Lawrence Community Leaders Push for Receivership Transition Plan

GLEJA members at a meeting in April 2018.

GLEJA members at a meeting in April 2018.

The Greater Lawrence Education Justice Alliance (GLEJA) has been working on the issues of school receivership, the Fight for $15 and Paid Family & Medical Leave.

Back in October, GLEJA hosted the city's first ever student-led School Committee Town Hall right before School Committee member elections. After seeing a reinvigoration of the School Committee, GLEJA held legislative forums with area representatives on Senate Bill 2325 and pressuring state lawmakers to create a transition plan to get Lawrence out of state receivership. GLEJA has also been active in supporting the Raise Up Massachusetts Campaign in partnership with SEIU Community Action leaders.

GLEJA’s legislative forums were co-sponsored by the MTA, AFT and the Rouge. In December, we met with Representative DiZoglio, a member of the Joint Legislative Education Committee. The second forum in January included Senator Barbara L’Italien, Representative Andy Vargas and Representative DiZoglio. We pushed them to support the Senate Bill 308, which includes a re-evaluation of state funding for municipalities and a three-year moratorium on High Stakes Testing. We also supported House Bill 639, which provides one year of free tuition and fees at public colleges and universities.

Besides the above, we discussed the onerous DESE-appointed receivership board whose ultimate goal is to continue to expand private charter schools in Lawrence. Their ultimate goals are to educate low-income children cheaply and garner a significant profit through their Education Management Organizations. We vehemently oppose their goals and instead fight education as a means for, economic and social justice, civic engagement and societal success.

We have also been organizing in opposition to the receivership board by attending school committee meetings and developing strategies to engage the various education stakeholders in our community. GLEJA has worked alongside the Lawrence School Committee to host Listening Sessions with the different members of the community to hear their thoughts and needs for a community-based transition plan. See the Our Schools Our Future Facebook page for more updates.