Letter: Join rally backing public education

To the editor:

On Saturday, thousands of educators, parents, students and community members will Rally for Public Education on the Boston Common. When working as intended, public education is the bedrock of our collective meritocracy, fostering intellect and talent in every student regardless of her or his zip code or financial resources.

But these ideals are now under attack from powerful forces. At the federal level, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seems more interested in selling our students to the highest bidder than in creating a high-quality education for all United States citizens. At the state level, Gov. Charlie Baker recently pushed a ballot initiative that would siphon millions of dollars from public school budgets into the coffers of privately-run charter schools.

Saturday's Rally for Public Education, sponsored by Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, seeks to counter a top-down business approach to education with a grassroots effort that demand full funding of public education from pre-kindergarten through college, debt-free public higher education, equitable access to quality education for all students, and less focus on standardized testing so that more learning is possible. In the long run, these investments will more than pay for themselves.

Free buses are leaving Saturday morning from Springfield, Holyoke, Amherst, Greenfield and other locations across the state (see www.rallyforpubliced.com for details). I hope you'll join me in putting the "public" back into public education.

Paul Johansen,


The writer is a research analyst and adjunct math faculty member at Berkshire Community College (BCC) and a political action liaison for the Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC).


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