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Education: Are we up to the task? | Reforming Mass. schools

State bill would dismantle public schools

January 17, 2010

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GOVERNOR DEVAL Patrick’s Jan. 7 op-ed in support of the education reform bill was steeped in flowery rhetoric and quite deft in missing the point. When Patrick states that the legislation is “a rescue mission for every child in the Commonwealth trapped in an underperforming school,’’ he fails to mention that “Innovation Schools,’’ the type that he and the charter school wonks are so enamored of, are an unproven, new genre.

Follow the money trail, governor, and see that it’s the private think tanks and corporations that want to profit by dismantling the public school system as we know it. The clearest indication of that is that the achievement gap has not been closed by charter schools. On the contrary, children who are special needs, underprivileged, minority, or poor - those most likely to be suffering from the achievement gap - are not serviced by charters. The charters, in fact, have no proven record of succeeding with this population.

So, where is the rescue mission? It seems the hidden agenda for the legislation being readied for Patrick’s signature is to give additional firing power to school superintendents, enabling them to bypass collective bargaining and teachers unions in their quest to remove teachers.

If the governor really believes this new legislation, essentially dismantling the public school systems, is the answer to closing the achievement gap, and he is banking his political future on it, there really must be a job opening for him in Washington.

Bruce C. Ditata
East Wareham
The writer is a retired special education teacher.

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