No on 2 Votes Keep Pouring In
The energy to save our public schools is growing, as votes by local school committees against Question 2 keep pouring in. Soon we will announce when and where we topped 100. But let's not stop there. The more local elected officials tell their constituents how bad Question 2 is, the more things will keep moving our way - as shown by this recent WBUR poll.
OK, that was enough celebrating. Yes on 2 supporters have pledged to spend $18 million to lift the cap on charter schools, and they are well on their way. We need to have one conversation at a time to counter the lies and corporate money that they are spending (see below). Phone banks, canvassing and leafleting at parent open houses are the best ways to spread the word. Ask your local president or field representative how you can help - or join a Save Our Public Schools event.
Board Chair Gives $100K to Yes on 2
Venture capitalist Paul Sagan, Governor Charlie Baker's appointed chair of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, contributed $100,000 to the Yes on 2 campaign - an act that Baker calls a "nothing burger" and that we call a disgrace. How can Sagan be an impartial arbiter of the board's charter debates when he has gone all in for charters? Please sign this petition calling for his resignation.
Billionaires for Question 2
Sagan and Fidelity honchos notwithstanding, 80 percent of the pro-Question 2 money has come from out of state. Most of that is "dark money" - meaning the names of the contributors are hidden. But $1.8 million was contributed by Jim and Alice Walton from Arkansas. Yes, those are the Walmart Waltons, infamous exploiters of working men and women everywhere. Read what Worcester T&G columnist Clive McFarlane has to say about all this in his excellent column, "Corporations seeing green in growing charter school industry."
Black Education Matters
The pro-charter folks claim that lifting the cap will help black and brown children in Massachusetts - but can't explain why most groups representing those children are adamantly against the proposal. Both the Boston and New England chapters of the NAACP are fighting Question 2, and Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson has become a leading debater against it. Other No on 2 endorsers include the Black Educators' Alliance of Massachusetts, the Black Economic Justice Institute, La Communidad, and the Union of Minority Neighborhoods. This insightful article by Seattle educator and activist Jesse Hagopian explains why leading black organizations across the country are fighting the corporate education "reform" agenda.
Protest Peyser the Privatizer Tomorrow
Don't forget to give Secretary of Education Jim Peyser a piece of your mind at a Rally for Public Education at noon tomorrow, September 15, on the plaza outside the Campus Center at UMass Boston. I'll be there, along with Tito Jackson and others. We will be speaking out against tuition increases at UMB, in favor of more funding for public higher education, and against Question 2.
Visibilities for No on 2 on October 6
Please start planning now for walk-in visibility events on October 6, a national day to Reclaim Our Public Schools. We are hearing that most locals want to use this day to hold signs and wear stickers against Question 2, holding stand-outs in front of their schools for a half-hour before the school day begins. This is a solidarity-building event for all public school supporters. Check with your building rep or local president to make sure you have signs and a plan. Take and post a lot of pictures like these: Social media is incredibly important.
Pasi Sahlberg Coming to Wellesley on October 13
Finnish educator and scholar Pasi Sahlberg is coming to Wellesley College at 7:30 p.m. on October 13 to discuss "The Inconvenient Truth about American Education Reform." He is an excellent speaker with a wealth of knowledge, so I highly recommend checking out his talk. The event is free and open to the public.
In solidarity, and in anticipation of many great things ahead,