Last November’s election had few wins for progressives.
But in Massachusetts, against all odds, the grassroots organizing of the rank and file members of the state teachers union, led by a reform union leadership, did get a win.
They beat back a corporate reform ballot issue that would have lifted the cap on charter schools.
The pro-charter folks spent $24 million, including $2 million from the Walton family, $500,000 from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and $15 million from the pro-charter group Families for Excellent Schools.
Massachusetts banks and other corporations donated $500,000 for the cause.
A few hedge fund managers and corporation CEOs wrote checks for a $1 million.
The NEA, the AFT and the MTA spent about $15 million, making it the most expensive Massachusetts ballot measure ever.
So, count on the union-haters like Mike Antonucci and the charter-lovers like Peter Cunningham to hold a grudge.
They are still licking their wounds.
When a Boston charter school teacher was chosen the National Teacher of the Year, some rank and file members of the MTA were suspicious of the motives behind a New Business Item congratulating her. The NBI was defeated and within 24 hours the news was being reported by every anti-union and pro-charter blogger and tweeter in the universe.
The National Teacher of the Year is chosen by the Council of State School Officers.
I wasn’t present for the debate at the MTA meeting, but doubt it involved challenging the National Teacher of the Year, Sydney Chaffee’s credentials as an excellent teacher.
Charter schools are full of excellent teachers.
No matter that the NEA will honor Sydney Chaffee, the charter teacher and this year’s Teacher of the Year at their national Representative Assembly this summer, as they honor the Teacher of the Year every year.
And so it was that when I tweeted that Chicago was now considered the charter union epicenter of the country, charter advocate Peter Cunningham launched into an attack on the MTA as being petty.
@fklonsky And big unions showed that they won’t stand up for a great teacher who happens to work at a charter. How sad.
— Peter Cunningham (@PCunningham57) May 28, 2017
Apparently Peter has adopted the Trump tweeting style of ending his observations with, “How sad.”
And apparently the NEA, the nation’s largest teachers union, doesn’t count as a “big union.”
Some rank and file MTA members may have been suspicious that the proposed MTA NBI was presented as a provocation following the charter school expansion measure’s defeat at the polls.
Those like right-winger Antonucci and charter-lover Peter Cunningham have now joined forces to go after the MTA.
The teacher unions will keep doing what they have been doing: Organizing charter unions.
And apparently charter teachers are anxious to join.