Page-led MTA leads fight for Question 1
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.
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STORIES FROM ELSEWHERE AROUND THE WEB
A Worcester City Councilor seeks the removal of a statue of Christopher Columbus. (Telegram & Gazette)
Worcester gets a $2.6 million federal grant to address youth homelessness. (Telegram & Gazette)
Pioneer Valley hospitals, particularly Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, are seeing a major surge in pediatric respiratory cases. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)
Rishi Sunak took the reins as British prime minister after the short-lived run of fellow Tory Liz Truss. (New York Times)
US Rep. Jake Auchincloss, a Massachusetts Democrat, derides an effort by progressive Democrats to urge President Biden to negotiate with Russia to end its war on Ukraine. (MassLive)
The Boston City Council appears to be heading toward a Wednesday vote on new city council district boundaries, despite calls from some members, including council president Ed Flynn, to slow the process down. (Boston Herald) As city councilors battle over redistricting maps, the Bay State Banner’s Yawu Miller has a good historical overview of the changing demographics and politics of Boston neighborhoods since the 1981 vote to replace an all at-large city council with a hybrid body made up of four at-large and nine district seats.
The Globe has pro and con op-eds on Question 1, which would add a 4 percent surcharge to annual income over $1 million. Question 1 proponents are asking TV stations to take down ads from opponents, which they say are overstating the impact the tax would have on home sellers. (Boston Globe)
Supporters of the immigrant driver’s license law are pouring millions of dollars into a ballot campaign to defend it. (Eagle-Tribune)
During a debate, Worcester state Rep. David LeBoeuf’s opponent calls on LeBoeuf to resign over a drunk driving charge from earlier this year. (MassLive)
The country’s election system is being stressed to the max, with threadbare operations in some communities and constant questions about its integrity. (Boston Globe)
Joe Battenfeld tees up the perennial proposal to scrap the lieutenant governor’s position in state government. (Boston Herald)
Western Massachusetts Governor’s Council candidates John Comerford and Tara Jacobs, in a debate, differ on what role the council should play in the judicial system. (MassLive)
In New Bedford, which recorded among the lowest MCAS scores of any district in the state last year, almost 70 percent of high school students were deemed “chronically absent,” missing more than 10 percent of school days. (New Bedford Light)
After several complaints about books at the Old Rochester Regional school libraries, the superintendent says decisions about book selection should be left to librarians. (Standard-Times)
The MBTA outlines construction plans and neighborhood impacts for the Codman Yard overhaul near Ashmont Station on the Red Line. (Dorchester Reporter)
The number of North Atlantic right whales continues to shrink. (WBUR)
New Hampshire authorities charge the father of Harmony Montgomery with second-degree murder for repeatedly punching his daughter in the head, causing her death. Harmony disappeared in 2019 at age 5. (Associated Press)
The Middleton Jail is on lockdown after a fight injures two inmates and two officers. (Gloucester Daily Times)
MEDIAWBUR is going big on podcasts, with the leader of the station’s effort saying the chances of people getting the station’s content via “an old-fashioned radio” are becoming less and less every week. (Boston Globe)
CherryRoad Media buys The Item, a newspaper covering several Central Massachusetts communities, from Gannett. (Telegram & Gazette)