Boston Mayoral Candidate Rob Consalvo to Education reform group: “Get out of Mayor’s race!!”
Boston City Councilor Rob Consalvo is one of twelve candidates who cites education as his top priority in Boston’s Mayoral Race.
Hyde Park native Rob Consalvo’s father is one of the men responsible for bringing charter schools to Boston in the first place, roughly 2 decades ago, back when the Ed Reform Act was signed into legislation in Massachusetts. He recently resigned from the Board of Trustees of the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School, which was one of his claims to fame in Ed Reform…as it should be. The Indignant Teacher, whose longtime babysitter and friend’s two sons attended APR – one is a senior and one graduated last year and is now a freshman in college – has to sing it’s praises, regardless of her overall dismay/disdain/dislike/disagreement with charter schools in general. Actually, The Indignant Teacher could almost be an advertisement for the APR. Everything she came to know about the school over the last 6 or so years has been more than positive – it’s been amazing. The opportunities both boys have been offered and taken have been unlike anything she’d ever heard of, much less known. The curricula, the expectations, the opportunities (again, they’re so amazing!).
If only every school in the district offered a similar program of study & more for it’s students as does The Academy of the Pacific Rim. If only every student in the district had an educational decision-maker (be it parent, grandmother, foster parent, or whatever guardian) who had the wherewithal to research, visit, & talk with schools and school personnel who were representative of all the options available to him/her, and further take the necessary steps for/with the student to be a candidate for admission and hopefully to become a matriculating student.
Gerri’s boys have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to have grown into the amazing young men they’ve become while students at APR. They were more fortunate to have the school be located within the very same neighborhood in which they live. But they were most fortunate to have parents who value education, who have the resources to determine the very best education the City can offer their children, who are willing to take whatever steps necessary to support their children’s school and school experiences as best they can as parents. Without invested parents, it wouldn’t have mattered that such an amazing school with such amazing opportunities existed, let alone in the boys’ neighborhood. Without invested parents, the boys would never have experienced the amazing opportunities they did.
Rob Consalvo recognizes the parent as the primary source of educational access and ultimate academic success. He is frustrated by the current focus of the education agenda in the current Mayoral race mirroring that which was the same focus at the Council’s Chambers… being solely on a system that caters to children whose parents are invested in the education of their children, explicitly excluding those children whose parents aren’t – most of whom are living in the lower-income neighborhoods – from having equal access to the opportunities and experiences offered by a lottery-based charter school system.
This is why the urgency now lies in ensuring that each and every Boston Public School – charter, pilot, innovation, traditional public school, or whatever is called a building that houses teachers and students for 180 days a year – make available to each and every student enrolled within them the sorts of experiences and opportunities for academic, social, emotional, and even physical growth, development, and overall well-being as those offered by The Academy of the Pacific Rim, or some other such place of educational worth. Consalvo knows this.
So, too, is he troubled by the lack of availability the charter education typically is to ELL and SPED students, but he also believes even the traditional public schools are doing those two populations, in particular, a tremendous disservice by the lack of what’s available and offered within any of them. He’s right. Speaking from more than enough direct experience, the conditions of the inexcusably little that’s available to SPED students is utterly deplorable.
Consalvo stands out not for just disagreeing with his father, but also with ten out of the twelve current Boston Mayoral candidates on what would be the best direction for the City to move in terms of Ed Reform. He has been a vocal opponent of the MCAS and it’s use (and abuse) since the very get-go. He is one of only two men running who oppose lifting the cap on charter schools. Consalvo resists the use of high-stakes anythings to assess and evaluate students, teachers, schools, or districts. He believes teachers and students should be fairly held accountable, by people who have proven worthy of and experienced in, using a variety of tools and methods and materials to provide a full, thorough, and fair picture of who the person really is, and what his/her successes really are. He believes teachers should be trusted and influential in any decisions that be made, and instrumental in turning things around in the City.
Consalvo believes strongly that funds from outside organized groups should be banned from the Boston Mayoral Race. He’s said that political action committees, advocacy organizations, and other outside groups should be banned from spending money on behalf of candidates in the race to succeed Thomas M Menino.
“The people of the city of Boston should decide who the next mayor is,” Consalvo said. “Boston is not for sale for outside special-interest groups. We should follow the system where it is individual contributors from all over who have the right to contribute to the candidate of their choice.”
Rob Consalvo’s “Boston Pledge” (similar to the “People’s Pledge” used by Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren in the US Senate race in 2012) states that if an outside group spends money on advertisements designed to benefit a specific campaign, then that candidate would donate the equivalent of 50% of the cost of the advertisement to the One Fund Boston, the charity for the victims of the marathon bombings.
“There is a history around the country of other major cities’ mayoral races being influenced by outside special interest groups,” he said. “That is why it is imperative in this day and age that we do the right thing, we call on all the candidates to adopt the Boston Pledge, and we prohibit this unreported outside special-interest money from deciding Boston’s election.”
Consalvo first launched the Boston Pledge in April, to a group of non-reactive/unresponsive opponents. He brought it back into the spotlight a last week, but any efforts made to get a candidate to sign the Pledge only continued to fail. When he heard about a particular Education Reform group backing a rival for Mayor, Consalvo advised they stay out of the race.
“Unfortunately, the candidate you support has not agreed to the Boston Pledge, so I am making an appeal directly to you,” Consalvo wrote to Kevin Chavous, the chair of Democrats for Ed Reform. “If you care about Boston, please understand that our city needs a mayor who will be beholden to the people, not outside groups like yours who care first and foremost about their own agenda.”
Consalvo’s letter is available below:
Kevin P. Chavous
Democrats for Education Reform
503 2nd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Dear Mr. Chavous:
As a parent of two Boston Public School students, I have a personal investment in making sure Boston schools provide every child with access to a quality education. I respect your organization’s focus on improving public education, but I am disappointed that you apparently want to use the race to replace Mayor Tom Menino as an opportunity to push your agenda. On behalf of the city I love and hope to lead, I am writing to ask you to keep your outside money out of the Boston mayors race.
According to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance, your organization has already begun to dump money into this race. We don’t know where that money comes from, but we know it comes with one purpose: to further your agenda.
I have asked my fellow candidates in this race to sign a pledge modeled after the groundbreaking People’s Pledge drafted by Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Senator Scott Brown. To me, this isn’t rocket science. The People’s Pledge worked the 2012 U.S. Senate race and it worked earlier this year in the primary election between U.S. Rep. Steve Lynch and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey. My Boston Pledge would require candidates to make a contribution to the One Fund if outside groups like your organization interfere in this race.
Unfortunately, the candidate you support has not agreed to the Boston Pledge, so I am making an appeal directly to you. If you care about Boston, please understand that our city needs a mayor who will be beholden to the people, not outside groups like yours who care first and foremost about their own agenda.
This is the first wide-open race for Mayor of Boston in this post-Citizens United world we live in and I’m worried that agenda-driven outside special interest groups like yours see a political opportunity in this race that has little to do with what is best for Boston.