Massachusetts Teachers Association launches ad campaign

The Massachusetts Teachers Association has launched a radio campaign asking residents of the Commonwealth to support public education at all levels by sharing responsibility and providing sufficient resources for students to succeed. A 60-second ad highlighting the need for all students to receive a well-rounded education began airing this morning on AM and FM stations in many of the state's media markets. The spot calls to mind public education's historic importance to American democracy and notes the prospect of "a brighter future for our public schools and colleges" that will ensure the strength of the state in the years to come.

The ad refers to the need for students to study not only reading, writing and math, but science, art and music. It also mentions the need for physical education, "because it's great to be healthy." In addition, the spot alludes to the current debate over closing loopholes used by large corporations and allowing cities and towns to raise revenues through hotel and restaurant taxes. "We need taxes to be fairer so our schools get the funding they need and we get smaller class sizes and a well-rounded education," the script reads in part

The spot is a continuation of the Declaration campaign the MTA aired last spring.

"Our ad emphasizes the need for all of us to work together so we can make our public schools and colleges better than ever," said MTA President Anne Wass. "Everyone in Massachusetts needs to get involved in making sure that all students have the chance to thrive in our workforce and succeed in our changing economy. Citizens, businesses and the state government have a shared responsibility to help build the future that we all want for ourselves and our children.

"Educators devote their lives to helping kids," Wass continued, noting that Bay State students continue to perform well by numerous measures, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the SATs. "But they must have resources and support. As our ad points out, students need help from their parents, their communities and their government."

As the Legislature takes up the budget this year, there is considerable concern about the prospect of further program cuts, layoffs and other steps that are detrimental to students' interests. In a national comparison, Massachusetts was ranked 41st in the share of funding the state government provides for public schools, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. When inflation and enrollment changes are taken into account, Chapter 70 aid to local school districts remains approximately $376 million below the level of fiscal year 2002. Public higher education suffered a 23 percent cut from fiscal 2001 to fiscal 2007, when inflation is factored in.

"We need our legislators to recognize the extent of the funding crisis and how deeply it is affecting our students," Wass said. "Year after year, our schools and colleges are grappling with what they have to cut as they try to help all students make the most of their educational opportunities. We need to turn things around. The most important thing we can do to ensure lasting economic success is to provide a world-class public education to our children."

The MTA radio spot is airing on stations in Greater Boston, Brockton, Fall River, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester, and on Cape Cod. The Declaration campaign was produced by SS+K, an advertising and marketing firm with offices in Boston and other cities.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association represents approximately 106,000 public education employees, including teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, retirees and future teachers.

Declaration script

STUDENT 1: We, the children of Massachusetts,     

STUDENT 2: in order to create a more perfect education,

STUENT 3: need everyone's help:

STUDENT 2: our parents',

STUDENT 4: our communities',

STUDENT 5: and our government's.

STUDENT 6: Because now, more than ever,

STUDENT 2: we could have a brighter future for our public schools and colleges.

STUDENT 3: But we need support.

STUDENT 1: We need taxes to be fairer

STUDENT 6: So our schools get the funding they need.

STUDENT 5: And we get smaller classes and a well-rounded education.

STUDENT 2: Including reading and writing, to fuel our minds and help us express what's on them.

STUDENT 6: Math.

STUDENT 4: And science, to discover how our world works,

STUDENT 2: and how to protect it.

STUDENT 3: Art, to encourage our imaginations.

STUDENT 6: Physical education, because it's great to be healthy.

STUDENT 3: And music classes so we can march to the beat of our own drum.

CHILDREN IN UNISON: Working together, we can make our public schools and colleges better than ever.

STUDENT 6: A message from the children of Massachusetts.

STUDENT 1: And the Massachusetts Teachers Association.