A Brownsberger trifecta? Now he is after collective bargaining…

Interesting. Senator, care to respond? - promoted by david

I don’t have a dog in this Congressional fight, don’t know most of these candidates, live hours away.  But I’ve learned this: Will Brownsberger supports the Keystone XL pipeline and Citizens United, and he is one of two Democratic State Senators sponsoring a bill that targets collective bargaining rights for those teaching our Commonwealth’s neediest students.  This bill, H529, basically seeks to make it easier to throw out inconvenient promises made by towns and cities.

I’ll try for a brief summary.  About 50 Massachusetts schools have been labeled “Level 4″ based on test scores run through a complex formula, a branding which confers authority on administrators to shred the contract and force more work for no more pay, engage in mass firings, or privatize…power in the hands of the same culpable administration that can skate through with their comfortable six-figure salaries intact.  Three years into this latest approach, there is no strong evidence if this approach works.  (In September, the Commissioner of Education will make a rather arbitrary decision about what happens to these schools, with some moving to a higher level, and others possibly moving down.)  And in a surprise to absolutely nobody, these schools are all in diverse urban communities. Brownsberger’s bill would expand these methods of punishment to select “Level 3″ schools — those whose test-scores emerge from the formula in the bottom fifth in the Commonwealth.  That’s right, doesn’t matter how the students are actually doing, as  the priority is to ensure there are hundreds of schools to label and punish.  Which of those hundreds of schools, ticketed as Level 3 based, would be targeted, is unclear.   These are the 20% lowest schools according to that same arcane formula.

So we have a bill that seeks to shred legal contracts to make it easier for people who drove an organization into a ditch to blame other people.  The targets are those working in the most challenging environments, and the lesson is clear: don’t help those who need it the most, lest you be next on the hit list.  Most Democrats seem unready to attack working men and women absent evidence that it actually does any non-politician any good.  Brownsberger seems ready to go full steam ahead on this idea.  I don’t know much about the Senator, but the more I know the less I like.


14 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Will Brownsberger putting children first....How dare he do such a thing!!

    H529 is sponsored by Thomas Menino, Michael Barrett, Carlo Basile, Carlos Henriquez, Michael Moran, Russell Holmes, Kay Khan, and Martha Waltz. Are all these people “going after collective bargaining”?

    ” In districts in which a school or schools have been designated underperforming, compensation for additional hours for any non-charter school shall not be subject to collective bargaining under chapter 150E and shall be set at the same rates as established in the turnaround plan”.

    So OT is not part of the collective bargaining, this is the “war on women” hyperbole in the authors post.

    I am pleased to see Will, who lives in the wealthy community of Belmont, which has highly regarded public schools, actually cares about kids who are in low testing schools (I am not faulting the teachers either) and wants to do something about it, move the needle in a positive direction, for the children.

    Will Brownsberger is amazing, doesn’t fear tackling a difficult issue, even if it ruffles a few feathers. He will make a great congressman, whose heart and brain will be in the right place, not in the hip pocket of special interest groups. Truly, a man of the people who will make a difference in dysfunctional Washington D.C.


    • Just for fun

      I’m going to respond seriously because of the content rather than commentator. What, exactly, is the proof that this works? I am aware of no research* that demonstrates that these methods work. None. I realize that dfw is obediently using focus-group approved language pushed by millionaire advocates of billionaire privatization, but how does setting conditions to push experienced educators away from the children who most need them “put kids first”? Does firing experienced surgeons put patients first – but only in hospitals serving poorer patients? I am not sure why Brownsberger et al want to do things differently than what is done in successful schools while lacking any proof that it’s a good idea. The stakes are too high for “govermment by gut-feeling”.

      I am curious by the way about why Brownsberger supports a bill that would also supportdivert public funding to single-sex charter schools. Does he believe that govermment should also support schools closed to particular religions, sexual orientations, and ethnic backgrounds? *”Research” is understood by grown-ups to be peer-reviewed material published somewhere in the masses of academic journals, not a pretty pamphlet that reveals ‘discoveries’ you’re being paid good money to discover.

      sabutai   @   Thu 18 Jul 9:07 AM
      • Are you suggesting having single-sex charter schools is racists?

        You clearly implied this. So, logically, no taxpayer subsidized student loans for kids attending Smith College, right? What’s next, school uniforms?

        These kids in failing schools need to be educated now, so they have a shot at being part of the middle class. Doing nothing and keeping them stuck in failing schools, fosters desperation, anger, resentment, crime, and poverty. Appears Brownsberger and Menino want to shatter this mold, and is worth a shot.

        Rather than rely on the “experience” of the educator, I believe the parents and politicians should depend on the results, the data, to determine what is working and what is not. I think that is what Will is driving at with this bill, even if it includes funding single sex charter schools.

        When I visited Japan, what struck me was how no matter what job people had, they wore a uniform. Even the trash collectors wore a uniform, a great work ethic. Kids need to focus on their education like a laser beam, b/c in this global economy, mediocrity won’t cut it.

        Thanks Will for not looking the other way, or checking your donor list, and concerned how this may impact your fundraising ability.

      • I've switched sides

        From anti-Charter (My CRLS days) to pro-Charter (U of C days) to the Ravitch side of anti-charter (working adult days). But, there is significant research showing single sex education can lead to better results and its the kind of educational experiment that is difficult to have in a traditional public school. There could be Title IX issues, and I don’t want to fund any charter at the expense of public schools, but there might be a data based reason behind supporting that policy, it’s a little incredulous to presume sexism or make slippery slope arguments about racially segregated classrooms or public funds to religious schools. For what it’s worth, I still feel Wills opposition to the specific symbolic resolution on Citizens was taken out of context and he is correct that a carbon tax is a better climate fight than Keystone (though why not fight on both is beyond me). That said, he is wrong on unions.

        • I could never support single-sex education.

          That might have made sense in an era when gender-roles were narrowly defined and segregated, but now the real world is coed so school should be too.

          • Agreed! I went to an all-boy Catholic high school in New Hampshire...

            Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, New Hampshire which has been coed for many years now, and my understanding is that it is a much better school now.

            • Hey fellow Cardinal!

              I am Bishop Guertin class of 1996, the first class to have been coed for all four years. BG merged with all-girls Mount Saint Mary in 1992. I remember people asking me what I thought of the change and commenting how different that must be, but I went to public school for K-8 so of course coed is what I was used to. I recall at the time hearing mostly positive comments about the change and it was about that time they could afford to use higher standards for whom they accepted too.

              • I was Class of 77.

                One of the priest from B.G. who is also connected with Rivier College (now University) officiated at my mother’s funeral back in June, and he told me the plaque with my name on it is still in the display case in the lobby. Probably my only legacy with the school.

              • Incredible!

                All the months of going back and forth on modern Catholicism and J.R.R. Tolkien in various postings and it turns out we are from the same school. That is bizarre!

        • Principle v. Results

          This is a tricky one on single-sex education. Granted, the research quantifies that average test scores may improve for students in single-sex classrooms at certain ages. The research does not quantify the effect it has on students’ attitudes about gender equity. Would only White schools be okay if studies showed that students benefited from such an environment? That is the essence of this argument.

          I went to a single-sex Catholic school, and I’m not against the entire idea (mind, I’ve realized it was a mistake for me, but that’s neither here nor there). But the idea of my money underwriting a school that closes its doors on a certain group through no fault of their own troubles me.

          Oh, and our money already underwrites religious schools thanks to Obama’s anti-equity positions on religion — which are worse than Bush’s.

          sabutai   @   Fri 19 Jul 7:11 PM
        • gender identity?

          What do we do with the child whose body is one gender but internally they are the other?

          Given what we know about gender identity these days, it isn’t as simple as looking at the body to decide who goes to which school.

          • A few points

            I am not advocating mandating single sex schools but making it an option. As to Jasiu’s point, if we expand Harvey Milk High to other cities we can ensure safe spaces for students struggling with gender identity. Even progressive CRLS, which had the second gay-straight alliance in America-had issues with the bullying of transgendered. The vast majority of students will still attend co-Ed schools. Urban Prep has done wonders in Chicago, and the President’s remarks on Trayvon alluded to the fact that their still is a crisis among black men and black boys about crafting a positive identity thy stresses success, that respects women, and that respects stability within families and careers. Urban Prep has done wonders in this regard keeping boys out of gangs and educating them on respecting women. Having tutored in a co-Ed South side school I’ve seen the inverse and it ain’t pretty.

« Blue Mass Group Front Page

Add Your Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Wed 29 Mar 12:58 PM