Baker lags in boosting public education
Often it seems press scrutiny of Charlie Baker stops at his approval ratings. The Globe’s April 14 editorial critiquing the governor’s handling of state agency data breaches and the MBTA’s performance was therefore a refreshing change (“Governor Baker is annoyed at stuff. How about fixing it?”). The editorial, however, did not mention the issue that tops my list of priorities: public education. Yet in a November 2017 poll, four-fifths of Massachusetts voters said they would be much more likely (56 percent) or somewhat more likely (23 percent) to vote for a gubernatorial candidate who “made increasing funding for public schools a major priority.”
Baker is not that candidate. He put money and political muscle behind charter schools and the failed 2016 Question 2, but he opposes a 2018 ballot initiative that would take a fair share of millionaires’ taxes, with the revenue going to public schools and transportation.
Governor Baker also has been AWOL when it comes to fixing the outdated formula for allocating state education money. And the governor’s 2019 education budget, in the words of my state senator, Sonia Chang-Diaz, is “just plain inadequate for the job.”
On the critical issue of public education, Governor Baker’s inaction is more than annoying. It hurts children and families who live with the consequences of underfunded schools.