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The Legacy of Barbara Madeloni

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Let us now praise a fearless street fighter, who beat back and defeated the corporate reformers, billionaires, hedge fund managers, and Dark Money in Massachusetts in 2016. Let us now praise Barbara Madeloni, who as president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, led the fight against the proliferation of charter schools in Massachusetts.

This article is a fitting tribute to her spirit and leadership.

The Reformers bundled millions of dollars and set their sights on Massachusetts as a ripe target. In 2016, the state voted on a referendum (Question 2) that would have allowed the addition of 12 charters schools a year for the indefinite future. It would have wreaked havoc on the budget of every school district in the state.

The “No on 2” forces included teachers, parents, and other citizens who believed in public schools. They were outspent 2-1 (both the AFT and NEA made sizable contributions). Almost every school district committee (elected school board) came out in opposition.

People power beat money power, by 62-38%.

After the election, the Massachusetts campaign finance officials fined the lead Reform organization Families for Excellent Schools nearly half a million dollars and barred them from the state for four years. Soon after, FES collapsed. Another organization soon popped up to take its place as a bundled of Dark Money.

But, let us not forget. We won. Public education won. Parents and teachers won.

Thank you, Barbara Madeloni!

I humbly add your name to the blog’s Honor Roll.

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