I had a whirlwind trip to Boston for the MTA conference. I would have aimed to arrive around noon, but one person who wanted a ride couldn't leave until 1:30, so we didn't get there until after 4pm. I'll know better next year -- I really should have left when I wanted to.
Having done this last year, I had a better idea of where I was going and what I was doing. We stayed in the Westin this year, rather than the Sheraton. I was grumpy that they didn't have free wireless in the hotel, but at least they don't charge in the convention center anymore. It was good to be able to check up on what was going on. The only critical issue was that the Esperanto-USA website was unavailable -- the hosting service broke something that has taken our whole site down and it's been down now for more than 12 hours. I'm beginning to think we should start looking for a different hosting service, if this one can't get their act together.
The main issue I've been pushing for at MTA is for them to use a reasonable amount of the Public Relations and Organizing fund for organizing. Out of $2 million dollars in the fund this year, they only spent $58k on organizing -- and $40k of that was spent on a postcard campaign which is not what anyone could even charitably call 'organizing'. Many of the people involved with it just call it the 'public relations' fund because they don't value organizing. Over the past two years, we've made strides toward having organizing become a focus of the union. Maybe next year, we can actually leverage a reasonable amount of money out of the fund to support our goals.
The showstopper today was a report on the challenges facing the Springfield schools. The Republicans have been mounting a campaign against organized labor in the state, using a variety of dubious techniques to force an unacceptable contract down the throats of the teacher's union in Springfield. In the interim, they've made conditions so appalling for teachers, that more than a thousand have left over the past four years. Now, 90% of special ed teachers are uncertified -- these are among the most disadvantaged kids in the state. Would any legislator ever allow their children to be taught in a school in that state? I don't think so.