#BOSMAYOR : SOMETHING TO HIDE

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^ all but one of these folks didn’t hide. Why the AFT ? “OneBoston” ? Ya right.

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Thanks to the Boston Globe’s Wesley Lowery, who scooped the story, we now know who “OneBoston” was and where its mysterious, last-week-of-the-race $ 480,000 ad buy came from. The AFT did it. As in American Federation of Teachers.”

My purpose is not to retell Lowery’s story, which you can read in the link below this paragraph. My intention, rather, is to confront the secrecy of it. By steering their $ 480,000 into the Boston Mayor race via a New Jersey PAC, in which state disclosure of donors is not required, the AFT kept hidden what it felt it needed to hide. The same was true of the Boston Teachers’ Union, which didn’t issue an endorsement of Marty Walsh until the morning of election day, too late for news media to make the voting public aware.

Link to Wesley Lowery’s story : http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/12/27/american-federation-teachers-revealed-funder-behind-mysterious-pro-walsh-pac-during-mayoral-campaign/ioVOZ2wdjfhxNVPF8hasMN/story.html

Why the hiding ? Clearly these teachers’ unions felt that if their active involvement in a Boston Mayor’s race were known , Boston’s 57,000 public school parents — and surely others — would not like it. These unions know that there’s scant public support for their agenda. Yet they were willing to hide behind the blinds for the sake of electing as Mayor a man who sits on a charter school board — which teachers’ unions profess to hate — but who is known to be a friend of unions and a go-slow collaborator who would likely not shake too many peaches off the peachtrees, in preference to a committed “school transformer” who actually sends his kids to a public school and who wanted much better than the status quo.

All year long the teachers unions have demonstrated their unwillingness to accord any school reform measures but their own. For them it has been “our way or the highway.” Thus the hiding; because school parents, curriculum developers, and Massachusetts’s state government have other ideas about how to improve schools than the teachers unions do and have more than sufficient public support to override the inflexibility of the teachers’ unions; and these unions know it, and thus took to subterfuge to evade the spotlight.

It was a pitiable example to set for the students whose citizenship learning we entrust to teachers. Don’t discuss, insist. Don’t make your moves known, deceive. Don’t confront unpleasant truths, send anonymous poison letters. (Privatization of schools, corporate intruders, child of privilege, etc.)

Bad enough when political campaigns do it. Despicable when done by people to whom we entrust the education of our children.

To circle the wagons around their own agenda, teachers’ organizations were ready to see a Mayor elected whose prospects are incremental at best, a mayor who is too decent a guy and too collaborative to force the hard decsions, instead of pursuing real reform by a Mayor candidate who understood that the future will not be like the past and who had solid ideas — and the intelligent fortitude and talented support group — on how to get his city there. To circle the wagons and do it under the table, like a worker trying to avoid paying taxes. I call it dishonorable.

John Connolly, the loser in this ambush, told Lowery “as a candidate I’m moving past the race. As a BPS parent, I am really angry.”

There was a time when teachers were reformers; embraced experiment; proposed new curricula and new school arrangements. Most teachers still understand very clearly that it is NOT about THEM, it’s about educating children. Unfortunately, the teachers’ organization that invaded the Mayor’s race unannounced “because they are fighting for working families,” no less, failed to get that message. For these groups, it was indeed all about them.

The Boston Teachers Union (BTU) had an opportunity, early in the race, to embrace the candidacy of John Connolly, which had made education the number one issue, and to discuss with him how to best reshape the public schools to be beneficial to the future economy and society. That would have been a superb exercise in reform that the voting public would surely have welcomed. Instead, the BTU chose to retrench, to demonize Connolly, to support a man they didn’t want to support, and to do so by last-minute ambush. But I do not blame the BTU as profoundly as I do the AFT. The BTU’s resistance to reforms not advocated by it was well publicized even if their election-morning endorsement wasn’t. The AFT chose to hide behind the curtain, like Polonius, and to lob a $ 480,000 bomb into the arena. It shouldn’t be surprised if it now finds itself poignarded by a host of Boston School Parents who have other ideas about school reform and who resent being ambushed by refuseniks.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Reporter’s note — All of this confirms my appraisal that it was Walsh’s weakness, electorally, that allowed him to accrue so many allies and thus to win. The politicians and interest groups that lent Marty their support applied the “City Council Presidency” rule : always vote for the weakest. That’s fine when electing a mostly powerless Council Presidency. It’s not so fine when misapplied to an office truly potent, as Boston’s mayor sure is. By applying the “vote the weakest” principle to Walsh, the groups and politicians who backed him basically retained power in their own hands — a kind of back-door Recall. The last thing these groups and office holders wanted was a strong Mayor who didn’t need them at every flex point. Walsh can still break free and grab the power of office; but to do so, he will have to betray and/or push aside many of his supporters. (It can be done. See the papacy of Pope Stephen III, mid- 8th Century, for an example of how to do it.) However, I see nothing in Walsh’s career or temperament that suggests such an outcome. I’m not sure he even wants it.   —- MF

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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