Stand Down

Fix Don't PrivatizeThe Parent Imperfect is back in Roslindale after fleeing the city for three days to end the sixth decade of his life in the anonymity of a classic Route 6 hotel within biking distance of the National Seashore. While I was gone, the education reform organization, Stand for Children, continued to make headlines, at the expense of Boston and the parents and children who rely on its public schools.

STAND is a national organization that sounds very good on paper (full disclosure, I once gave a very compelling STAND organizer $25 to join), but they have clearly decided to cast their lot with the corporate school reform agenda.  Support for expansion of charter schools is only the beginning of that agenda.

Sadly, many of the mayoral candidates lined up to get STAND’s endorsement, which speaks to the sad state of the national debate on public education. The rush to the trough has made me look more closely at those candidates who didn’t get in line. In the end, John Connolly won the STAND endorsement. That’s one prize John may eventually regret winning.

The law doesn’t allow organizations like STAND to give $$$ directly to candidates, but STAND can do political ads highlighting a particular candidate’s position on a particular issue, like education reform. STAND could have done this very much on the sly, but decided that there was hay to be made by announcing very publicly that they were going to flood Boston with pro-Connolly ads focusing on the candidate’s ed reform credentials. This time, they seem to have overplayed their hand.

Connolly refusesConnolly’s mother didn’t raise a fool. He sensed that allowing STAND to use his campaign to make statements about ed reform that, while popular with downtown interests (and probably in agreement with his own positions), might not play well with many voters. So, he stood down. In a week when there wasn’t a lot of news happening, he announced that he would ask STAND not to do any “independent” campaign in support of his candidacy.

Everyone from the Indignant Teacher to the Globe’s Larry Harmon have trashed Connolly for the way he’s handled all of this. I would have damned the candidate if he had allowed his campaign to become a vehicle for STAND’s message, so I hesitate to damn him for not doing so. My own critique of Connolly is for his position on education reform, rather than his failure to embrace the $$$ of a national reform organization that agrees with his position. Ironically, his actions may turn out to be the best and only way to keep STAND’s money (much of it from the corporate sector) out of the election. One can only hope…

The role of $$$ (regardless of the zip code it comes from) in elections is an important topic, and something need to be done to change the laws on campaign finance. I hope the conversation about STAND’s money doesn’t keep us from continuing to push all of the candidates to be very clear about how they intend to fix Boston’s schools.

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2 Comments

Filed under Boston Public Schools

2 responses to “Stand Down

  1. There is one goal that people like us – who understand the truth behind Ed Reform – in Boston should be focusing on at this point…to make sure our next Mayor will be the one who starts the Battle that will win this War.

    The Indignant Teacher has been making many mistakes in her efforts to do that – most recently with Connolly. She’s since recognized that slamming him is not the way to educate him, and also that he is far from the only one needing an education.

    Hopefully, this will prove to be the best mistake ever, as it’s offered her clarity about her goal and a plan to achieve it. All she needs now is other people who will help her spread her message as much as possible, so that it is sure to reach and impact the candidates.

    Please share today’s two posts on The Indignant Teacher with everyone you can…help her make sure Boston’s next Mayor will be the one who wins this War! Thanks!!

  2. It’s early yet, to say what is a mistake and what is not. I agree that it REALLY matters who is the next Mayor, but I’m not as clear as you might be on my side. Whoever the next Mayor is, they are going to need a lot of help to see a change agenda that reinvents the current system in something other than the corporate image. I’m glad you’ll be there to help with that help. Happy indignation!

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