Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ruth Kaplan, PTA representative on the Board of Ed

Governor Deval Patrick made his first appointment to the Massachusetts Board of Education this week, filling a spot on the board authorized by the legislature two years ago but never filled by former governor Romney. The governor is instructed to select from three nominees made by the state PTA. Governor Romney was not willing to select any of the nominees offered for the past two years.

Media coverage this week was nearly unanimous, castigating the governor for selecting an "anti-MCAS zealot". A different opinion was presented by the Berkshire Eagle and by the Needham Times, which see an opportunity for a more flexible and nuanced path forward. I concur with these two op-eds.

Below is an excerpt from a June 2005 news article in the Boston Globe, when our former governor refused to select any of the PTA nominees offered.

Romney, PTA tussle over appointment

Governor unhappy with parent group's choices for education panel

By Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff June 8, 2005

The idea seemed harmless: Put a parent on the state Board of Education for the first time, so that parents' concerns would be heard.

But the naming of a parent to the Board of Education has become a surprisingly intense tug-of-war between the state Parent Teachers Association and Governor Mitt Romney. Two weeks ago, the PTA sent Romney a list of three women from which to choose, including two Democrats, and asked the governor to pick one.

Instead, an aide from the governor's office last week told the PTA that the governor wanted three additional candidates, perhaps including a man. The problem with the PTA's list, a spokeswoman for Romney said, was that the candidates opposed the MCAS and charter schools. In the governor's view, the PTA's list didn't include someone who would represent most parents.


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