MTA: If The Biggest Threat to “Your Agenda” is the Voice of Parents, Your Agenda is WRONG

EduMom is turning 40 this week.

(Still cute tho.)

Turning 40 is a great time for reflection about the course of one’s life, whether you’re on the right track in terms of the things you want to accomplish and one’s impact on the world.

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So you have to imagine how tickled I was to be sitting in the nail salon this morning getting my birthday pedicure and thinking these really deep thoughts when I received my birthday gift from the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

(Awww guys, you shouldn’t have.)

It’s called validation.

Yes, while I was having my pedicure this morning, the Massachusetts Teachers Association was having their executive committee meeting. And if I had any doubt about the importance of the work of Massachusetts Parents United, the strength and reach of our organization that that has blossomed into the largest urban parent advocacy organization in the Commonwealth in just three short years — my doubts were laid to rest.

Instead of spending time discussing the greatest crisis in our Massachusetts public education system — the opportunity gap — they are spending their time worried that the united voice of parents is a THREAT to their power.

A public enemy.

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Should we be surprised? The President of the MTA is from a district that is more than 80% white and the Vice President is a college professor hailing from a town that has the worst achievement gap of any district in the entire Commonwealth.

So a couple of things about this “President’s Report”:

  1. The MTA has now confirmed that they will continue to fight over a ballot question that ended three years ago. Now it’s somewhat understandable considering that this victory was literally one of it’s only successful political wins to date because they were able to purchase a really effective campaign from the Dewey Square Group. (Kind of like how the No on 1 forces purchased the same campaign to DEFEAT the unions trying to pass staffing ratios by ballot initiative instead of at the bargaining table during the last election cycle. It’s called buying the right consultants.)

  2. There is no massive movement to kill charter schools. Just enough scary messages from Dewey Square to kill a ballot question asking to add 12 more schools per year. Yes, question 2 was defeated — meaning that people in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were not interested in expanding charter schools by 12 schools per year. It doesn’t mean they hate charter schools. It doesn’t mean that they want to shut existing charter schools down. It doesn’t mean that they want to kill the existing charter school system. It doesn’t mean they support your effort to kill testing and accountability so that you can teach our kids about puppies and rainbows all day long and hand them diplomas that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. 

  3. You continue to make everything about charter schools. If we are not going to have additional charter schools, we must take what is happening in charter schools that reduces the achievement gaps that YOU HAVE CREATED AND BEEN COMPLICIT IN PERPETUATING FOR GENERATIONS and fix the current public system. The whole reason charter schools were created is because the district systems refused to modernize and insists on sticking to the status quo that makes life easy for adults and leaves children behind. You want to get serious about equity? Open up your contracts so that young, talented teachers of color can be in the classrooms where we need them instead of being bumped out by mediocre white teachers with tenure. Change the school calendar to meet the needs of children and modern families. Get your own house in order before you start coming for the schools that are actually bridging achievement gaps.

  4. If you have identified the strong, united voice of parents as the most powerful threat against your ability to advance “your agenda” perhaps it’s time to take a hard look at YOUR AGENDA. It’s the WRONG AGENDA.

  5. Your own organization doesn’t even buy what you’re selling. How do we know this? They’re sending me your President’s Report. Holy crap.

  6. And in case you missed it MTA: I’m petty as hell. If I’m the big nothing, totally astroturfing, non-entity you love to tell people I am — it’s interesting how much time y’all spend with my name in your mouths.

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For the record — my youngest is in kindergarten. So please plan to see more of EduMom and Massachusetts Parents United for at least the next 15 years. (If my kids end up having to take two years of remedial courses before taking a college level course because they were screwed out of a high quality K-12 experience to adequately prepare them for post-secondary education I’m gonna be BIG MAD.)

Because I’m an actual Mom. With actual kids. Who are actually underserved by our current public education system. RIGHT NOW.

There are so many more of me. And we’re not asking your permission to speak up. Not anymore.

So if you’d like to have an actual conversation about the future of education in Massachusetts, let’s do it MTA. Stop using charter schools as a red herring. They’re a part of the solution and they’re not going away. Stop using money as an excuse. Especially when the leaders of your organization come from a districts with the worst achievement gaps in the country — despite being one of the wealthiest in state.

To solve this problem we’ll need more than money. We need a plan, accountability and political will. We’re here to hold everyone accountable for closing the opportunity gap: teachers, union, politicians and superintendents. EVERYBODY! Because our problem is not equitable distribution of talent — it’s equitable distribution of opportunity.

Parents are never a “threat.” Especially THIS parent. Do the right thing and you’ll have nothing to fear from EduMom.

We’re no longer going to continue having the same old fight in the same old sandbox that you’ve created for all of us. We’re here to build a better education system for ALL of our kids.

Get on board, or get out of the way.

Like our work? Think MPU is important? Support us.

Make a contribution to Massachusetts Parents United here:

What do you think?

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