As a teacher and a union leader, Sara Dion has worked hard for what's best for educators and students. She is a proud member of the Massachusetts Teachers' Association (MTA) and the Medford Teachers' Association. She served as a Building Representative for the Medford Teachers' Association for several years, and led phone banking efforts for the No On 2 campaign in 2016 to keep the cap on charter schools and resist the privatization of public education.
In light of the anti-union Janus v. AFSCME Decision by the Supreme Court in 2018, Sara worked as an MTA Summer Member Organizer, engaging fellow educators across the state in meaningful conversations about the importance of the union. She currently serves as the Political Action Liaison between the Medford Teachers' Association and the MTA. She supports the right of educators' unions to collectively bargain for salary and working conditions.
“Being a teacher myself, I know the importance of listening to educators and providing them with the tools they need to do their jobs during the collective bargaining process,” Sara says.
If elected, she would show up at the bargaining table and be a voice for all Somerville educators. She is a supporter of the Right to Strike movement for public employees, which would make it legal for public employees such as educators to strike in the event of unfair working conditions. She also supports the Fair Share Amendment, which would increase taxes on income over $1 million in order to better fund public schools and public transit.
Sara works closely with education paraprofessionals every day. She sees firsthand the hard work they put in every day, caring for children and helping them learn.
“It is a travesty that some of our most vital educational workers have been paid poverty wages for so long, and a living wage and benefits for these essential frontline workers must be a top priority,” says Sara.
She is a strong supporter of the Massachusetts Teachers Association’s (MTA's) ESP Bill of Rights, which outlines a set of statewide paraprofessionals’ demands. These demands include a salary that keeps pace with the rapidly increasing cost of living, safe working conditions, and access to high-quality and affordable health insurance.
Sara applauds the recent successes of Somerville’s paraprofessionals to secure a salary increase; this was a well-earned milestone victory. She also acknowledges that there is far more work to be done on this front, and she wants to help. To that end, she supports the Massachusetts Teachers' Association's ESP Bill of Rights.
Sara is no stranger to taking action against MCAS testing. She has been active in the Massachusetts Teachers' Association's (MTA's) recent Cancel MCAS campaign because she believes that the MCAS testing system is ineffective and discriminatory.
"MCAS doesn't measure achievement, it measures privilege," says Sara. School districts with mostly middle-income and high-income students and families consistently score higher on MCAS than school districts with mostly low-income students and families. Sara believes that the teachers in low-scoring districts work just as hard and are just as qualified as their wealthier counterparts. The fault lies not with the teachers, nor with the students or their families, but in other systemic barriers and external factors.
Administering MCAS year after year does nothing to address these root inequities. Instead, it administers punitive punishments upon students and families who are already at a disadvantage in society.
To learn more about Sara's thoughts on why MCAS needs to go, read her op-ed, "Cancel MCAS: For 2021 and Beyond," on the News and Events page.
Too often, the mental and emotional health of students and educators is ignored in favor of top-down policy developed by people who are removed from the actual reality of teaching and learning. When implementing policy, impact on the mental health of students, educators, and families must always be taken into account.
Sara believes that schools need to be adequately staffed with counselors who are equipped to support children's social-emotional needs. If elected, she will advocate for curriculum that prioritizes the social-emotional needs of students of all neurotypes and abilities, as well as policies that consider the mental health of educators.
The brutal murders of George Floyd and so many other Black civilians at the hands of law enforcement have laid bare the existence of systems of white supremacy in our nation. Institutional racism exists not only in law enforcement, but in other institutions as well, including education.
The term "school-to-prison pipeline" describes the increased likelihood of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students to face harsh discipline in school when compared to their white counterparts. Sara is interested in dismantling policies rooted in racism that contribute to this metaphorical pipeline. She believes that the School Committee should be looking at all rules and policies from an anti-racist lens. She supports restorative justice and transformative justice approaches to student discipline as alternatives to punitive practices that unjustly target BIPOC students.
As a teacher of English Learners, Sara works with children from a variety of different backgrounds. The majority of her students are immigrants or children of immigrants, and many of them also come from low-income families. She loves working with such diverse populations and strives to equip all of her students with opportunities for success and the tools they'll need to achieve it.
Principles of equity guide Sara's decision-making as an educator and a union leader. If elected, Sara will advocate for policies that provide students and families from vulnerable populations with the same opportunities as more privileged students and families. She will work to ensure that families who speak languages other than English are able to communicate effectively with their child's school and teachers. She will strive to engage families from low-income and other marginalized communities as equal partners.
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