Lots of things to talk about this week in the world of education politics — and I’ve been remiss in not blogging on a couple of items sooner, but — I’ve been moving. Need I say more?
Anyway, first up is Barbara Madeloni’s dreadfully thin-skinned rebuttal to this blog and other calling her out for being the reining Queen of Petty in reaction to Sydney Chaffee’s win for Teacher of the Year.
Today, MTA President Barbara Madeloni fired this mass email off to her entire membership:
Greetings, Last week I wrote about the MTA Annual Meeting of Delegates and some of the votes that were taken and motions passed. Not all motions passed. One in particular that did not pass has garnered a lot of media attention. The motion on a new business item called for the MTA to publicly recognize and congratulate the National Teacher of the Year, who happens to be a Boston charter school teacher. As presiding officer of the meeting, I did as I do with all motions – managed floor debate and then asked for a vote. The delegates voted not to endorse the new business item. One might think this was a good idea or a bad idea, but the decision resulted from a democratic debate and discussion. One might think that in the same week that President Donald Trump released a budget that is a clear and present danger to public education and a health care proposal that could undercut our schools through cuts to Medicaid – all within the context of a frightening assault on our democracy – reporters would leave this story where it belonged: off to the side. But instead, this vote unleashed a torrent of attacks on the MTA – on you and me, on all of us – first from a leader of the Yes on 2 campaign, on to a blogger who regularly writes against unions, and next to The Boston Globe, which stood firmly in the Yes on 2 camp last fall. The fury and outrage are startlingly disproportionate to the perceived offense. Unless, I suppose, the offense goes back to winning the No on 2 campaign last fall. When we won No on 2, it was an amazing victory for our coalition, for students and for public education. But it left a lot of very powerful people very angry. Twenty-six million dollars is a lot of money to throw away on what was seen as a sure thing. Having lost on charters, it’s no surprise that our detractors are trying to attack us on a side issue. We will keep returning to what matters: fully funding public education for all students, a moratorium on high-stakes testing, autonomy and respect for all educators, and public schools as places where we grow and nourish democratic engagement. We have much to do. The fight is not over.
I have no idea who is running your communications shop, but they should probably be fired immediately. This could have been a no-brainer lay up to shut down all the criticism AND do the right thing. I mean, even the BTU has stepped up and invited Sydney to come and address their membership.
But not Barbara. What an absolute delight.
And can you imagine? One little mom and her sad little Wix blog with the bad html vs. the President of the all-powerful political machine known as the Massachusetts Teachers Association with 110,000 members across the state. (And if that doesn’t demonstrate the power of parents, nothing will.)
My friend Erika over at Good School Hunting took on the Unholy Alliance between Randi Weingarten and Jonah Edelman on the issue of vouchers. Now don’t get me wrong, Jonah is a good guy, I like Stand for Children and I can see how this might feel like a win of sorts (?) — but I agree with Erika on this being the wrong move.
Randi actually engaged with Erika on Twitter to which I replied:
It’s becoming more and more clear where the battle lines are drawn in this world of education — you’re either with the adults trying to protect the buildings and the jobs of the people running them — or you’re with the kids trying to get the adults to make them the number one priority. Yes, educators should be respected for their profession — but when we are putting respect for the profession ahead of the outcomes the profession should be producing, we’ve got something twisted here.
What do you think?