The controversy around Question 2 heightened this week as campaign financing reports were released. The “no” side showed, accurately, contributions from teachers and their unions. The BTU is a significant supporter as per membership vote last spring.
The “yes” side showed, well, a lot of obfuscation of who gave how much. See the section below for more information. This much is known: Two Walton billionaire siblings from Arkansas gave close to $1 million apiece for the Massachusetts campaign to support charter school expansion. Why are these Arkansonians so interested in what’s going on in Massachusetts? Perhaps they have a place on the Cape. Or perhaps their ideology of privatizing public educating is near and dear.
Paul Sagan, chairman of the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, who’s also a venture capitalist, gave $100,000 to the “yes” folks as well. As he sits in review of new charter applications and expansion, his outsized contribution raised eyebrows enough that Governor Baker held a press conference saying Sagan’s contribution was OK, and the Massachusetts Education Secretary Peyser took a lot of heat for it as well at an appearance at U Mass.
We are never going to be able to compete with these billionaires and millionaires. We understand that. What we have are great numbers of people, stickers, signs, and — most importantly — an unwavering belief in the strength and growth of public education. Please help our public schools. Wear a button, place a sign, send a postcard, make a phone call. Tell 10 friends and relatives to vote No on 2. See more ideas and opportunities. Thank you.