• Massachusetts Teachers Union is all about great teaching. That’s why they voted AGAINST honoring America’s Teacher of the Year, from their home state

    Go ahead. Guess why.

    Yes, she teaches at a charter school. Those are public schools, not private ones, but the teachers have not voted to unionize.

    Those miscreants cannot be recognized for good teaching. Otherwise, parents might get the wrong ideas.

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    The next time you hear the teachers unions say, “It’s all about the kids,” remember this shameful, if symbolic, incident.

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    Here is the recognition of Ms. Sydney Chaffee, named 2017 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

    As a humanities teacher at Codman Academy public charter school in Boston, Sydney takes risks every day to improve learning for all of her students. In the classroom, she strives to create lessons that demonstrate how education can be a transformative tool for social justice, and she encourages her students to see themselves as having the power to make change in the world based on lessons from the past. . . .

    She tries to infuse the hard work of learning with joy, not only in her classroom but throughout the school. For example, she is the coordinator of a schoolwide Community Circle every Thursday where all students in the school come together to celebrate successes, share good news and dig into serious conversations together. . . .

    Sydney has taught for the past 10 years, 9 of which have been in her current role. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters of Education from Lesley University. Sydney is a National Board Certified Teacher.

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    With this disturbing record, it’s easy to see why the Massachusetts Teachers Union would find Ms. Chaffee noxious.

    As The Commonwealth puts it

    Sydney Chaffee was welcomed to the White House last month. She was honored at an event in Boston by the governor and the state education commissioner. But the first Massachusetts educator ever named National Teacher of Year was given the cold shoulder by the state’s largest teachers union.

    Delegates at the Massachusetts Teachers Association annual state convention last Saturday voted down a motion to “publicly and formally congratulate and recognize Sydney Chaffee” on receiving the award.

    In previous years, the state’s teacher of the year (as Ms. Chaffee is) has been invited to address the Massachusetts Teachers Association convention.

    Not this year.

    Ms. Chaffee’s school isn’t even a private one. It’s a public school, as charter schools are. So, what’s the unions’ beef? It’s simply that teachers in many charters have not voted to unionize. 

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  • Trump’s Cabinet Picks Do Not ♥ Their Agencies: Good

    The Washington Post is shocked, shocked to discover that Donald Trump’s cabinet picks are not always enamored of the departments they are picked to lead.

    Here’s a clue: Trump ran on that platform, and he will be judged on how well he delivers. What counts is not delivery on the specific points of his platform. What counts is delivering results on the group–practical results for voters, many of whom see centralized, bureaucratic government as a meddlesome, deep-pocketed adversary.

    Philip Bump, a senior reporter for the WaPo, begins his analysis with  the snarky (but correct) point that former Texas Governor Rick Perry is best remembered for his “oops” moment, when he could not remember one of the three big bureaucracies he would eliminate if elected president. Turns out it was the Department of Energy. Today, Donald Trump selected him to head that department. (Washington Post)

    Scott Pruitt has spent a lot of time as Oklahoma’s Attorney General suing the Environmental Protection Agency for overstepping its regulatory authority. Now, he will take the helm of the EPA. But if the Washington Post thinks that’s a contradiction, they are mistaken. Pruitt may be right or wrong about the EPA’s overreach, but what better way to restrain it than by appointing a restrainer-in-chief to head it.

    Betsy DeVos undoubtedly plans to eviscerate the Department of Education’s programs that have not produced results and to launch others to support school choice. I urge reporter Bump to walk around the WaPo newsroom and find anybody, aside from the janitorial staff, sending their kids to the District’s everyday public schools. (I am leaving aside magnet schools.) When Pres. and Mrs. Obama had to make that choice for their own daughters, they moved them from a private school in Chicago to a private school in Washington, even as they were guillotining the District’s successful school-choice plan for impoverished families.

    Tom Price, who will head Health and Human Services, has been among the sharpest critics of Obamacare and among the best-informed.

    Bottom line: If things were working well in Washington’s bureaucracies, then fine; stay the course. If things were working well in Washington, Trump wouldn’t have been elected, either.

    He was. They aren’t. And his appointments say he intends to shake up the status quo.