The Boston Globe used to be a liberal newspaper. But that was long ago. Now it opposes the teachers’ unions and it supports privatization of public education.
Massachusetts is the highest performing state in the nation, as judged by test scores; you would never know that if the Globe was your only source of information. Corporate reformers were audacious in choosing Massachusetts as their next big battleground to save poor kids from failing schools. Their ambition–to break public education–is outrageous in the nation’s top-performing state. Their promises ring hollow.
Our reader Christine Langhoff gives us an update on the escalation of hostilities as the air war for public opinion heats up.
The Question 2 campaign continues to, as we say, “evolve”.
On Sunday, The Boston Globe published an advertorial scolding the Boston Teachers Union that it had better settle contract negotiations pretty quickly because “such changes are necessary to boost the quality of teaching and learning so the school system can compete more aggressively with independently run charter schools, a sector of public education that could grow dramatically in the coming years.”
The “research” comes from the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, whose President Sam Tyler, of course lives in the suburbs. Among the recommendations:
“Supporting and improving teacher quality and adding more time for learning in the BPS should be the mutual objectives of the City and BTU in these negotiations. To that end, the final three-year contract should include the following provisions:
*Teacher Compensation – Adopt a new fiscally responsible teacher compensation system that rewards teachers for performance and additional responsibilities rather than for academic credits and longevity.
* Mutual consent – Reinforce early hiring and mutual consent for teachers and extend mutual consent as the process for hiring paraprofessionals.
* SPC Teachers – Improve procedures for the assignment and evaluation of teachers in suitable professional capacity (SPC) positions in order to improve teacher quality and reduce the number of SPC teachers not hired after a year or who do not apply for positions.
* Teacher Evaluation – Improve the teacher evaluation process based on the BPS’ experience over the last three years.
* Excessing Procedures – Include language for excessing teachers that is consistent with retaining top quality teachers irrespective of seniority.
* Extended Time – Provide more time on learning for students in traditional Boston schools in a fiscally responsible and sustainable manner.”
In other words, credentialed, certified teachers, many with decades of classroom experience, ought to accept the kinds of working conditions that their uncertified, inexperienced colleagues find in charters.
The attack on compensation for academic credentials is particularly outrageous.
Massachusetts law, since the 1993 ed reform act (which also enabled charters), requires teachers to obtain a Master’s within the first five years of their careers if they wish to obtain professional status. There’s no re-imbursement of this expense, and the cost of an MA is Massachusetts is pretty pricey.
Here’s the six page attack (er, report) on unionized teachers in what’s been called the best urban school system:
Then John Oliver presented his views on the Charter School industry.
In response, Chris Farone of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism’s DigBoston, a local alternative news organization, put the Globe and the Boston Municipal Research Bureau under its spotlight, noting that BMRB reps for businesses:
“…it wouldn’t take the Globe’s award-winning Spotlight team to see that BMRB’s board of directors boasts members from such companies as State Street Corporation, Suffolk Construction, Fidelity Investments, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Citizens Bank, Boston Properties, and John Hancock, among others in the corporate class whose money drives the pro- side of the charter war.”
The article is titled: “THE BOSTON GLOBE AND JOHN OLIVER: WHICH ONE IS FULL OF CRAP ABOUT CHARTER SCHOOLS?”
On Tuesday, the 23rd Globe published an article reviewing the Dobbie, Fryer research which shows that charters don’t do much in the way of improving test scores and may have a negative impact on earnings. (The question of whether those ought to be considered appropriate goals of education is not discussed.)
Here’s the study:
and the Globe article:
Also on Tuesday, Boston’s other newspaper, the Boston Herald, posted the following column by Carol Doherty, member of the Taunton School Committee, questioning the flow of dark money and Wall Street connections for this ballot question:
And the Twitter exchange has been fierce, with Jeanne Allen and Dmitiri Melhorne accusing two Boston parents (one of whom writes a blog called Public School Mama) who have organized protests against the underfunding of BPS for the past year with such finely considered arguments as “Your grandchildren will be embarrassed by you 60 years from now” and “Oh, wait! Urban voters would choose to lift caps! It’s OUTSIDERS from suburbs who are blocking choice for Boston parents!” Sheesh!
Wednesday, it was reported that Massachusetts students had the highest ACT scores in the nation, undermining once again the rationale for increasing the number of charters, when we’re doing just fine without them, thanks.