In New York City schools, civil rights or wrongs?
Monday, June 6, 2011
The school reform wars have taken a dramatic turn in New York City, where 2,500 parents and students – overwhelming black and Hispanic – rallied last week
to protest the NAACP
’s involvement in a lawsuit against the city’s effort to close 22 low-performing schools and allow charter schools
to occupy surplus space in city public school buildings.
The scene of minority parents and children holding signs imploring the country’s iconic civil rights organizations not to block their access to public charter schools that offer an alternative to failing district schools made for a poignant reminder of how much the urban school reform effort has upset traditional political alliances.
In joining with the city’s teachers’ union in the lawsuit, NAACP leaders said they were standing up for equal treatment for all students – the plaintiffs have charged that, in buildings that are shared by charter and district schools, charter schools have been given better facilities and more access to gymnasiums and other resources by city leaders.
In an op-ed last week
in the Washington Post
, NAACP president Ben Jealous
wrote, “This lawsuit was filed for the most common reasons we have sued boards of education across the decades: Students are being grossly mistreated, their parents are being deeply disrespected and the entire community stands to suffer.”
But that’s not how other civil rights leaders are viewing it. The president of the United Negro College Fund
, Michael Lomax, and former Washington, DC, school chancellor Michelle Rhee penned a scathing critique
of the NAACP in the New York Daily News
. The NAACP “ought to be ashamed for fighting to deprive kids and families of better educational options,” they wrote. The NAACP “has a storied history of fighting for the right of black children to go to public school. It won that battle, and we're all better for it. But in this fight -- the fight for children's right not only to go to school but to get a good education -- the NAACP seems to have switched sides. It's fighting not for the right of kids of color to get a good education, but to keep failing public schools open and to limit kids' ability to go to public schools that are working.” --MICHAEL JONAS BEACON HILL
Will Sal DiMasi testify
in his own defense?
The state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance
declines to penalize Andover
for using a town van to transport youth workers to a polling place to work for selectman candidate Paul Salafia
, the Eagle-Tribune reports.TORNADO AFTERMATH
The clean-up continues in Springfield
as a group of Boston Police officers gather up chain saws and a Bobcat
and head out to help.MUNICIPAL MATTERS
The Bridgewater Town Council rejected the proposed contract
for Police Chief Christopher Delmonte
, saying the 3 percent annual raise would set a bad precedent for other employees.Cape Cod towns
are seeking authority to tax private vacation rentals and real estate sales
pay-as-you-throw program could be a model for other communities on the Cape
, according to a Cape Cod Times
editorial.Pittsfield’s tax amnesty program
doesn’t get the hoped for results.
Trinity EMS, Haverhill’s
ambulance provider, buys naming rights to Haverhill Stadium
– three years for $25,000, the Eagle-Tribune reports.ELECTION 2012Sarah Palin
, who offered a rogue version of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
during her walk along the Freedom Trail
last week, told Fox News
, “I know my American history.”
It’s, apparently, everyone else’s American history that has her flummoxed. But the Herald begs to differ
, saying, “You betcha she was right.”
With the annual issues convention in Lowell as the backdrop, Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh
sat down with Jon Keller
to talk about the state of the party and said the main focus is on unseating Sen. Scott Brown.
The Herald reports
that Brown was the top target at the Lowell convention.
Former Deval Patrick
aide Doug Rubin tears into
national Democratic officials, saying the recent string of dime-dropping
about the weakness of the current Senate field is hurting fundraising and keeping grassroots activists on the sidelines.
The American Spectator
says if Mitt Romney
is the GOP nominee, his defense of Massachusetts’s health care law makes conservative opposition to President Obama’s national reform politically and legally difficult
. Ron Paul lobs
a money bomb
at Romney, with health care front and center. Rick Santorum
is “in it to win it.”
The New York Times profiles
the former Pennsylvania
senator, and knocks out its Hermanator profile
while it’s at it.
What President Obama needs to do
to get to the magic number, 270.New York
a world in which both Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann
run for president. BUSINESS/ECONOMY
The Boston Bruins
extended run into the Stanley Cup
finals is providing an unexpected boost for business
at a normally quiet time for bars, retailers and, especially, ticket brokers.
editorial page bids adieu -- and good riddance
-- to retiring AFL-CIO
president Bobby Haynes
First the film industry
, now video gaming
: Efforts are on
to push for a tax credits
to boost the state’s video gaming industry. CHARITY
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
says examples such as Harold Camping
’s taxpayer-supported calculations of the Rapture could render charity status irrelevant
and threaten legitimate nonprofits’ tax-exempt standing.EDUCATIONNorth Adams
teachers vote to give back $80,000, which represents their one percent raise for 2012, to the city to help ease budget woes
.The Berkshire Eagle
argues that the state needs to do better with funding for higher education
and can start with level funding for 2012.
Teachers at the first charter school
in the state where educators voted to unionize may leave the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts
, the Globe reports
, citing waning interest and frustration over the union’s perceived agenda against the charter school movement.
In a classic example of the frustration with attempts to make order out of things through ranking efforts, a new study says Harvard
and Boston University
score high in terms of creating value from academic research, while MIT
scores poorly -- but it’s not clear that the study is actually measuring something of meaningful value. HEALTH CARE The MetroWest Daily News
makes the case for childhood immunizations.
Lavish compensation to the boards of directors
of health care nonprofits should end, says The Berkshire Eagle.POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
The principal of Westfield High School
gets over himself and allows the students who staged a scene from “Star Wars” in the cafeteria to walk in their graduation ceremony
. The kids who put Vaseline on doorknobs also got to walk.