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Boston Narrows the Field to Two in Historic Mayoral Race

September 27, 2013


Voters in the City of Boston have spoken, and the news is not good for the future of the Boston Public Schools. State Rep Martin Walsh was the front runner in Tuesday’s preliminary election for Mayor, with City Councilor John Connolly trailing close behind (unofficial results had the candidates at 18% and 17% of the votes, respectively). 

What does this mean for Boston’s students and teachers?
Marty Walsh’s website reads like a “Corporate Reform How-To Manual”, with the phrase “college and career ready” repeated a whopping fourteen times within hieducation platform page. 
Some select quotes from Walsh’s website:
  • “Marty’s plan is to immediately build on current strengths within Boston Public Schools, and simultaneously develop and implement a long-term strategy based on equity, access, accountability, transparency  and collaboration to provide a top-notch education for all of Boston’s children. Success will require taking a hard look at current practice, the political will to make tough, necessary changes, and the collaboration of families, educators, and partners across the city to realize a shared vision.”
  •  In addition, Marty recognizes the achievement of students with disabilities can be accelerated by participation in inclusion classes with their differently abled peers. The Walsh Administration will continue support for current plans to expand the number of inclusion schools, and will increase support for principals and teachers to learn about co-teaching models, Common Core Standards and differentiating instruction.
  • Embrace and Support the Implementation of the Common Core State Standards – The Walsh Administration will ensure each and every school has a plan to integrate the Common Core State Standards into daily instruction, prepare teachers to teach the standards, and help students demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
  • Selecting the next superintendent is one of the most important decisions facing the new administration. It is critical that the superintendent fully embraces the Mayor’s vision and is committed to its success. 
  • Maintain a Mayoral-Appointed School Committee – Marty supports an appointed school committee. This is the best way to ensure a body that fully reflects all the stakeholders in quality public education, including those with direct experience providing education, and those who understand the importance of prioritizing the needs of the whole child in an urban school setting. 
  • Central office departments will be redesigned into streamlined cross-functional units and held accountable for how well they provide support and service to schools. School supervisors will closely monitor schools in order to know which school leaders to support, which to push, and which to grant autonomy so that each and every Boston Public School is among the very best schools in Massachusetts. 
  • The Walsh Administration will focus on “deepening the bench” of potential school leaders who know how to work with teachers to improve instructional practices tied to the Common Core State Standards. 
  • Strong partnerships with local colleges and universities, and support for accelerated programs that prepare teachers for urban schools, such as those offered at the University of Massachusetts Boston, will be developed to supply qualified candidates. Systems and incentive will be implemented to retain strong principal and teacher leaders with appropriate compensation. 
  • The Walsh Administration will be aggressive in working with federal elected officials and agencies, the Massachusetts State House, and corporate and non-profit partners to increase revenues for targeted programs.
Clearly, corporate reformers have Marty Walsh by the short-hairs. Electing someone with these views on education policy will not improve the Boston Public Schools, rather, he will serve to run them into the ground.
City Councilor John Connolly was the candidate who found himself standing in front of the firing squad early last month, when word got out that he accepted a $500,000.00 endorsement deal from Stand for Children (he ultimately rejected the funds). Although he also supports lifting the cap on charter schools as well, his platform doesn’t read like corporate reformers authored it. There is also much more riding on his own education policies than just his hope to take Office – John’s own children are enrolled in the BPS.
While John is being criticized for “flip-flopping” about some of the issues on education – like the Stand endorsement and his initial refusal to sign the People’s Pledge (which he is now calling on Walsh to sign – to keep private interest groups money out of the race), The Indignant Teacher commends him for his changes of heart. She believes if he could have a change of heart about these things, he may be convinced to have a change of heart about many more.
And at this point, with only two months to do so, she is calling on her Boston neighbors to help share the truth about what’s happening in education. Any newly elected official in the City must be accurately informed about the reality of corporate reform and these initiatives that campaign hopefuls are trying to bring into our schools. None of them are good. None of them have been proven successful, no matter what you read or hear. That is the reality.
All of these initiatives are part of a massive Hoax created by corporate reformers; it is a Hoax that most of us couldn’t conceive of every being a possibility. But it’s very real, and very indisputable. 
Boston cannot elect a Mayor who will continue to impose the corporate reform agenda in our schools. Diane Ravitch said in her recently released bestseller, Reign of Error, “the nation’s children are on a train that is headed for a cliff”. Boston needs to elect a Mayor who will steer this train away from the cliff, and that starts by spreading the message about the dire consequences of corporate reform. The urgency of doing so cannot be understated.

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