How to Quell a Rebellion

I’ve had a child in Boston Public Schools for 5 years now. And every year, the budget that is allotted to the school system is less than the rising costs. This results in painful cuts at the schools.

Parents are becoming a little bit more vocal about the situation.

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So I’ve been taking note of the myriad of ways that the establishment has used to discredit us.

Deny that it is happening

At the State of the City Address in January of 2016, this is what Mayor Walsh had to say about education:

I know we share this priority. Now let’s fund it. Let’s work through the state budget process this year to make it a full investment in our children, our families, and our Commonwealth’s future. Let’s live up to our reputation as the world leader in learning.

Outside of the very hall where he was giving this speech, 150 or so people were marching in 2 degree weather protesting the fact that he wasn’t funding it.

The mayor has repeatedly denied that there are budget cuts at the school level even though teachers have been signing the work release letters throughout the winter. This was further reinforced by the Herald editorial on February 22, 2016 that stated, mysteriously, that the “budget cuts are off the table.”

On February 26, 2016, I called into speak with Mayor Walsh on Boston Public Radio’s monthly Ask the Mayor segment. I was on the phone with him telling him that my daughter’s school is losing 2 teachers. He kept denying that teachers were being laid off, and simply said they are looking at “efficiencies.”

This is a very simple maneuver and boy it works. I’ve had friends get mad at me for calling the mayor a liar but there is really no other way to put it. The mayor isn’t telling the truth, and he is doing it to deliberately confuse the public about what is happening in BPS. Furthermore, the press never calls him out on this and in fact, parrots his lies.

Bore them into compliance

Now, you actually have to interact with the school department to see how this one works. But if you go to any of the budget hearings, you will be subjected to an hour-long presentation about HOW the budget is being cut. Now, it doesn’t take too much emotional intelligence to understand that what parents want know is WHY the budget is being cut but that question never gets answered.

I’ve also seen this dynamic with Supt. Chang (a man’s whose job I do not envy.) When asked a question about why this is happening or even how can you let this happen, he will launch into a long recitation of the mechanics of taking dollars and cents away from the high schools and special needs programs.

You know your question isn’t really being answered but you’ve fallen asleep by the time he’s gotten to the end of it.

Divide and Conquer

On February 25, 2016, Farah Stockman threw down the “Blame the Teachers” narrative. Boston’s has the largest income inequality of any big city in America. So this is an easy and classic way to stir up resentment. People are genuinely suffering in Boston so it’s easy to shame people who are making a living wage.

BTW – the Director of Families for Excellent Schools in Massachusetts enthusiastically cheered this column on.

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Families for Excellent Schools is the group promoting more charter schools in Massachusetts. This is also the group that has ties to Eva Moskowitz in New York. Does that name sound familiar to you? Her Success Academy Charter Schools have been in the NY Times recently for their abuse of kids.

As an interesting side note, Farah Stockman is leaving the Boston Globe to go work for the New York Times.

Ignore Us

This is the governor’s tactic. He just doesn’t say anything about the school districts’ budgets – ever. It’s pretty darn effective to tell you the honest truth. I guess that’s why he’s Mr. Popularity.

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