about the University League, its activities and membership click here!

Opportunity with Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools

 

Last spring, MTI surveyed members and found strong interest in a proposal from the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools to build a crowdfunding platform to connect Madison teachers with financial resources.  The Foundation is now looking for a team of Madison teachers to help test the platform and provide feedback.  See the message below and contact Melinda Heinritz, Executive Director of FMPS, if interested or in need of additional information (mheinritz@fmps.org) or 232-7820.

We need your help!  The Foundation for Madison’s PublicSchools is building a crowdfunding platform just for you, thanks to the generous support of Total Administrative Services Corporation (TASC).  TASC has asked us to recruit a group of 6-8 teachers to test the platform during our design phase.  We’re looking for teachers with no experience using crowdfunding, with lots of experience, and everything in between.  TASC will pay you for your time, and some of the testing can happen at your home.  We’k like to bring the group together later this summer.  With your help, we’ll ensure that the platform meets your needs and is easy to use.  The Foundation is honored to support you and your classrooms, and we will promote our crowdfunding program to the greater Madison community on a consistent basis.  Thank you for your consideration!”

2.13% Cost-of Living Pay Increase Effective July 1 Thanks to Active Union Members

Last month, the 2018-19 MTI Collective Bargaining Agreements with the MMSD were ratified by the membership of MTI, as well as the Board of Education.  The agreement was the result of your hard work and that of your union brothers and sisters and provides a 2.13% cost-of-living increase effective July 1, 2018.

  • When bargaining commenced, the District budgeted for only a 0.5% base-wage increase while MTI pushed for a 2.13% cost-of-living increase.
  • To support the Union’s demands, MTI organized a Cost-of-Living Contract Campaign that included MTI members, allies and community supporters lobbying the Board of Education, culminating in hundreds of MTI members packing and testifying at Board of Education meetings in April and May.
  • Two mediation sessions then followed with MTI’s Teacher, ESEA and USO bargaining teams meeting in joint sessions, reaching agreement on June 4 on 2.13% cost-of-living increase.
  • The 2.13% base-wage increase is in addition to the scheduled step increases employees receive pursuant to the salary schedules first negotiated by MTI which continue in the MMSD Employee Handbook.  Between the base-wage increase and annual step increases, the “average” MTI-represented employee will receive approximately a 4% increase in pay for 2018-19.
  • Compared to the District’s initial 0.5% proposal, the “average” teacher will receive approximately $900 more in pay next school year with the District investing an additional $2.5 million in employee salaries due to MTI’s bargaining efforts.
  • These increases are a direct result of the efforts of hundreds of organized, active and engaged MTI members.

Supreme Court Ruling in ‘Janus’

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled against public sector unions nationwide.  In Janus v. AFSCME the court ruled that fair share agreements are unconstitutional, overturning a 1977 Supreme Court ruling that has stood as precedent on this issue since that time.  While this is bad news for public sector unions across the country, this decision has no direct impact on Wisconsin as these fair share agreements were abolished here with the passage of Act 10.

We can expect a well-funded, dark money, national campaign encouraging union member to drop union membership following the decision.  We can also anticipate short-term reductions in NEA membership and NEA resources as adjustments are made to deal with this coming change.

That said, MTI provides a shining example of how a union can maintain strength and membership in the absence not only of fair-share agreements, but also with severe prohibitions on collective bargaining.

We have been sharing that story with our brothers and sisters across the country – from Seattle to St. Paul to Massachusetts – as they prepare for their post-Janus reality.  Our sisters and brothers will need to continue to hear that message of hope and renewal in the coming months.

What we have learned from our response to Act 10, as well as the teacher strike wave across the country, is that laws do not determine the limits of our collective possibilities, we do.

Click here for NEA’s response to the decision.

MTI is Looking for Member Leaders, Are You Ready to Represent? MTI Teacher Faculty Rep Teams Needed

MTI is a member-led Union built on the core belief that an active and involved membership, led by democratically-elected leaders and supported by highly-qualified staff, can best promote the interests of public education, the education profession, and the members of the Union.

The MTI Faculty Representative is a critical position in fulfilling this mission.  Every school/work location should have a team of MTI Faculty Reps working together to represent their colleagues and build their Union.  Schools and work sites are entitled to one (1) Faculty Rep for every fifteen (15) Union members at the school or worksite.

 

MTI Faculty Reps build solidarity and promote union membership at their work location and work to resolve building-based problems with building principals in a Collborative Problem Solving process encouraged and supported by MTI and the MMSD.  Faculty Reps also serve to unite teachers across the District, bringing the concerns and interests of MTI members at their work location with MTI members district-wide via the MTI Faculty Representative Council, the policy forming body of the MTI teacher unit.

If you are interested in advocating for your profession, building your Union, representing yoru colleagues, and being a part of making positive change, send an email to MTI@madisonteachers.org or contact your Senior MTI Faculty Rep to let them know you would like to be nominated for one of the Faculty Rep positions at your school/work site.

See this link for additional information.

Standing in Solidarity with Striking Teachers – Wearing Red for Public Ed

Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky Walk Out: ‘It Really Is a Wildfire.’

West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona teachers and support staff across the nation are “wearing red for public ed,” standing up and walking out for their students and their profession.  Years of austerity budgets, underfunded classrooms, increasing class sizes, stagnant wages, pension attacks, and failed political leadership have fueled the protests.

MTI stands with striking teachers everywhere and anywhere, and has relayed our message of solidarity to the educators in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona.  Join the #RedforEd movement, wear your MTI Solidarity shirt every Monday, and show your solidarity with your sisters and brothers here and around the country.  If you are in need of an MTI solidarity shirt, click here to order.

Standing Up to Support Our Immigrant Brothers and Sisters

As public school employees, we are advocates for all of our students and their families. Our advocacy extends beyond the school walls and it is imperative that we actively participate in efforts to defend our immigrant students and all undocumented people from the ongoing injustices directed at them through unjust legislation and policy.

Last Tuesday, President Trump announced the elimination of DACA. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides renewable permits for nearly 800,000 DREAMers who live, study, and work in the United States – a program that provides opportunities to many of our students and their family members. Instead of offering an immigration process that allows a path to citizenship for DREAMers, Trump continues his crusade against immigrant families. You can show your support with the following:

In addition to these events, each of us can also support our students and families on a personal level as they deal with the uncertainty created by the elimination of DACA. In many cases the public school is the primary place that provides safety, stability and trustworthy information, and we are the professionals who provide guidance and support.    

Solidarity!

Andrew Waity
MTI President

Douglas Keillor
MTI Executive Director