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Race to The Top in Massachusetts : Questions, No Answers Yet


A little more than a year ago, on August 24, 2010, Massachusetts political and educational leaders stood proudly as the state was awarded $250,000,000 in Phase II Race to the Top Funds. Although there was criticism from groups like the Pioneer Institute that perhapsthe state had lowered its high standards in order to qualify for this national education grant, it was hard to find an official with a negative thing to say. "We've had the talent, commitment and the dedication, and now we have the funding we need to dramatically improve every student's educational experience" said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray as part of a press release that perfectly summed up the mood of the day. The question was, and continues to be, how much of this money is actually going to schools and children, and how much is going to administration, overhead, and consultants. Most importantly, has Race to the Top been effective so far in its stated purpose in helping create better teachers and classrooms?

City of Providence Enacts Sweeping Cuts and Layoffs to Reduce $110 Million Budget Deficit

Beth I. Gandelman
, Union Web Services Correspondent

As a drastic measure to close a $110 million structural deficit, the city of Providence, R.I. has enacted sweeping across-the-board cuts in union and non-union positions. The hardest hit union was the Providence Teachers Union (AFT Local 958) with a controversial measure receiving national publicity when Mayor Angel Taveras issued an order to “pink slip” all 1,926 teachers in the school department. Since then about 75% of the teachers have been rehired.

While most school systems enact layoffs by seniority, the Mayor’s order meant all teachers lost their jobs and needed to reapply for their positions after a 4-3 vote of approval by the Providence School Board (appointed by the Mayor, not elected) on February 24 at the Mayor’s suggestion. This was brought about by the closing of six Providence schools in an effort to close a $40 million school budget deficit. Alleging unfair labor practices, a hearing is scheduled for June 9 since all teachers were fired without cause, leaving them feeling “disrespected,” according to one of the 700 teachers who attended the hearing. “I’m feeling disrespected, devalued and marginalized,” said teacher Ed Gorden. “Termination is a career-ender. You are putting a scarlet letter on every one of us.”

George Romney built things. George Romney served his community. Governor, you're no George Romney.

In Presidential elections, every candidate has their defining moment. The defining moment of the 2012 campaign carries echoes of 1988 - and 1968.


First, 1988. Before there was Sarah Palin, there was Dan Quayle.


An epic moment of political theater, in an election fast on the way to taking its place among the annals of great Democratic Party defeats. The last election prior to the party's co-opting by its neoliberal center – though many considered Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas to be the party's first grand concession in that direction. The Hail Mary heave by a flagging Dukakis campaign to pry Texas' 38 elecoral votes away from resident George H.W. Bush.

July 16, 2012 : Round 2 : Love vs. Hate, Occupy vs. Big Banks

When not showing up for near riots and prepping for the 2012 Olympics, a favorite media pastime is debating/determining the status of the Occupy movement. Duke University Law professor Kyle Scott weighs in with his own take, chiding occupiers for not running a slate.

The clamoring for specifics can be translated as “the development of a political party apparatus.” Meanwhile, the industriousness of groups like Occupy the SEC, who have made concrete proposals for reform, is overlooked.

Occupy Update December 6, 2011

Occupy Boston was rebuffed in their attempt to bring a fireproof, winterized tent to their Dewey Square camp. The protestors claim they are not receiving clear answers from the city about why the tent was not allowed.

Occupy Our Homes will hold events today in at least 25 cities to protest the foreclosure crisis.

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