DFER Speaks Truth to Power

ICYMI: Liam Kerr nails it — calling out the BTU for their smoke and mirrors attempt to defend paying teachers who don’t teach over $100k a year — by trying to tie Democrats for Education Reform to Donald Trump.

With a thorny issue like the excess pool, a politician is better off pointing to Trump than proposing a solution. The political strategy all makes sense, although I would be remiss not to point out two problems.

One, there is not even a hint of a solution in Tang’s piece – even offering a five-year limit on teachers remaining in the pool or $500,000 buyouts would start a conversation that would return us to budget priorities and challenging public policy choices.

Two, she falls prey to an old challenge for people who “went to college in Cambridge” by citing the fact that someone in the excess pool has – gasp! – an “advanced degree from Harvard.” A great man-on-the-street question: “Should someone with an advanced degree from Harvard be able to receive their full salary even if none of the 150 managers of an organization hires them … or should that money be used on something else?”

Now, full disclosure, I’m proud as hell to be a member of the Democrats for Education Massachusetts Advisory Board. I love everything DFER is about. Democrats are the champions of public education and there is nothing more progressive than pushing our party to innovate, dig deeper and do better when it comes to ensuring that every child in the Commonwealth and frankly the nation has access to the high quality education they deserve.


(Liam Kerr. Amazing dude and undercover badass.

One of my all-time favorite human beings.) 

It bothers me to no end that we as Democrats have handed over our obligation to fight for those less fortunate than us — those who need our principles, our passion and our advocacy over to those who would be content to put the wants of adults over the needs of children who desperately need our help.

As Democrats we are better than this. To turn the other way and twiddle our thumbs while being told we should be holding on to an education system that fails children of color and those living in poverty because to push back against labor is a “big no-no” is a complete cop-out.

Change is hard. It makes people uncomfortable. But that doesn’t make it less worth doing.

Having been a teacher in a school system and having a degree from Harvard does not mean you deserve to have a job for life if you are ineffective and not getting the job done for kids. Our education system is just that — a system for education — not an employment agency. The balance of power is way off balance and our perception of whom public education is supposed to benefit has been majorly distorted. Calling that out — even in the face of powerful interests (who do NOT always return the same loyalty to the Democratic Party) does not make us Trump supporters.

It makes us true Democrats. And we’re not going anywhere. 

What do you think?

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