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Did The American Federation of Teachers Really Do This???

December 29, 2013

Last month, Boston voters elected a new Mayor, arguably with a little help from a mysterious political action committee that dumped $480,000 into the campaign during its final days. One Boston confirmed to the Boston Globe this week that the American Federation of Teachers funded the group’s efforts to swing the race in favor of Mayor-elect Marty Walsh. Walsh denies knowing a thing about it.

The Indignant Teacher isn’t sure that the AFT even looked into what Walsh stands for as far as his education platform read, because as far as she’s concerned, it read as a corporate reform how-to manual. 
Here is his plan:
  • “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.

He also used the corporate reformers’ favorite catch-phrase “college and career ready” a whopping fourteen times.

Someone please help me understand this one
AFT, WTF were you thinking? To me, as a former BTU/AFT dues paying member for fifteen years, as well as a former BPS parent – never mind a former BPS student herself (Boston Latin School ’91), I cannot fathom why you would think a person with  this kind of mindset should be deserving of nearly half-a-million dollars – much less a half-dollar!
Let me tell you about the second to last bullet. UMass Boston has a program called Boston Teacher Residency, which doles out millions to “recruit” people looking for a career change, offers them a generous package and guaranteed teaching position within the City’s schools for a limited number of years in return. It’s TFA on a much smaller scale, and as far as I’m concerned, should be the first place the City cuts some costs. Someday soon maybe I’ll post about the program at length, but trust me, it’s a disaster that needs to go.
Apparently, AFT disagrees.
Apparently, AFT thinks a mayoral-appointed school committee is the best way to serve Boston’s students and teachers.
Apparently, AFT thinks we ought to embrace Common Core.
Apparently, AFT didn’t do their research very well on this one.
AFT, WTF were you thinking???
And the best part is, the money was donated in the sneakiest of ways – via a New Jersey PAC called One New Jersey, who then dumped the entire sum into One Boston.
The Indignant Teacher is stumped. She thought the AFT was on her side. This is beyond troubling.
Randi Weingarten, I’d love to hear what you have to say about this one. What were you thinking?? 

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