A reader asks: did Deval Patrick sell out?
I feel ashamed for Deval. I am one of his many, many progressive supporters, and we’re all baffled by how he got into this situation. I worked harder for his election than I did even for Obama, and I never doubted his integrity or strength.
Through all the vicious attacks on him during that first campaign, he stayed steady and clear. Remember the white-woman-in-dark-parking-lot ad? I left work every day and went straight to unlock the little campaign office in my own town, as more and more volunteers came forward and signed on. It got very ugly; there were smear attacks on his family members. Even in Massachusetts, after Romney and Celluci, he seemed like a long shot. But Deval brought out the best in my community, and turned it blue again.
On the morning after the election, I came in to my classroom and told my diverse and hopeful students, “The American Dream is For You.” They cheered. A couple of them even cried. Remember, this was before Obama ever ran for president.
Later, after I had chaired a citizens online task force on ethics and lobbying reform, I sat next to him at our summary report meeting so he could answer our recommendations (for the cameras) by saying he’d veto the state budget if the legislators didn’t send him his groundbreaking (we thought at the time) ethics and lobbying reform with it.
After the meeting, I confronted him with his failure to get the state version of the Dream Act implemented (he’d actually tried the executive order route, but had to withdraw it). I told him about my students, and he really did tear up. His determination and frustration were real.
State Speaker DiMasi had been indicted for kickbacks on state contracts for the insurance and education data warehouses. He was convicted, but the investigation went no further. Edubuisiness had a lock on the state DOE, until Deval stood up to the Boston Globe and appointed a progressive PTA leader (Ruth Kaplan) to the board.
Then, when he ran for re-election, Deval let K12 and other for-profit education companies run a fundraiser for him at the Children’s Museum. K12 now has a thriving online charter business operating out of Greenfield, and Deval is supporting Mosaica Boston’s forced takover-turnarounds of Boston Public Schools. A memo leaked from his Secretary of Education once argued they had to bow to an illegal charter school placement, against the will of the community, or the Globe would attack them.
I swear I don’t understand how he could sell out public education for their measly political support. Like Obama, he got his chance by being admitted to a luxurious prep academy, so maybe he just can’t untangle his own conflicts about private schools, and it clouds his understanding. I know he isn’t a coward. I know he has a fine mind, and I still believe his life is dedicated to the same mission as my own. I just can’t believe his is a calculated betrayal of the public trust we placed in him, in the face of this dangerous hour for the future of democratic governance.