Massachusetts is pinned.

In 1993, we passed a good Ed Reform Law. Reformers got: curriculum standards; MCAS to test the standards; an MCAS graduation requirement; well-regarded teacher tests; and charter schools.

Also, there were huge new piles of K-12 cash for districts.

For the next 13 years, with heavily Dem-dominated Legislature and Republican Govs, that paradigm remained, steered by this guy. NAEP scores rose, to tops in the nation. And MA has particularly high quality charter schools, thanks in no small part to this lady.

And teacher salaries went up, too.

An 8-year veteran in Boston, with a master’s degree, will earn base salary b/w $72,000 to $80,000, depending on how many add’l credits you’ve racked up. With the same credentials, if you’re in one of the “Superintendents Schools,” with a 7.5 hour workday instead of 6.5 hours, you earn $83,000 to $92,000 base pay. That comes with 19 days per year of sick and personal days, which accrue.

The problem now is that we have no money to do a “money-for-reform” deal. We’re pinned.

In fact, we don’t even have enough money for the status quo, let alone for anything new.

In most cities and towns, teacher salaries rise at 5% to 6% per year. Benefits rise even faster, not just here, but everywhere. Meanwhile, state $ for K-12 grows at only 3% or so. When districts try to raise local prop taxes, elders freak out. So cuts are made to the discretionary areas — sports, arts, et al.

The only “free” “reform” is to tilt far left — unwind the Ed Reform deal, dilute MCAS, stall charters, etc.

That’s why NCLB is so important. It helps moderate cash-strapped Dems at the state level fend off the anti-reform forces by saying “Look, we have to comply with federal law, or we’ll lose gazillions in Title 1 and have to fire a lot of people.”

-Guestblogger Mike Goldstein

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