From vaccinations to in-person college, Charlie Baker has confirmed how a lot he hates academics

This all got here because the Baker administration relaxed restrictions on indoor eating and efficiency venues, and pushed relentlessly to power faculties to reopen in particular person whilst coronavirus transmission in many of the state’s counties remained too excessive for reopening beneath Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) pointers. It got here because the Baker administration pushed—over the objections of not simply academics unions but in addition the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees—to carry high-stakes standardized testing regardless of the disruption and trauma of the previous yr. In actual fact, many observers hyperlink the present robust push to get faculties open in particular person to the push to manage standardized testing.

The slams towards academics for desirous to be vaccinated of their communities got here after the Baker administration offered state police vaccinations of their workplaces—precisely what academics had been assailed for requesting weeks later—solely to have 30% of state police decline these office vaccinations. This was additionally after the state opened up vaccinations to individuals who accompanied somebody 75 or older to be vaccinated, a transfer that shortly and predictably led to abuses. However academics? Screw them.

In his surliness over vaccinating academics, Baker additionally repeatedly cited the quantity of vaccine obtainable to the state, the implication being that Biden was forcing the state’s hand on academics whereas not offering sufficient doses. The state was solely getting 150,000 doses per week, Baker mentioned, and that wasn’t going to alter in any important manner within the month of March.

So it was fascinating when this week, the state introduced that moderately than the anticipated 155,000 doses, Massachusetts had gotten 170,000 doses, including 8,000 unexpected one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines. But it surely was extra fascinating when a state spokesperson characterised that as a “modest enhance” that wasn’t important. That’s, in fact, about 10% greater than anticipated—relying the way you calculate these 8,000 one-dose vaccines—and what was anticipated was already barely greater than Baker had mentioned only a week earlier could be the weekly quantity for the remainder of the month.

It feels an terrible lot just like the Baker administration is so dedicated to demonizing academics that it’s going to not admit when issues are wanting up, vaccine-wise. After which, in any case that whining about academics stealing different folks’s doses, the state on Wednesday launched a timeline for opening up additional eligibility tiers for vaccination, with folks age 60 and older and a few classes of employee turning into eligible on March 22, simply 11 days after academics supposedly throttled entry for the state’s most susceptible elders.

In the meantime, Baker’s push to reopen faculties in particular person is going on not simply with an overtly hostile strategy to academics, however without consulting school committees and with the barest pretense at concern for fairness. Considerably, the state Board of Schooling votes against mandatory reopening got here from the scholar, mum or dad, and trainer representatives on the board—the members over whose choice Baker had the least management. 

As one Cambridge mum or dad and celebrated creator tweeted lately:


Tracy O’Connell Novick, a college committee member in Worcester, Massachusetts, wrote a strong letter to her representatives within the state legislature highlighting both the Baker administration’s power grab on school opening and its lack of care for equity

“The Commissioner doesn’t have the authority to reverse the state funding legislation based mostly on his capricious definitions of time on studying, the place days till the primary week of April might be funded for elementary college students, nonetheless delivered, however can’t be funded after the primary week of April, if delivered aside from he dictates. But, as you realize, that is simply what he has explicitly threatened,” she wrote. 

The consequences of these funding threats will fall a lot tougher on some college districts than on others, she continued, particularly on districts that “have many extra college students who’re Black or Latino, many extra college students who’re studying English, and plenty of extra college students who’re poor.” And whereas the state training commissioner has held out the prospect of waivers for faculties that may’t meet no matter politically motivated requirements of security he chooses to embrace at the moment, “If the state is making coverage that requires waivers for the biggest, brownest, poorest, districts, then the state is making inequitable insurance policies, and the Division ought to clearly be advised that it wants to begin over.”

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed simply how weak Charlie Baker’s declare to being a very good supervisor is. There was the day in early March he advised the folks of Massachusetts to not fear after which headed to the airport for a ski vacation whereas the state misplaced per week within the battle, finally turning into one of many nationwide if not world epicenters of the virus. There’s been a lot conflicting messaging, with faculties pressured to reopen and whilst Baker moralized about social distancing in different settings (with out placing into place the powerful restrictions that may have enabled faculties to go in-person safely). The early weeks of vaccine distribution—right here within the state the place vaccine maker Moderna is headquartered—had been a shambles, as Baker abandoned a mass vaccination plan the state had spent a long time refining and employed start-up firms to run mass vaccination websites on no-bid contracts. Public health leaders across the state say the method has poorly served their communities and wasted tens of millions of {dollars}. The state’s vaccine sign-up website crashed on the day eligibility opened as much as folks 65 and older.

It’s been one type of mismanagement after one other from a man whose model was amiable technocrat. And all the time, all the time, Baker has turned to demonizing and scapegoating academics to distract from his personal failures.

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