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A first for the Board of Education

Yes, it is truly an — ahem — independent Board of Education. Yes, we will continue to hope that it will continue to be objective. Cough, cough. The SABIS proposal for a regional school to be located in Brockton was recommended by the Commissioner of Education and Department of Education staff.  Unlike many other states, Massachusetts has a strong application process that weeds out weak applications. This protects public dollars and has given the Commonwealth the best charters in the country. The proposed SABIS school was to serve 500 students to start and grow by a grade a year until it served 1300 students.  SABIS is a known entity in Massachusetts. It runs a successful charter school in Springfield.  Just […]

One down, two to go

Just a few months ago, a wise man said the proof of success in reforming the auto insurance market would be the entrance of major national firms like Geico and Allstate. Well, there’s at least one firm entering the market — Progressive announced yesterday that it will start selling policies on May 1. No doubt the entry is part of a right-wing free-market plot. To give credit where its due, the Patrick administration, through appointee DOI Commissioner Nonnie Burnes, have stood up to withering criticism on this issue to push for less regulation of auto insurance. Two interesting sidenotes – AG Martha Coakley has been an outspoken opponent of these reforms. And she’s also arguably the most popular politician in […]

Huey Long. . . er, I mean, Hilary on vouchers

My colleague, Jamie Gass, the cynic that he is, predicted after reading my last post that Barack Obama would backtrack on charter schools and vouchers. And, sure enough, he was right. From an Obama campaign statement Jamie forwarded to me: There have been misleading reports that Senator Obama voiced support for voucher programs in an interview with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Senator Obama has always been a critic of vouchers, and expressed his longstanding skepticism in that interview. Still, as Democrats for Education Reform does, contrast that statement with Hilary Clinton’s response to Mr. Obama’s orginal comments (see my last post). As reported in the New York Sun: Senator Clinton had a strong response, saying she […]

Nice job by Regional Planning Agencies

Kudos to the state’s planning agencies for coming together to do a great service for communities and businesses statewide. The Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies has cobbled together the basic premises for effective local permitting in its A Best Practices Model for Streamlined Local Permitting. The document lays out ways to improve communication, standardize procedures and how to implement expedited permitting for select sites, per legislation (Ch. 43D) passed in 2006. Timely and helpful work.

Obama on charter schools and vouchers

I like Barack Obama. I like the rhetoric he uses and the hope he embodies and, unlike some people, I believe rhetoric is as important as policy. More important even, for rhetoric defines the parameters in which policy operates. In a sense, rhetoric sets strategy, whereas policy only defines the tactics to achieve the strategy outlined by rhetoric. To refer to a prior post of mine a leader must possess clearly stated strategic goals that are based on deeply held principles and from which he or she refuses to waver. A candidate’s rhetoric helps define the strategic goals he or she seeks to achieve and from which he or she refuses to waver. That being said, rhetoric without policy is […]