Tuesday night, the New Bedford Educators Association held a pep rally to try to rob the children of New Bedford of a shot at a decent education.
It was billed as a forum to “Save Our New Bedford Public Schools” but there was literally no mention of fixing the broken New Bedford Public Schools. Just an attempt to kill a high performing charter school that is hugely popular with New Bedford families because … well, it gives their kids an actual shot at a decent education.
(Union members from the New Bedford Teachers Association. All of them.)
The NBEA dressed their members up in cute little red t-shirts and held a “public forum” on SAVING NEW BEDFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS that gave ZERO TIME for public comment.
We thought that we were going to have a legit conversation about SAVING PUBLIC SCHOOLS, so we came prepared and handed our this flier:
And this one too:
Because LAAAAAAAAWD — the New Bedford Public Schools NEED TO BE SAVED.
But these folks aren’t interested in SAVING NEW BEDFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS, they just want to beat the crap out of charter schools. Specifically Alma del Mar Charter Public School, who had the audacity to apply to add additional seats to their school in a community that remains under it’s charter cap.
Several parents with Massachusetts Parents United attended but were not given the chance to speak. The Standard Times of New Bedford reported that “no one spoke in favor of the Alma del Mar expansion” — but there was literally no opportunity for anyone talk. Nor was anyone in favor of the expansion — or hell, even in favor of HAVING A CONVERSATION ABOUT ACTUALLY IMPROVING THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN NEW BEDFORD was invited to participate on the panel. Totally manufactured union event.
To pull this off, the NBEA pulled out all the stops. Including trying to scare the crap out of parents to manipulate them into attending. This went home IN BACKPACKS throughout the district today:
Yes, New Bedford parents, your children do need you.
To stand up and hold these folks accountable for robbing them of access to the high quality education we have been promised.
Of course, this little dog and pony show came complete with a lovely “panel” filled with people who hate charter schools and union leaders. Was Will Gardener, the Executive Director of Alma del Mar invited to this discussion? District parents? Parents seeking seats in Alma del Mar? Alma del Mar parents? Nope.
(Literally all union members.)
So just to remind us all about what is REALLY happening: over 6,000 kids in New Bedford are stuck in schools performing at the bottom 10%. RIGHT NOW.
The funniest part of the night was listening to the NBTA freely admit that over the next five years, Alma del Mar will have NO PROBLEM enrolling 1,188 students from families who are tired of listening to years and YEARS and YEARS of excuses about how maybe, someday, pretty soon, the district is going to get their act together and actually fix the system. Maybe.
Parents have heard it all before. Hell, the BUSINESS COMMUNITY has heard this all before.
Because that’s all this crowd knows how to do. Say no to charter schools and demand more money to go to pay for their extraordinary healthcare costs and to fund their pension liabilities. No ideas about how to really actually fix the problems in our education system.
Just more money. More more more more more.
Tonight they chose to freely admit that— despite having already beating back any effort at reform over the past ten years and despite already having the “scale” they argue is so important to their success— they still will not have made their schools appealing enough to make parents want to stay.
The money quote of the night came from Ricardo Rosa, co-chair of the New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools and associate professor of public policy at UMass Dartmouth:
“We are our own experts and we save ourselves in New Bedford.”
Yeah, so like — how’s that going for you?