The Future of Public Education in Massachusetts

My name is David Whelan and I am the Char of the Swampscott School Committee. My comments are my own and not those of my fellow School Committee members.

Imagine the unimaginable. The state GOP gets its act together and actually makes public education their issue in the soon to occur Governor’s election. It is possible and the dialog should start today.

Parents and taxpayers across the state have had it with the state of our public schools. Those schools are overburdened by unfundated mandates and the special interest of the teacher’s unions. Compounding the funding problem, the party in charge has decided to “close the achievement gap” on the backs of the children in the suburbs. I make no claim that the urban districts should forgoe their funding so that the suburbs can receive additional funding. I do believe that appropriate funding for both the suburbs and our urban centers should ultimately be our goal. The present chapter 70 formula is unfair and has contributed to the incremental dismantling of school districts across the commonwealth. So unfair is chapter 70 that none other than Governor Patrick publicly referred to chapter 70 as a “broken” program. Those comments were made at two of his Town Hall meetings this summer, one in Salem and one on the Cape. The Cape video is available on you tube.

So what’s it going to be GOP? Do you want this issue to be yours because if you do it’s there for the taking. Starting today Mass GOP, make a vow to reach out to those of us on the ground and you will find that change can happen, but is starts with returning calls and listening. The alternative is a one party state and more of the same.  

About David Whelan

  • You have come to the folks who are the architects of the problem you decry.  The Romney folks, and the Pioneer Institute, had an agenda to:

    – starve public school districts of funding

    – divert funding to private charter school operators

    – use a punitive accountability system to undermine confidence in public schools

    For the GOP to get its act together to make public education its priority, in the way you want, they would need to get out of bed with the Pioneer Institute and the privatization crowd. It might happen, but the odds are very small.

  • Karl Marx

    what he’s talking about! Thank God the Pioneer Institute has been around to help craft the ERA of 1993. It’s about accountability. Charter schools work. Pablo’s probably a mouthpiece for the teachers unions. Why are so many parents lining up to enroll their children in charter schools? That burns up the liberals in this state. Take a look at the Excel Charter School in East Boston for example.

  • As stated in my entry, the Governor publicly has stated that the education funding formula under chapter 70 is “broken.” So what do we do when something is broken? We ignore it!

    The link to the video is below and the remarkable comments made by the Governor are at 1 minute 15 seconds of the video. Enjoy!

  • Vote3rdpartynow

    I think it is interesting that you ask the GOP what they are going to do about the problem with public education.  You see, the GOP is not in power.  The GOP has not been elected to fix anything and somehow you subtly imply that the GOP has dropped the ball – or failed to pick up the ball on this issue.  I assume you have asked the Democrat party the same question?  If so what was their answer?  Let me guess – more money, right?

    I think if you want to see what the GOP is going to do about the issue of public education then you should encourage all your friends and use all your influence to get GOP elected in both the town and the state.

  • sjfern20

    Chapter 70 is flawed and broken. In our town we fork over 2 million to our regional vocational school based on property value.  Who decided that funding is based on the town property value is insane. Instead it should be based on the number of students attending from our town.

    This deprives our school system in the process. No one wants to upset the apple cart in beacon hill. So nothing changes