Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mass. Dems Platform Meeting on Education?

In what seems to be a good idea, the Massachusetts Democratic Party is allowing pretty much anyone to hold a meeting to help contribute to the process of examining the Massachusetts Democratic Party platform. One just has to notify the party and hold the meeting within the window of Feb. 11 to March 29. According to this BMG Diary, notes from the hearings can be forwarded to the Democratic State Committee for consideration before the platform is presented to the convention. Furthermore, John Walsh said he was okay with hearings centered on a region, or an issue at a recent Democratic event.

While I am not sure how much impact a platform hearing could have, I imagine it would be more impact than none. Personally, I think a casino/gambling platform meeting would be a good idea, but I am more interested in a meeting on education.

The state platform on education can be found here, and a brief summary breaks down very roughly as:

* Keep improving schools on model of the Education Reform Act of 1993.
* Funding education is more important than cutting taxes
* No money/vouchers for private or religious schools
* Challenging standards, accountable teachers. Graduation should not be based wholely on passing MCAS
* Do what it takes to get good teachers.
* No discrimination in education. Yes to bilingual education
* Universal pre-k
* Afterschool and summer programs are good.

I'll note that there isn't much here about public charter schools, or the NCLB/federal regime. There is nothing on gifted and talented schools either. While these are priorities to me, they aren't to everyone. I'm not trying to make this out as "the agenda", but those are two absences that jumped out at me.

While I wouldn't be surprised if teachers' unions or Deval's "Readiness reps" seek to convene a meeting along their narrow interests, I am writing this to elicit support for an early-March platform meeting on education to be held in metro Boston, probably in a restaurant of public library on a weekday night. Please let me know (in the comments of via email -- ) if you would be interested in attending and/or helping organize.


1 comment:

Kathleen Conley Norbut said...


Let me know the time/date you set up. Metrowest would work best for me coming from Monson...Framingham?

I was asked to join the Platform Committee but could not make the time commitment. I do plan however to participate. Thanks for kicking this off.

I would like to see more discussion of not just the priorities but identifying sustainable funding sources.

Kathleen Conley Norbut, M.Ed., LMHC
DSC member