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Joint Committee on Education

It shall be the duty of the committee on Education to consider all matters concerning education (through grade 12) and such other matters as may be referred.

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AFT Massachusetts has filed the following bills in the current legislative session:

Charter School Expansion
House 467 would repeal provision allowing the state, in districts that score in the lowest 10 percentile on MCAS, to divert up to 18% of their Chapter 70 aid to commonwealth charter schools.
Charter School Teachers
House 398 requires teachers in charter schools to have same state certification as all other public school teachers.
For-profit charter schools
House 345 amends state law to prohibit state approval of for-profit charter schools.
Early Care and Ed Quality
House 477/Senate 223 would improve the quality of early education and care by providing for collective bargaining between workers at early childhood education and child care centers and the Commonwealth about such matters as professional development and training, rates of subsidy and reimbursement, tiered reimbursements, standards for worker compensation in state subsidized centers, and career ladders.
Improve Collaboration in Designated Schools and Districts
House 2227 would restore full collective bargaining to Level 4 and Level 5 schools and districts.
Improve Collaboration in Horace Mann and Innovation Schools
House 451 would require expedited collective bargaining process to be completed before a Horace Mann or an Innovation school can open.
Safe Schools
House 426 gives teachers the authority to remove disruptive students from the classroom, require that districts provide alternative education programs for students removed from class and establish an alternative education grant program to award state grants to school districts that submit alternative education plans.

Public Policy

An Act to Invest in Our Communities (with the Coalition for Our Communities)
Senate 1313/ House 2687would raise $1.37 billion dollars by: (1) restoring the income tax rate to 5.95% while increasing the personal exemption to hold down increases for low and middle income families; and (2) raising the tax rate on investment income to 8.95%, with an exemption for low and middle income seniors.
Higher Education
Open Meetings for Tenure
Senate 581 would require the UMass Board of Trustees to allow faculty member to speak and be represented by counsel if the tenure award is to be considered in executive session.
Higher Education Contract Funding
House 2444 would require the governor to send to the Legislature for funding collective bargaining agreements reached by administrators and unions at state colleges and universities.
Sabbatical Leave Creditable Service
Senate 1774 would allow faculty members in state colleges and universities to credit entire time spent on sabbatical leave toward their pension benefits.
Maintain Faculty Excellence
House 1086 would improve the compensation and working conditions of part-time public higher education faculty.
Retirement System Improvements
Pension recalculation
House 701, co-sponsored with NAGE, would would allow the recalculation of Option B and C benefits retroactively for them to
conform with the Mortality Rate Tables adopted around 2004. The present law only allows for prospective calculation.
Cost of Living Increases
House 2366 would raise the base from $13,000 to $16,000 for calculating retirees’ cost-of-living increases.
Creditable Service for Layoffs Due to Budgetary Reasons
House 337 would allow teachers laid off for budgetary reasons to credit time out of work toward their retirement benefits.
Count Nurses’ Time As Teacher for Retirement Plus
Senate 1234 would allow school nurses to count years of school service before their inclusion in the Teacher Retirement System toward pension benefits under the Retirement Plus program.
Sick Buildings Disability
House 2299 would allow public employees suffering lung or respiratory tract illnesses because of “sick building” conditions eligibility for disability retirement.
Post 1973 Non-Public School Service
House 2262 would allow credit toward retirement for a portion of years spent teaching in non-public schools.
School Nurses Retirement Definition
House 2384 includes school nurses under the definition of teacher for retirement.
Lower Contributions
House 2822 would lower the rate of contributions teachers must pay into the Teacher Retirement System.
Compensation Credits
Senate 1487 would allow teachers to include all pay received for academic duties beyond their regular teaching as part of their salary on which retirement benefits are based.
Member Benefits
Professional Status for Collaborative Teachers
House 357 would ensure teachers in collaborative schools of due process rights by giving them professional teaching status under Education Reform.
Attracting Excellence To Education
Senate 229 would expand the Attracting Excellence to Education program under which teachers meeting high academic standards receive stipends to pay off college loans.
Tuition for Educators at State Schools
House 1090 would provide free tuition at state colleges and universities for teachers and paraprofessionals taking education-related courses.
Teacher Recertification Fee
House 346 would reduce to $25 from $100 the fee charged teachers for recertification and account for cert/recert costs.
MLS Tuition Assistance
Senate 590 would establish a grant program to aid librarians studying to earn a Master of Library Science degree.
Labor Relations
MLRC Role in Work Stoppages
House 2438 would strengthen the role of the Labor Relations Commission in resolving work stoppages.