BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Teacher Association met this week to discuss their priorities for the new year.

The Massachusetts Teacher Association gathered on Thursday to discuss their legislative priorities for next year’s session, and they include the right to strike and putting an end to high-stakes testing.

Coming off of a big win from campaigning for the Fair Share Amendment, the MTA addressed priorities on Thursday to address the needs of not only students but faculty and working families. Striking in Massachusetts is illegal for public school educators, even though educators in Malden, Brookline, and Haverhill did go on strike this year.

The Association believes that allowing the right to strike would help the teacher union’s bargaining negotiations, which could lead to fewer strikes. Also on Thursday, teachers spoke out against the ramifications of standardized testing, in particular the MCAS exam. They called it “destructive and punitive”.

Max Page, the President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association stated, “Students who need the fullest kind of curriculum, actually get a more narrow curriculum, because schools are pushed very hard to focus on the limited set of subjects and goals that we have for schools that are covered by the MCAS.”

The MTA also presented other education and labor priorities like increasing the cost of living adjustment in payments to retired educators. Another priority laid out by the MTA was for the state to invest more in public higher education so students could graduate debt-free.