Thank you, Blue Mass Group, for endorsing Don Berwick!
I’m an education voter. The next governor will appoint the Secretary of Education and members of the Board of Education, who choose the Commissioner of Education. The governor can also be a leader in the debate over the future of education.
From Holyoke to New Bedford to Boston, parents and teachers are protesting the takeovers of their schools. Outstanding teachers are leaving the classroom, saying that the focus on high-stakes testing prevents them from helping children learn. 63% of business leaders in a recent poll by Mass Business Alliance for Education said there is too much emphasis on preparing students for standardized tests. Superintendents from are blogging, “Enough is enough” and “I’m mad as hell.”
I want a governor who will listen to these voices and take action, with the legislature, to turn back from top-down control and test-driven sanctions.
Berwick’s education platform goes beyond the universal agreement about early childhood education: “For too long our public education system has been threatened by chronic underfunding, a systemic overreliance on metrics and testing, and a demonization of the teacher work force.” There’s more and it’s worth reading.
A good short summary of each gubernatorial candidate’s education policy is on the League of Women Voters website.
But my support is based on more than issues. We need an experienced, thoughtful manager. Don Berwick has studied, practiced, and taught management; built an international non-profit; and managed Medicaid and Medicare (with a budget more than 20 times bigger than the state of Massachusetts).
When Berwick became Director of Medicare and Medicaid, he asked his staff for 50 regulations that didn’t help anyone and got in the way. They came back two weeks later with a list of 80, and over the next few months he got rid of 100 unnecessary regulations.
I also think he’s the most electable candidate. Picture this contest:
Our candidate is a pediatrician who built a non-profit that saved thousands of lives and then went on to manage Medicare, probably the most popular health care system in America (with 1 percent administrative costs).
The opposing candidate is a former insurance company CEO who got a lot of state assistance for his company and made it profitable by (according to Wikipedia), “cutting the workforce by 90 people, increasing premiums, establishing new contracts with Massachusetts physicians, reassessing the company’s financial structure, and outsourcing its information technology.”
Isn’t that a contest we could win?
On the issues, on management experience, and as our best chance in November, I hope BMG readers will support Berwick. If you don’t have time to canvass or phone, just use your social networks.
Sen. Pat Jehlen