By Ben Velderman
LAWRENCE, Mass. – A new Boston Globe editorial that approves of charter schools and pans union bullying tactics is so hard-hitting for a left-wing newspaper that we had to check to make sure it wasn’t a parody from The Onion. (It’s not.)
In its editorial, the Globe praises the state’s “bold” turnaround plan for the beleaguered Lawrence Public Schools, one of Massachusetts’ worst districts. The paper practically gushes over decisions that allow “successful” charter operators to assume control of two schools in the district and give school principals the power to lengthen school days and choose staff members without union interference.
The paper also takes a favorable view of introducing a merit pay plan and ending seniority rights for teachers.
The Globe says its “understandable” that the local teachers union would have concerns over the plan, but chides the union for being “bombastic” in its opposition.
“But one important aspect of the education reform law of two years ago was a recognition that failing schools and failing districts require serious changes — and that, if those changes can’t be negotiated with unions, districts still must have the power to make them happen,” the Globe states.
Pretty impressive, eh?
But the editorial writers save their toughest talk for their conclusion.
“The union deserves to have its concerns heard, but shouldn’t get a veto over the process,” the editorial notes. “As the Legislature wisely recognized two years ago, when schools are failing, the concerns of unions have to take a back seat to concern for students.”
Bottom line: When former Congressman Barney Frank’s hometown newspaper publishes this type of editorial, teacher union leaders have to realize they’re on the losing end of the education reform struggle.