I've been blogging for five years about the start-up, innovation economy and I almost never write about politics. But this week is different. This week, the Massachusetts Legislature is about to vote on a bill to (finally) reform education in Massachusetts – to lift the cap on charter schools, empower commissioners to reform the worst-performing schools and create "Readiness Schools" that get around the usual bureaucracy and drive towards academic excellence.
The importance of passing this legislation cannot be over-stated. I've been somewhat involved with education reform through my activities at Facing History and Ourselves and my role on the Governor's Readiness Finance Commission and I am passionate about its importance to our state's future. Local business leaders are all over this issue. Recently, a large coalition formed (including the Progressive Business Leaders Network) and organized by The Boston Foundation called the Race to the Top coalition has been hammering on this issue and building momentum. A strong education reform bill is now in front of the Legislature for a vote this week. The teacher's union is against the reform – no surprise – as it will reduce their power. And those of us who are passionate about the Innovation Economy in Massachusetts are too busy to hang around the State House and lobby.
So here's what you can do. Read this editorial in the Boston Globe by Scott Lehigh that summarizes the bill. If you agree with it, take action. Take two minutes to click on the link below and write your state rep or senator and send them the message that you are IN FAVOR of education reform and that they shouldn't give in to pressure from the teachers' unions. We desperately need to move forward on this issue and seize the moment.
And if you have a blog or tweet, spread the word! I'll tweet this from www.twitter.com/bussgang and you can retweet away. If you want, you can even use this Twitter list of the 17 state legislators who are on Twitter to send them the message. http://bit.ly/2VtWU7.
Take action – get engaged. Now is the time where the pro-reform voice needs to be heard.
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Yeah, I had never heard of this either. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!
Very interesting, Gregor. I'd never heard of this issue. Thanks for raising – and for taking action by reaching out to your rep and state senator.
True reform however comes with a big change to the Teacher Certification process. That does not appear to be part of this bill.
When I returned to Mass in 1998, for example, with both an undergrad and grad degree–I took the Teacher certification tests, which you could take before taking the coursework. I scored in the 98th percentile on the general, and 99th in the core subject test(s). However, all I could earn for that was a provisional license. i.e. a qualification to teach as a substitute teacher.
I moved on to other endeavors. But MA might have had me as a teacher. Thing is, when one has already done undergrad and grad in rigorous fashion, who wants to spend money or time taking “education theory” courses? Besides, I wound up doing teaching in other venues, and had tons of classroom success.
I believe Malcom Gladwell is now on to this issue, and believes as I do: people with degrees should be given a chance to teach without the lightweight education courses as a hurdle.
Good luck with the reform effort. I will call my Rep.
Jeff, great post! I’m a huge charter school fan, given that my boys are receiving the equivalent of a private school education at Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School. Having the honor of serving on the board of trustees for three years gave me a front row seat to the power that teacher- and parent-driven education have in raising the bar for public education.