Policy Briefs

Policy Briefs

Charter school expansion in Massachusetts and the “No on 2” campaign: The role of the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) and Educators of a Democratic Union (EDU)

INTRODUCTION

In an article published by the National Education Policy Center, (NEPC) Lawrence Blum analyzes what occurred in the November 2016 election in Massachusetts when voters decisively defeated a referendum, funded by corporate backers of charter schools and privatization. The measure would have significantly increased the number of charter schools in the state and was fought in a campaign called “No on 2.” 

With permission of the NEPC, we reprint Blum’s article. In this Policy Brief, Barbara Madeloni, President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), elected as the candidate of a reform caucus, Educators for a Democratic Union (EDU), responds to questions I have posed (in italics) about the union’s involvement in the “No on 2” campaign, especially aspects of racial politics as well as MTA’s internal politics.  Following the protocol of the Policy Project, the Brief is followed by a commentary presenting a different perspective. Dr. Marilyn Maye, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at New Jersey City University, teaching and serving in leadership roles related to the preparation of leaders for public schools, has written the commentary for this Brief. In addition to writing for professional journals, she is author of They are men and not gods, Stone of Help, and co-author of Orita: Rites of passage for youth of African descent in America, and Beloved Educators: Women of Color Who Inspire Us. Dr. Maye is also a Consulting Director of the Policy Project.

Many thanks to both authors for finding time to contribute to this discussion. I hope future commentaries will address the controversies their work has illuminated.

Dr. Lois Weiner, Director
Urban Education and Teacher Unionism Policy Project

Full Document

 


 

SUMMARY

Currently teachers unions and education activists in communities of color in cities are often at odds about reforms that are enacted in the name of equalizing educational opportunity. Yet, each group has resources the other lacks and they share many common aims. Working together they might achieve considerably more than either can alone, especially if differences of tactics or substance turn them into foes rather than allies. This first Brief of the Urban Education and Teacher Unionism Policy Project explains the Policy Project’s mission: supporting activists working to improve schools for poor youth of color to benefit from working with transformed teachers unions as allies and supporting teachers unions to develop mutually respectful alliances with school and community activists from historically marginalized groups struggling for social justice and equality. The Policy Project bases its work on the assumption that creating and sustaining these alliances requires that teachers unions change how they operate and conceive of what it means to defend their members’ interests and all parties grapple with the differing and sometimes contradictory pressures on social justice groups and unions. Lois Weiner, Director of the Policy Project, explains the Project’s aims and purpose and how Briefs can further those objectives. Sally Lee, Executive Director of Teachers Unite, a grassroots membership organization of teachers working to end the school to prison pipeline and democratize New York City, comments about the challenges for activists who work with teachers unions, suggesting how the Policy Project and Briefs can be of use. The Brief ends with a short bibliography of materials that inform the Policy Project’s unique mission and vision.

Full Document

 

Top