The Corner

Education

Teacher of the Year Commits the Unpardonable Sin: Working at a Charter

A public-school teacher who focuses on social justice won the 2017 teacher of the year award, but public-school teachers’ unions in her home state refuse to acknowledge the honor. Why? Because Boston teacher Sydney Chaffee teaches at a public charter school — and that fact is enough to designate her as an enemy of the Massachusetts Teachers Union (MTA).

In the past, the MTA has rolled out the red carpet at their convention for the winners of teacher-of-the-year awards. This year, they have the state’s first ever national teacher of the year, and in lieu of inviting her to speak and offering a stipend, the MTA refused to even approve a congratulatory letter.

Keri Rodrigues Lorenzo is a Democratic state-committee member, and she unloaded on the MTA and its leadership in her latest blog post:

President Madeloni pulled out all the stops to block the resolution from passing — forcing the item into the new business portion of the meeting when most delegates had already left instead of as pending business as it had been addressed in years past to make sure there was full participation of the body. [Madeloni] apparently even got up and lied to the membership about the Council of Chief State School Officers being a collection of “corporate sell-outs” who selected Sydney because of question 2 and their love for charter schools/Charlie Baker/Donald Trump.

Those “corporate sell-outs” include nationwide teachers’ unions, the National School Boards Association, and exactly no groups that support Donald Trump.

As I’ve noted in the past, the MTA demands absolute loyalty and stands out even among teachers’ unions for dishonest political tactics. But the president’s spreading falsehoods about the selection of the national teacher of the year is particularly shameful.

The union is evidently maintaining the anti-charter absolutism that characterized their message against Ballot Question 2 in November, which would have allowed more charter schools like Chaffee’s to open in underserved areas. Preventing those schools from opening may hurt students and families, but it keeps children inside underperforming schools that unions depend on.

The MTA makes little effort to hide how little liberal priorities matter to them. Chaffee won teacher of the year as a female teacher whose courses focus on social justice. Her school serves predominately minority students, has a black principal, and in every way fulfills democrats’ criteria for diversity, empowerment, grappling with white privilege, and so on.

The union’s obsession with power crowds out all the intersecting social concerns that the Left constantly emphasizes. It also leaves absolutely no room for the needs of students.

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