Sunday, August 2, 2020

In the News: Police chiefs want seat at table; teachers union expresses concerns

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Local police say their departments already have access to an accreditation system. Police chiefs have kept the formerly state-run Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission operating since 2004, when the Legislature cut its funding just eight years after its creation. 
Natick Police Chief James Hicks wishes more people understood that television police procedural dramas don’t accurately reflect his profession. 
″‘Chicago PD,’ you see police officers who are skirting the rules, and it’s OK because at the end of the day, they look like heroes, and they save the day,” he said. ”(Actual officers) have to have the highest of integrity ... and they have to understand they’re totally under the microscope, as we should be.” 
Moved by state and nationwide demands for reform following the deaths of people of color at the hands of police, Massachusetts lawmakers have proposed new legislation in recent weeks. Key to state reform is the idea of accreditation – creating a set of standards all police departments will have to follow."

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"Saying school districts had expected state education aid could be cut by 10%, the Massachusetts Teachers Association late Friday called a new local aid level funding agreement a “major victory” and urged districts to recall about 2,000 educators and staff who had received layoff notices. 
“The first thing districts must do is recall teachers and other staff who were pink-slipped due to budget fears,” Mass. Teachers Association President Merrie Najimy said in a statement. “To operate schools under any model will require more staff members, not fewer.” 
The teachers union also expressed concerns about public higher education layoffs and revenue shortfalls and what it called a “hold” on the phase-in of an education funding law passed a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and upended the state’s finances. 
“Although the schools’ budgets weren’t cut, they also did not receive the increases they would have received under the Student Opportunity Act,” MTA Vice President Max Page said. “That act addressed very real gaps in funding for low-income students and communities of color - gaps that are worse due to the pandemic.”

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