During a State House ceremony on June 21, state Rep. Liz Malia (D-11th Suffolk) honored three Bostonians for excellence in teaching. The ceremony honored Jamaica Plain's Gavin Smith, Roslindale's Aaron Osowiecki and Andrew Manning of Roxbury, for their excellence in teaching as members of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Aaron Osowiecki of Roslindale received the 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Since 1999, Osowiecki has been teaching physics at Boston Latin School. Intent on shifting the classroom towards the students, Osowiecki led the development on Energizing Physics, a progressive physics curriculum used at BLS and other schools throughout the country.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day in the last month of the legislative term, senior staff representing six of the most prominent and active climate advocacy organizations along with constituents delivered a joint letter to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez, D-15th Suffolk, asking him to move forward clean energy legislation. The organization particularly want House Bill 4575 and House Bill 2913, which would increase the rate of renewable energy required by utilities to produce (also known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard, or RPS) and codify environmental justice into law, respectively. The organizations present included the Massachusetts Sierra Club, 350 Mass Action, Clean Water Action, Toxics Action Center Campaigns, Environment Massachusetts, and ELM Action Fund. “As a climate justice advocate, I know that time is of the essence. Our communities can’t wait till next session.
The Hennigan K-8 School, English High School, JFK Elementary School and Community Academy are four of dozens of schools that are receiving more than $450,000 in grants to provide arts instruction. The grants are part of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion initiative, which has schools working with more than 30 arts partners to provide long-term direct arts instruction for the 2018-2019 school year. These grants are supported by BPS Arts Expansion funders including the Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, Katie and Paul Buttenweiser Foundation, Klarman Family Foundation and Linde Family Foundation. Boston officials, BPS and EdVestors announced the latest round of grants as part of this week’s BPS Citywide Arts Festival on June 14. “We believe that all Boston residents should have the ability to engage in creativity and be part of Boston’s rich arts and culture scene, so it is so exciting to have so many of our BPS students showcasing their talents throughout the Citywide Arts Festival this week,” said Mayor Martin Walsh via press release.
The Massachusetts Legislature is poised to Lift the Cap on Kids (i.e., repeal the welfare family cap) through a provision in the FY19 budget – thanks in no small part to the leadership of Jamaica Plain’s own state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. The family cap denies welfare assistance to 8,700 children across the state simply because they were conceived after their families got assistance. Without the $100/month increment they would otherwise have gotten for these children, families struggle to provide basic necessities like diapers, clothes, and healthy food. As a social worker working with low-income Boston families since 1995 – the same year Massachusetts adopted the family cap rule – I have seen the harm to children caused by this type of deprivation. I am grateful to state Rep. Sanchez -- as well as to state Rep. Liz Malia -- for taking action to end this cruel law.