How the MA Board of Education became a Rubber Stamp

BIG hat tip to Pioneer Institute for doggedly chronicling the Patrick Administration’s dismantling of education reform and 2008 overhaul of the Board of Education as it was happening… They were like the Homeric Cassandra, foretelling the future even though no one was listening and they were powerless to change it. The Governor was denying reality– but NOW we know what he was up to, and why.…

But the [Patrick] administration’s main target was the state board of education. In a move reminiscent of FDR’s court-packing plan, the overhaul added two seats to the board, opened up two more slots by removing the commissioner of early childhood education and the chancellor of higher education, made the new secretary [Paul Reville] a voting member, and truncated the terms of members least likely to agree with the administration.

Even more importantly, it stripped the renamed Board of Elementary and Secondary Education of its independence, placing it firmly under the governor’s control by giving the new secretary final say over budget requests and veto power over its selection of future commissioners of education.

Oh, the hypocrisy–…

When a far milder education secretariat was proposed in 2003, Paul Reville, now chairman of the state Board of Education, opposed it in testimony before the Legislature.

Today, Mr. Reville supports the Patrick plan, claiming that it keeps appropriate distance between politics and education policy.

But in his 2003 testimony, he said, “No matter how well constituted, an education secretariat creates a competing center of power that vies with and against the state’s chief school officer, the commissioner of education and the state education agency.

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