News from Around the Campuses

MSCA Perspective, March 2001

Bridgewater Chapter Works with Political Leaders on MSCA Issues
Members of the BSC campus community and particularly Executive Committee member George Serra and Chapter President Jean Stonehouse have been working hard to enlist the assistance of the regional legislative delegation in our effort to secure a contract. George and Jean met with Senator Richard Moore, Minority Leader Fran Marini and Representative John A. Lepper (Attleboro; ranking Republican, Joint Committee on Ways and Means), and with members of the staffs of Senators Marc Pacheco and Robert Antonioni (Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Education, Arts and Humanities).

MSCA-BSC lobbying efforts resulted in a proposed Senate Resolution (S299), sponsored by Senator Moore, which reads:

Resolve authorizing and directing the BHE to support state college faculty and librarian salary schedules equivalent to peer institution:

Resolved, That, for the purpose of promoting the public good, and to insure high quality instruction and support services at the several state colleges, the Board of Higher Education is hereby authorized and directed to base collective bargaining agreements with state college faculty and professional librarians on achieving and maintaining equivalency with salary schedules for faculty and professional librarians with similar credentials at peer institutions as identified by the Board of Higher Education. The benefits provided by this resolve shall be incorporated into any collective bargaining agreements submitted to the General Court for appropriation.

MSCA members are encouraged to contact their own senators and representatives to urge their support for S299. Members can use the MSCA WebPage to link directly to their legislators.

The BSC Executive Committee is also sending other lobbying proposals to the MSCA Directors. One proposal is to ask a senior legislator, such as Congressman Barney Frank or Senator Ted Kennedy, to assist in negotiating a settlement with the BHE, similar to the role Kennedy took last year on behalf of striking Worcester nurses.

The Chapter leadership is very concerned about the impact of distance education on our jobs. Members met with our College President to discuss our concerns. We are also disturbed that NEA is jumping on the distance education bandwagon with its portal project, a joint NEA/Sylvan Learning on-line virtual classroom program. (Don't these folks know they're taking our jobs?) We are asking the MSCA Board to discourage the NEA from outsourcing the work of its local units through its use of distance education.

During the protracted contract dispute, Bridgewater faculty are being confronted with whether to participate in upcoming college-wide NEASC and general education reviews put forward by the college administration.

Faculty met on February 22 to discuss whether and under what conditions to participate. As ever, United We Stand, Divided We Fall.

Sandra Faiman-Silva

MMA Professor Elected to State Senate
Robert O'Leary, for many years a history professor in the Social Sciences Department at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, has been elected State Senator for the Cape and Islands. He was previously Barnstable County Commissioner. In his new capacity, he is Chairperson for the Joint Committee on Counties and is Senate Vice-Chairperson for the Joint Committee on Human Services and Elderly Affairs. O'Leary is also a member of the Committee on Banks and Banking and the Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture.

Arlene Bowen

SSC Education Professor Evaluates Teacher Preparation and Recruitment
Newspapers across the state have cited the research of Clarke Fowler (Salem) that questions the effectiveness of two state programs designed to recruit new Mass-achusetts K-12 teachers. Fowler's study was based on data obtained from the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE) and from interviews with former bonus recipients. Fowler concluded that the Massachusetts Signing Bonus Program for New Teachers has failed to place bonus teachers in high need, urban districts and has not been effective in retaining promising teachers. Although state officials promised to send the bonus teachers to 13 high-need urban district, fewer than half (43%) of the bonus teachers took positions in those districts. Additionally, 20% of the bonus teachers have already left their positions. The attrition rate was even higher for the high-need districts, where nearly one third (31%) either stopped teaching or moved to less needy districts. 45% of Chelsea's and 40% of Worcester's bonus teachers did not return to these districts. Fowler also studied a second state program, the Massachusetts Institute for New Teachers (MINT), a seven-week fast-track alternative to teacher certification. He concluded that many graduates of this program felt it did not prepare them adequately for leading their own classrooms. Fowler's research was reported on in newspapers in Springfield, Boston, Holyoke, Brockton, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, and many other cities and towns across the state.

Patricia Johnston