Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What you aren't going to read in the press on S2262

The articles are already coming in and, from the perspective of the gallery, there's a lot of the story being missed (or misattributed).
  • First, you'd never know it from the T&G/State House News article (linked above), but the vast majority of the Senators voted against the bill. How about we get a quote or two from them on why?
  • While the Boston Teachers Union (part of AFT) may well have been active on this bill (I'm assuming; I don't know), the Mass Teachers Association did not lobby on this bill until the last minute (in fact, today), when it lobbied for the amendment which removed portion that lifted the cap. Yet, again, the story from the charter proponents/mainstream Boston press is "oh, the teachers' union." Meaning no disrespect at all to the teachers' unions, but BTU does not represent the majority of teachers in the state, and the union that does wasn't active until today. It's a neat little story, but this one's more complicated. 
  • Public ed proponents across the state owe a HUGE debt of thanks to the Boston Public Schools parents who have been using their proximity to the State House to get in there, to tell their stories, and to get the real impact of cap lift across to Senators. I won't even try to name you all, but you all rock,and you brought this one home. Nice work! 
  • Senator after senator today were very, very clear on how these decisions impacted their district schools. That speaks of district level work by parents, superintendents, School Committees, and others to make abundantly clear why each individual senator needs to care about this. Good field work!
  • The overwhelming question from those who voted "no" was "what is the end game? where are we going?" Charter schools, by state law, were created specifically for innovation that was then to be shared with the public schools. Period. The 2011 law added that they should specifically be looking at ways of closing the achievement gap. There are lots of conversations about lots of other things, but what this state is paying for--purportedly--is that. Several senators today pointed out that we're 20 years and an 18% cap in on that; where are the results? Well, there aren't any, because that hasn't been happening.
  • As much as I disagree with Senator Chang-Diaz on the cap lift, I truly do believe that she cares about the kids in her district and that this bill was trying to stick to the commitments made by the state. She's being unfairly savaged in the Boston press for it, and that stinks. They should knock it off. 
  • Finally, we seem to have managed today to have a realization: 
There's a whole big state out there. The Boston editorial boards and a couple of big funded so-called reformers shouldn't be making laws for us. If we're going to pass laws on education, let's be sure that they're for all of the kids in whole state.

Thanks to the Massachusetts Senators who voted this down today.
And particular thanks from me to both Senator Chandler and Senator Moore of Worcester. 


Bob Shore said...

Interesting comment here from Sen. Brownsberger:

"Charter school advocates overplayed their hand in this vote by opposing the Chiang-Diaz compromise. Their lobbying against the compromise, in the days running up to the vote, doomed their legislation for this year."

Tracy Novick said...

Bob, thanks for this! I had heard that rumored, but I hadn't seen it anywhere.