On July 15, Barbara Madeloni took office as President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the 113,000-member union of educators in public schools in Massachusetts. This follows a year-long campaign during which Madeloni articulated a progressive platform for public education — pre-K through college and university. As a professor at the University of Massachusetts, and Secretary of the Massachusetts Society of Professors (the faculty and librarian union at UMass Amherst), Madeloni is familiar with the huge funding cuts on our public campuses, the massive increase in fees (and therefore student debt), and the rise in the numbers of underpaid part-time faculty and staff. PHENOM Board member Max Page recently chatted with Barbara about some of her ideas.
“I said throughout my campaign that I believe we as a Commonwealth and as a nation have to reinvest in public higher education, “said Madeloni. “Frankly, I believe that at least some public higher education should be free, as the natural evolution from our commitment as a nation, first to K through 6, and then K through high school.
“But we can’t just make public higher education accessible. We also have to hire more faculty and staff, with fair pay and benefits, so that our students get the highest quality education, which they deserve.”
MTA has had a long and mutually supportive relationship with PHENOM. Since PHENOM’s founding in 2007, the MTA (and several of its locals) has provided in-kind support for PHENOM, has participated in a number of advocacy days that PHENOM has helped organize, and provided people power: the vast majority of faculty and staff members of PHENOM are also MTA members.
“PHENOM has been an important force driving the call for greater investment in public higher education in Massachusetts. By focusing on organizing on the campus level, especially with students, PHENOM will be a key partner as we build a campaign for a dramatic reinvestment in public higher education in the state. I look forward to working with PHENOM on building a collaborative, grassroots campaign for our public colleges and universities.”