letters | education debate stirred over Boston mayoral hopeful

Outside influence on mayor’s race is what’s at issue

Lawrence Harmon’s Aug. 24 column (“Memo to Connolly: Take the money,” Op-ed) was a specious attack on John Connolly for his not accepting campaign donations from the nonprofit education group Stand for Children. This is a group that had promised a “full-frontal assault” on the Boston mayoral candidate’s behalf, and that targets the Boston Teachers Union and wants to lift the cap on charter schools in the city.

Connolly based his refusal to accept financial support from Stand for Children not on its views, but on the principle that outside groups should not influence the mayoral election. Harmon would have the reader believe that this is an issue of policy, but it is really about influence over local elections.

Harmon reveals his own bias, however, when he calls the cap on charter schools “arbitrary.” Many still view charter schools as a form of race- and class-based cultural hegemony.


Harmon also criticizes the Boston Teachers Union and chides Connolly for trying to appeal to the union by distancing himself from Stand for Children.

Get Arguable in your inbox:
Jeff Jacoby on everything from politics to pet peeves to the passions of the day.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

This is not about Connolly’s potential ability to improve Boston’s schools. The fact is that Oregon-based Stand for Children is an outside group, even if it does have a Massachusetts chapter, and should not be influencing a local election. Harmon’s naive assumption that Boston will not “slip into the sea” because of influence from “corporate bigwigs” ignores the fact that corporations now dominate national politics.

Daniel Kane

Chestnut Hill