29 petitions

Update posted 5 days ago

Petition to Interim Chancellor Barry Mills

Petition in Support of the Early Learning Center at UMass Boston

On Thursday, July 6, parents of children attending the Early Learning Center (ELC) at UMass Boston received a letter at the end of the day revealing UMass Boston’s plans to close the center on December 29, 2017 due to budget cuts.  This will leave over 50 children without care, as well as dedicated staff and students from the university without jobs. We call on Chancellor Barry Mills and the Budget Committee at Umass Boston to do the following immediately:● Rescind the decision to close the Early Learning Center on December 29, 2017.● Ensure full staffing with qualified individuals of the Early Learning Center during this transitional time, and going forward.● Immediately meet with parents and stakeholders to begin the long term collaborative planning process to ensure that the Early Learning Center remains a viable, sustainable, high quality, and affordable educational institution for the children of UMB faculty, staff, students, and the greater community. Why UMass Boston (UMB) Needs to INVEST in the Early Learning Center (ELC) -- Presented by the ELC Family Parent Committee FACTS ABOUT THE EARLY LEARNING CENTER AND WHY IT SHOULD REMAIN OPEN: The Early Learning Center (ELC) was established in 1972 to meet the needs of the University community.  From 1975 to 1988 the center was housed on the UMass Boston (UMB) campus, but was forced to move due to safety concerns regarding being located in the science building.  Since then it has rented space from Harbor Point, with the belief that they would eventually be moved back to campus again in a central location for UMB faculty, staff, and students.  Regardless of location, it has served not only UMB but the community of the surrounding area for over 40 years. The Early Learning Center has consistently offered subsidized spots to low income members within the community.  As the only public university in the City of Boston and one of the great institutions for promoting equity in the Commonwealth, UMass Boston has a responsibility to serve its local communities and the historically under-privileged. Currently service 32 children enrolled from low income, subsidy slots (Vouchers and EEC contracted slots)  EARLY LEARNING CENTER SERVICES: The ELC partners with Boston Public Schools, Boston Thom Early Intervention, Home for Little Wanderers, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, JumpStart, Geiger Gibson Community Health Center, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, Department of Nutrition, multiple departments and colleges within UMass Boston, and various school districts and agencies to provide holistic, wrap around support services for both the children and families of the ELC. In collaboration with the various community based partners, the ELC is able to refer students and families to our community partners for holistic wrap around services. National Association for the Education of Young Children – one of the few nationally accredited childcare facilities in the Dorchester/Boston local area. Provide quality nutritional meals - breakfast, lunch and snack from City Fresh to ensure children are healthy, meeting the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Department of Nutrition strict standards.  ELC VITAL TO UMASS BOSTON'S URBAN MISSION: UMass Boston has a vital urban mission: to provide underserved and low-income students from Boston with an enriching academic experience.  As a university focused on drawing highly qualified staff and committed students to their campus, closing the Early Learning Center would remove a valuable recruiting tool.  The ability to work or study full time while also having affordable, quality childcare on campus is something that has drawn many students and faculty to UMass Boston.  Additionally, removal of the Early Learning Center will leave many students, faculty and staff, with no affordable childcare, resulting in reduction of enrollment. (5) children of UMB students, (8) children of UMass Boston faculty/staff. From 2010 - present, 130 children enrolled from UMB faculty/staff and students There is little to no advertisement by the University for their childcare services, resulting in many students being unaware of this pivotal resource, therefore contributing to low enrollment numbers of UMB faculty, staff and student families. The Early Learning Center is important to not just the mission of UMass Boston, but the UMB students, the Harbor Point community, and the greater Dorchester/South Boston community.  It brings children from different and diverse backgrounds and provides a place to learn and grow together in a safe, educational setting. The ELC is currently serving 24 children from Harbor Point and 19 children are enrolled from the community.  UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS: The ELC has not only been a vital childcare center, but a resource for various departments within the university.  College of Education and Human Development The College of Education and Human Development - Early Education department utilize the center for their students to earn observation hours, and participate in internships within the center. These training and learning opportunities lead to jobs at the ELC or elsewhere in the early education field. Participating in such a vibrant and diverse educational setting is critical training for any potential early educator to prepare for work in urban settings. Closing the center removes an essential educational opportunity for students enrolled in the Early Education program.  Through their hours in the center’s classrooms they obtain valuable first-hand experience and credits required to graduate with a worthwhile degree. Psychology Department The Psychology department has established a valuable partnership with the ELC. UMass Boston students participate in the undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. programs. Students have performed observations and research. Their observations assisted their training as child psychologists. The Ph.D. students have conducted parent workshops at the ELC providing valuable resources for families.   Student Employment Office – Work Study Over the past 7-10 years the ELC has served 15-20 work study students each semester (fall, spring, summer). We currently have 15 work study students employed. Since 2010, the ELC has employed over 315 work study students and provided them with valuable work and learning experiences vital for their future career.  COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS:  The ELC serves as a critical partner to local community based organizations who align with the Universities urban mission.  Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) Work Study and other interested students use the ELC for training and hours to become Toddler and Preschool teacher qualified through the Mass Department of Early Education. The licensing agency for all childcare/afterschool facilities in Massachusetts. JumpStart The ELC and JumpStart program have collaborated for the past 10 years, providing vital service learning opportunities for 15-18 UMass Boston JumpStart students per semester (Fall, Spring). Since 2007, we have provided over 300 UMass Boston JumpStart students with experiential and service learning in the early education field. Home for Little Wanderers (HFLW) – Preschool Outreach Program (POP) The POP program provides individual play therapy, family therapy and supports to parents and caregivers of the ELC. The goal of POP is to help children achieve success in family relationships and the learning environment through thoughtful and collaborative partnerships like the ELC. The Historic New England’s Pierce House in Dorchester Offers an exciting series of outreach programs for pre-school groups. Historic New England’s school and youth programs are designed to make history relevant and fun for even the youngest student. The pre-school programs combine themed story books and hands-on craft activities to introduce children aged 3-6 to ideas about New England’s history and the passing seasons. Boston College High School Since 2004, Boston College High School Students have been fulfilling their community service requirements at the ELC. Geiger Gibson Community Health Center The ELC has partnered with the Geiger Gibson Community Health Center, to share information on healthcare, vision and dental opportunities.  MA STATE STANCE ON EARLY EDUCATION: House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced in February 2017 that early childhood education system is in crisis.  He released findings and recommendations of a task force he created last March to improve the state's early education system.   DeLeo stated, "In the near term, quality EEC (early education and care) can dramatically improve children's lives, preparing them for fulfilling futures while also bettering the lives of families by allowing parents to go to work knowing that their children are well cared for, and EEC can bolster our economy in myriad of ways.”  OUR ELC FAMILY PARENT COMMITTEE - PROPOSITION: Work with the University, departments, community partners, families, and the local community to improve the financial and long term sustainability of the ELC. Model the ELC after the GoKids facility at UMass Boston, and formally turn it into a learning lab with more resources and options for grants which will allow for research and outcomes that can enhance the ELC, children served, UMB families/staff/faculty and the community. Create an advisory board comprised of university and community partners and parents to help support the long term sustainability of the ELC. Move the Early Learning Center back on campus. Market it better to students/faculty/staff.  SHOW YOUR SUPPORT: please reach out to the ELC Family Parent Committee with your letters of support or comments at: or follow us on Facebook:  

Coalition to Save UMB: a Coalition of students, staff unions and faculty at UMass Boston
472 supporters
Started 1 week ago

Petition to Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, UMass President Marty Meehan

Stop the UMass Amherst purchase of Mount Ida College

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan has once again demonstrated his disdain for the entire UMass Boston community. This time, by defending the opportunistic purchase of Mount Ida College. The justification for this action, provided by Mr. Meehan, is a desire to "provide a clear path to degree completion for most Mount Ida students," a helping hand which he has repeatedly refused to extend to the students of UMass Boston.  Despite numerous appeals for assistance, UMass Boston has been left to struggle under the burdens of inherited debt and failing infrastructure. In addition to this historic neglect, there is the current strategy to purchase Mount Ida College to offer Boston based experiential learning opportunities to UMass Amherst students. This plan will draw on internships and externships that UMass Boston students have come to depend on as a part of their education. Moreover, UMass Amherst students already have an avenue to access these Boston based opportunities through the UMass exchange program. This program allows any UMass student the option to study at any UMass campus, and is beneficial to all campuses. The purchase of Mount Ida College represents nothing more than a continuation of efforts to maintain UMass Amherst as the Flagship campus over UMass Boston which has for years been treated as the unwanted step-child of the UMass system. Marty Meehan’s support for the purchase of a private college over investment in an established UMass Boston campus is unconscionable and must be stopped.

Jeffrey Suddy
175 supporters
Started 4 weeks ago

Petition to Massachusetts State Senate, Massachusetts State House, Charlie Baker

End Student Shaming in Massachusetts

An Open Letter to the State of Massachusetts.Amidst the constant violence and chaotic state of our nation, it seems as if the only issue ever discussed in regards to education is school shootings. In the government, these events are perverted to be aligned with a person’s political interests. Trump has blamed the FBI’s Russia’s investigation for these events. Others have blamed gun control. The Republicans continue to avoid the question by talking about mental illness. But not once in this discussion have I heard anyone talk for the students. And, even though this event is tragic, I feel that in terms of education-issues, school shootings should be at the bottom of the list, especially for Massachusetts. I believe that the state should not be immobilized from a school shooting, but continue to work towards greater prosperity, and in the case of the students of every school from Southwick to Salem, one of our most tremendous struggles is the practice of Student Shaming. The practice is simply barbaric. To think that every day the poor students are dehumanized by cheese sandwiches, a reminder to them and the other students that they are poor. When I talked to my principal, she said the hope in doing so was to make them “wake up their parents”. The idea that humiliating students will somehow magically generate $2.50 is simply absurd. Especially when these debts are as little as 5$. These students are bullied, and their self-esteem diminished for an incident caused by no fault of their own. Not only this, but the policy is carried out not to save money because they can’t afford it, but to give an incentive for students to pay. On one incident at Woodland Elementary School, a student received a full lunch by mistake. The lunch lady, realizing her mistake came and took the pizza off her plate, slapped down a cheese sandwich which she carried in her bare hand, proceeded to say “Your in debt” then brought the pizza to be thrown away. She was humiliated. The children whispered. In addition to the issue of lunch shaming, there are many incidents of student shaming outside of the lunchroom. Teacher’s often single out students or uses shaming as a punishment. In one incident, a student was reading an article on C.D.A. 230, when a teacher walked by and saw that Congress repealed it due to the claim that it prevented the enforcement of laws against sex trafficking. She decided that this could only be something inappropriate, and shouted at the student. “Hands off” she declared, with a firm voice. The student asked why to which he received no response. He took his hands off, then she repeated herself inclining him to put his hands up. She then shouted, “Back away”. The student complied. She proceeded to ask him what it was. He told her it was an article on CDA 230, but she did not believe him. She called to another librarian, in the process announcing to the entire library that this student was looking at pornography. After this she took him from the library and marched in around the halls, telling teachers what had occurred. These two incidents, both resulting in the davaluement and humiliation of students, blatantly violating basic ethics. And because of these obvious violations, these teachers have received minimal punishment if any. These barbaric practices cannot stand, I thought we got rid of public shaming when we threw off the British. Now, this cruel form of punishment has manifested itself into a new style of discipline. A style of demoralization, devaluation, and humiliation. Please, be the voice for those who have none. Be the one to stand against Student-Shaming. Sincerely, Maxwell Austin, a 7th-Grade-Student at Southwick Regional School

Maxwell Austin
11 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to MassDOT, Massachusetts State Senate, United States Department of Transportation, Joe Kennedy

Make Massachusetts Roads Potholes Free

Massachusetts roads have become hazardous with its increasing number of potholes. As travelers on Massachusettss highways and local city and town roads, the atrocious amount of unaddressed potholes are a growing concern. Massachusetts taxpayers DESERVE better! What are our tax dollars being used for? Where are all the money being generated by the new Mass Pike tolling system going, if not to adress the deteriorating roads we travel on every day? Potholes are forever damaging people's cars and sometimes to get the local or State to pay for the repairs takes months. There are potholes I have seen that have gone weeks, and even months unfilled, and when they are eventually filled, they erode faster than moving sand on a desert. This overgrowing issue of potholes on Massachusetts roads needs to be address at the state and local levels, and it is about time that our elected Senators, Representatives, Mayors, and Town Administrators Start to take a SERIOUS look at the concerning amounts of potholes emerging every day on Massachusetts roads. The State of Massachusetts has a long history of innovation and education, and with such notoriety, we need to start researching innovative ways to repairing our roads. Asphalt cannot be the only method or solution. I have started this petition to bring more awareness to the growing number of potholes, and the need to address them quickly.  If you share this common frustration, sign this petition. Share this petition with friends, family, and colleagues so we can get some serious attention into this matter.

Andrew K. Nyamekye
22 supporters