In case you no longer listen to the radio, the Massachusetts Teachers Association last month launched a new ad campaign in which the voices of six students are heard asking for support for public education – from their parents, their communities and their government.
As a former public school teacher, this ad annoys me for two reasons.
1) It reminds me yet again of the frustration I felt as a teacher that, though it was bad enough my salary was pittance because so much of school budgets are wasted, my take home pay was just that little bit smaller because I was required, without consent, to pay union dues that went to prop up a second bloated bureacracy and air unnecessary ads. How much money does the MTA spend on the five communications personnel listed on its website? How much money did it spend on this particular ad campaign? Or last year’s Declaration campaign?
2) The second reason the add annoys me is its cynicism. When the ad refers to needed support, read money. Equating support with more money is, however, the easiest argument you can make in politics. It paints as an ogre anyone who disagrees with you or dares to ask how more money will be expended and what, exactly, it will accomplish. To analogize, it is to call unsupportive any parent who withholds allowance from a child to teach him or her responsible spending habits.
It’s easy to solicit in the name of children. It’s difficult to institute changes needed to reform public education in Massachusetts. The MTA clearly prefers the path of least resistance.