Page-led MTA leads fight for Question 1
Union contributes $10.9m to campaign so far
THE MILLIONAIRE TAX promises funding to education and transportation, but it is teachers who are footing the costs for the political fight to get the constitutional amendment passed.
The amendment imposes a 4 percent surtax on income over $1 million and is expected to raise more than $1 billion annually.
Since the start of the year – and with two weeks of crunch time left to go – the Massachusetts Teachers Association has pumped $10.9 million into Fair Share Massachusetts, which is leading the fight for Question 1. The MTA accounts for more than half of the $20 million raised so far by Fair Share, with most of the rest supplied by the National Education Association – the state union’s national affiliate.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association contributions, including a $6 million donation on September 15, work out to about $95 from each of the union’s 115,000 members.
The MTA is headed by Max Page, an on-leave professor of architecture at UMass Amherst, who served notice at an August 15 meeting of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that he and the teachers he represents are determined to dismantle the state’s current education system.
In testimony before the board, which was preparing to vote on increasing the MCAS scores needed to graduate, Page indicated he had no interest in an educational system preparing students for the world of work.
“We have a fundamental difference of view of what schools are for,” he said, dressed in a red Fair Share T-shirt. “The focus on income, on college and career readiness, speaks to a system . . . tied to the capitalist class and its needs for profit,” he declared. “We on the other hand have as a core belief that the purpose of schools must be to nurture thinking, caring, active, and committed adults, parents, community members, activists, citizens.”He told the board members that true reform of the state’s educational system would require the removal of most of them.
“As sure as MCAS scores prove nothing more than the income of the school district and the community, so, too, I can tell you we’ll be back here in the Legislature and the districts for as long as it takes to tear down the system you are perpetuating,” he said.