Talk about your huge mistake. You are surrounded on both sides by folks seeking Paul Reville’s resignation (or worse), Charlotte Golar Richie put out a statement with this interesting little paragraph.
On Saturday, the Gloucester Times published an email from Secretary Reville, originally sent in February, advocating for an award of the Gloucester charter, which has served to set back recent progress.
Excuse me? It isn’t Paul Reville’s fault. Mitchell Chester did nothing more than fulfill his responsibilities as a good public official? It’s that damn newspaper that caused this mess? How disappointing.
As a 2006 Deval primary supporter, worker, and contributor, I think I am (or at least was) in his base. He’s alienated a whole bunch of progressives who have absolutely no reason to rally behind the education agenda cooked up by Reville and Chester.
Deval has a very small window to undo this damage. I think it is obvious what needs to be done, and if John from Abington or anyone else who can talk sense into our governor wants to hear my rescue strategy, I am happy to give counsel.
In the meantime, these emails from the campaign are beyond counterproductive. They are reinforcing a negative image of the Deval Patrick administration, one that can’t be allowed to set in stone this close to the next election.
Over the past few days, the media has reported on a controversy surrounding the approval of a charter grant for the Gloucester Community Arts Academy School.
Before I get into the details, I want to clearly state that one of the core values of our state and our Governor is an unrelenting desire to invest in and improve our education system. As you know, the Governor has a deep, personal understanding of the power of education because it is what transformed his own life. The Governor and his Administration remain unwavering in that commitment.
Charter grants have been quite controversial in Massachusetts and, indeed, across the nation. The Gloucester example is a particularly controversial example, and an article in today’s Boston Globe raises the question of whether the process for this school’s grant was open and sound.
I wanted to let you know that the Governor spoke to both the Secretary of Education and to the Commissioner of Elementary Education, and while he is satisfied that the process was sound, he nonetheless has asked for reconsideration because of the lack of confidence in the process within the Gloucester community.
Because the success of ventures like this depend on community acceptance and understanding, the Governor has repeatedly requested that the Board start the process anew so that, whatever the ultimate decision, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind about the integrity of the process. You can find more information and details below.
Charlotte Golar Richie
Deval Patrick Committee
The timeline and facts:
* The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mitchell Chester, received an application to create a new charter school in Gloucester, one of three charter applications that made it to the final review process.
* The Commissioner’s staff recommended against all three charter applications.
* Secretary of Education Paul Reville and Commissioner Chester discussed all aspects of the various charter proposals and Secretary Reville advocated for approval of the Gloucester charter school.
* Commissioner Chester independently evaluated the proposals and brought the Gloucester charter school forward to the Board for a vote.
* The Board independently considered the application and approved the Gloucester charter school.
* Local representatives and concerned citizens appealed to Commissioner Chester, Secretary Reville and, ultimately, Governor Patrick, raising concerns about the funding impacts on the district and the chartering process itself.
* Governor Patrick personally met with a group of concerned citizens and subsequently wrote the Board and Commissioner Chester asking them to reconsider their decision and start the process over.
* Following issuance of the letter, Secretary Reville met with charter and community leaders to find common ground.
* On Saturday, the Gloucester Times published an email from Secretary Reville, originally sent in February, advocating for an award of the Gloucester charter, which has served to set back recent progress.
* Governor Patrick wrote again yesterday asking that the Board and Commissioner of Elementary Education start the process anew so that there is no cloud over the decision and all members of the Gloucester community will be heard on the charter grant.