Board votes to recommend Democratic Primary winner for governor

The MTA Board of Directors has voted to recommend that members support the winner of the upcoming Democratic primary for governor.

The MTA's member-elected Candidate Recommendation Committee interviewed and surveyed all three Democratic candidates for governor, as well as independent candidate Christy Mihos. Republican candidate Kerry Healey declined to participate in the MTA's process. The CRC recommended to the Board that it not recommend a candidate in the primary because any of the three Democrats would work hard to support students and public education, preK through graduate school. It recommended that the MTA support the winning primary candidate in the final election.

"It's time for a change," MTA President Anne Wass said after the Board voted on Aug. 6 to accept the committee's recommendation that the 102,000-member union throw its support behind the Democratic nominee. "All three Democratic candidates believe in public education, care about closing the achievement gap and have pledged to provide adequate state aid to public schools and public higher education institutions."

Wass said that any of the three candidates would usher in a new era for public education – one that is based on respect, support and concern about educating the whole child, not just boosting test scores.

"The Romney-Healey administration talks about closing the achievement gap, but has turned its back on the schools where children most in need of support are educated," said Wass. "Under the governor's watch, state aid to schools, colleges and the University of Massachusetts has declined in real dollars, MCAS remediation monies have been cut, full-day kindergarten grants have been slashed and plans to expand early childhood education have been vetoed.

"For the sake of our state's future, we must replace the Romney-Healey administration with a governor whose leadership will make things better for the students of Massachusetts."

Wass said the MTA does not agree with all of the positions taken by any of the Democratic candidates, but is heartened that all three -- Chris Gabrieli, Deval Patrick and Attorney General Thomas Reilly -- are willing to listen to the views of educators in making policy decisions. She expressed confidence that all would appoint members of the Board of Education and Board of Higher Education who support public education and recognize that educators have a legitimate right to bargain fairly over wages, hours and working conditions.

"We don't expect 100 percent agreement, but we do expect a seat at the table," she said. "The Romney-Healey administration talks to a handful of hand-picked teachers and claims to have discussed issues with the education community, but has consistently failed to reach out to the associations that represent the more than 100,000 educators, college faculty and staff, and education support professionals in this state.

"Now, we need a governor who will use the power of the office to support our efforts to provide our students with a quality education."