Coakley a hit with MTA members on ed issues

MECEU Lobby Day Janelle Quarles, president of the Classified Staff Union at UMass Boston, and Deb Gesualdo of the Malden Education Association were among the crowd of MTA educators to meet with Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Attorney General Martha Coakley received an enthusiastic standing ovation Saturday from about 100 educators who met with her in Quincy to share their views on education issues and hear her positions.

“The members here today were really fired up,” said Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni of the event at the Best Western Adams Inn. MTA has recommended Coakley for governor.

Coakley listened intently when teacher after teacher told stories about ways that the excessive focus on standardized tests, the complex educator evaluation system and the seemingly endless stream of mandates is interfering with their ability to teach.

Coakley said she agreed. “Education has been hijacked in ways we need to correct,” she said. “These kids are on an assembly line. I know that you feel like you are also on an assembly line."

“I know that you feel like you are also on an assembly line."

- Attorney General Martha Coakley

She was asked for her views about a new plan under consideration by the state to tie educators’ state licenses with their district-based evaluations and their students’ test scores. “I do not support that and I will not support that,” she said emphatically, to loud applause.

Coakley talked about how her experience as attorney general brought her face to face with the social and emotional needs of children and how that can interfere with their ability to learn in school. She pledged to support more resources for public education and higher education, to preschool programs and to social services for high-need children and families.

After the event, members who supported Coakley all along said they felt even stronger about her candidacy, while those who were lukewarm said they are now enthusiastically in her corner.

“We’ve got to get her elected,” said Marguerite Gonsalves, president of the Malden Education Association. “That has got to be our highest priority. She listened. She came across as sincere. And she recognizes that the teacher voice has to be heard in education policy.”

Chandler Creedon, president of the Franklin Education Association, said, “I feel much more enthusiastic after today. She really listened to us.”

Rosemary Jebari, a Framingham teacher, said she has supported Coakley all along, but after hearing her directly address members’ concerns, “I feel more convinced than ever that I was right in supporting her.”

Related Resources:

  • Who will deliver for public education? Comparison guide to the candidates running for Massachusetts governor
  • Where do I vote? Who are the candidates? Get answers to your election-related questions at massteacher.org/election.
  • Let the world know that you vote. Download a Twibbon announcing to the world "I'm an educator and I vote."
  • Check out photos of the Coakley event with MTA members on Flickr.