Tag Archives: Question 2

Ballot Question 2 – What would “Ma” do?

Yesterday: Rosalie and her smudged mirror

By Rosalie Tirella

What would “Ma” do?

That’s what I ask myself every time my “libby” (liberal) self is on the cusp of carrying away my more staid, practical, inner-city Green Island Grrrl self. My late Mom was way smarter than I am and more sensitive to others; she had an open heart and open mind at all times. But she was no push over. She knew how hard life could be – especially for poor folks – because her life was unremitting poverty. She made tough choices every day, yet she lived with such grace and wicked humor … Her life was outsized! Full! Her cup runneth over!

So I think of Ma when I think of Ballot Question 2: LIFTING THE CAP ON CHARTER SCHOOLS … MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS IN MASS. Up to 12.

At first, my liberal reaction: GAWD NO! For all the libby reasons. But then my mom and how she raised us kids in Green Island in the ’60s and ’70s surfaces…how she got the most out of Woo schools for her three girls – with no money, no connections, no car, not much of a clothing budget, no high school diploma (my mom completed the 8th grade and was promptly farmed out to Springfield, along with her three sisters, to be the Bishop of Springfield’s housekeeper/cook, during the Great Depression) but plenty of natural ability. Thanks to Ma, we kids got what we needed from the schools: for me, the Worcester Public Schools, K to 12. Ma knew I loved -LOVED!!! – to learn and that the best chance for her little whiz kid to excel was to keep her in the Worcester Public Schools with their smart, serious teachers, impressive science labs, serious sports equipment, big stately buildings (Prov) or spanking new digs (just built Burncoat), new text books, tons of homework and college-oriented goals. I was expected to – cuz I was smart – get straight As, take all honors classes at Providence Street Junior High and enroll in A.P./honors classes at Burncoat Senior High School. I did and Ma was over the moon! She also got a bit pushy – made me take accordion and violin lessons and pushed me to join the schools all city orchestra. I put my foot down: I was too shy for performing on stage and hated the old violin Ma rented for me out of some music store on Main Street where the piano teacher was deaf!, and I grew bored with my accordion, despite the sparkly rhinestones in some of its buttons and its cool iridescent mother of pearl front!

My two kid sisters attended Lamartine Street School until grade 4, then Mom transfered them to St. Mary’s, her alma mater, on Richland Street. My mom felt my kid sisters “wouldn’t make it” in the rough and tumble Worcester Public Schools where kids often fought in the school yard and a few, I remember my pal showed me hers!, even carried knives. St. Mary’s, the little school for Polish kids and families, was much tamer (and to me sooo BORING): small, intimate and safe. Students had to wear conservative looking school uniforms, go to mass at least once a week at the mother church across the street on Ward Street – Our Lady of Czetchowa – and kow tow to nuns who taught most of the classes and brooked no bull shit. The nuns could be sadistic – they were allowed to pull kids up out of their chairs by their ears! The first grade and seond grade nun/teachers were young and sweet and round faced (I went to St. Mary’s catechism class every Monday eve so I knew my sisters’ teachers), but things progressed badly as you went up in grades. In your 10th grade biology class you could see the hair growing out of your nun’s nostrils! The nuns at the high school weren’t sweet and they certainly weren’t pretty.

I could also tell my sisters’ St. Mary’s school books weren’t as up to date or challenging as mine, their homework was easier and they had much less of it. But St. Mary’s was way less rough than Lamartine and “Prov.” Everyone was kind of the same. My sisters, twins, awefully skinny, kinda shy and didn’t crush the books the way I could, were happy at St. M’s. They weren’t beaten up anymore. They had fun. They had friends. They liked their classes – and the penguins aka nuns! Ma knew my public school honors classes would be tough for them – no matter how hard Ma tried to help them with homework – and Ma did sit with us and struggle through our projects with us! But she was ok with less excellence because my sisters didn’t crave it like I did. Sure, I was bullied at Lamartine and Prov cuz I was a straight A brainy nearsighted bookworm, and Ma knew it. But I was so crazy about my schools, my teachers, the competitiveness of my fellow smarties and the friendship of my good gal pals that I stuck it all out. And Ma loved her chubby little shining star!

My mom knew she had to make school work for my kid sisters who wouldn’t thrive in public schools. She was too poor to pay for a private Catholic school, but she, like her Mom before her, was a parishoner of Our Lady of Czetchowa and worked a special deal with the church for its St. Mary’s school: free tuition up to graduation from high school (St Mary’s went K to 12), free everything for her two girls (except uniforms). Why? Because Ma was a parishoner who was a single mom who worked 60 hours a week at the dry cleaners for minimum wage and was killing herself to pay the bills and provide a good life for her girls and Polish immigrant mother (“Bapy”) who lived with the family on Lafayette Street. And she and her girls walked to church to attend mass every Sunday morning and on every Holy Day of obligation – of which there are a multitude, if you’re an old school Catholic. Which my mom was.

We were a well deserving church “charity case.”

Fast forward to 2016. St. Mary’s school doesn’t offer the same deal to my mom cuz the pastor is an ASSHOLE. I’ve written about him in this space… you all know the straight dope.

So…What would Ma do for my two kid sisters today? How would she educate two fragile little inner city gals today?


WORK IT SO THAT HER TWO GIRLS COULD ATTEND A CHARTER SCHOOL – the perfect place for them to learn!

Today Worcester’s charter schools offer a CHOICE to parents like my mom. Parents who don’t often have a lot of choices in their lives and are DOING THEIR BEST AND WANT THE BEST FOR THEIR KIDS. They can’t afford chi chi private schools, they may not be able to drive their kids to another town’s safer, (better???) schools. They may feel, like my mom did, that their kids can’t thrive in a sometimes chaotic public school setting and that they may need smaller and intimate classroom settings. They may feel their kids need to go to school with kids who don’t pose huge discipline problems. School uniforms may help parents save money – I know that was the case for my mom. And while the school’s curriculum or teachers may not be inspiring, they are solid – their kids will graduate knowing how to read and write and do arithmetic. They’ll have  a grasp of the basics and can go on from there.

If my mom had boys she would be checking out the Nativity School in the old Girls Club Lincoln House building.

She’d be intrigued by the WPS school President Obama visited a few years ago: Worcester Technical High School. For awhile, as a kid, my mother attended the WPS’s Girls Trade School. Something for which she was always grateful and proud.

Ma would look for the best schools that fit her kids in the best possible way – taking into account a lot more than academics. And because she’d be poor the school choices had to be free. The Worcester Public Schools did well by my immigrant Polish and Italian family:  two doctors, a few school teachers, a nurse, a nursing home administrator, an accountant, a lawyer…many of us the first in the family to go to college. Many living the American Dream! There’s even a Hollywood set painter … and a feisty editor of a feisty inner-city community newspaper!

Ma would vote YES ON QUESTION 2.

So will I.

Edith parked in Rose’s space: NO ON QUESTION 2!!

How will YOU vote on November 8???? pic:R.T.

By Edith Morgan

Maybe November 8 will be different – maybe everyone will show up to vote! (We’re electing our President, after all!) Or maybe the new early voting days will bring out enough of us to really make a difference.

Certainly the turnout on September 8 did not make me feel very hopeful, although there was some excuse for the lack of interest, in that there were unusual factors: 1) election day fell on a Thursday; 2) it was really poorly advertised by the parties: 3) there were too many wards where there was no contest; 4) I suspect a certain fatigue on the part of the voters, having been barraged with the incessant stupidities of the presidential campaign.

Still, some people who have never missed an election DID show up – even just to be counted, where they had no choices provided.

But November 8 will give us plenty to think about and to choose! As a retired educator and with a lifetime dedication to the idea of universal public education, I have watched for several decades now as the privatizers and money/power grabbers slowly made inroads into our public school systems: nationally, they cut public funding, closed many neighborhood schools and imposed a spurious testing system designed to punish the schools attended by the poorest and minority children.

Since most of the American public has for some time strongly supported their public schools, a direct frontal attack would have met with real resistance. So, there had to be the scurrilous, undercover attacks on aspects of the system that were vulnerable.

In addition to budget cuts, attacks on teachers and multiple choice tests designed to put down rather than to help the most needy, the notion of “choice” was sold as an alternative to making EVERY American school good and great. While we were promised that charter schools would introduce creative and innovative education ideas, to be then introduced to the public schools, that idea soon got lost …The rest of the story is history …

But now, with Ballot Question 2, we have a chance to at least put a halt on the draining of the life-blood of our schools.

Question 2 proposes to lift the cap on further charter school expansion in Massachusetts.

So, a NO vote will keep the cap we have now at its present level.

We have a chance to stop the erosion in its tracks – it’s the least we can do. So I urge, plead, entreat EVERY VOTER to cast a ballot and at least vote No on 2!  Even if you are totally turned off by the Presidential race, give our children a chance! Make sure that the very necessary funding our public schools depend on is not drained away any more. It’s the least any of us can do!

Rosanne Bacon Meade to head committee against physician-assisted suicide


BOSTON – The Committee Against Physician Assisted Suicide today announced that Rosanne Bacon Meade, former president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association and progressive activist, would chair its efforts to defeat the ballot initiative legalizing assisted suicide in the Commonwealth.   The initiative petition will appear on the November Massachusetts ballot (Question 2).   If approved, it would become law on January 1, 2013. 

 “Given my personal involvement in end-of-life care for both my mother and mother in-law, I am honored to lead the effort to defeat Question 2,” said Meade.  “No matter your philosophical views on end of life decision-making, this initiative petition is poorly written, confusing, and flawed.  With Massachusetts as the center of modern medical advances and treatment for those who are seriously ill, we can do better than pass a ballot question that would take us backward, not forward, in how we deal with end-of-life treatments.”  

 Meade said the Committee, which has already attracted the support of doctors, nurses, hospice workers, and religious leaders, will launch a vigorous campaign to defeat the measure.

“This ballot question allows a patient to obtain a lethal prescription without a mental health evaluation, without a consultation with a palliative care expert, and without family involvement,” said Meade.  “A person could act on their own at a terribly vulnerable moment, without the help and support they need.”

“An initiative petition is the worst possible way to decide end-of- life treatment options,” Meade said. “But, the proponents put this issue on the ballot instead of asking the legislature to bring healthcare experts together to thoughtfully advise state policy makers.  We will do whatever we can to help voters understand the ballot questions shortcomings and lack of effective safeguards.”

Many of the leading local and national health organizations, including the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Physicians oppose physician assisted suicide.

“Patients don’t need to commit suicide to achieve peace and dignity,” said Dr. Alexandra Cist, a physician and clinical ethics consultant at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Harvard Medical School faculty member.  “Instead, they need better advance care planning and increased early entry into palliative care and hospice so a patient can benefit profoundly from the right treatment and support.”

 The Vote No on Question 2 Coalition already includes doctors, nurses, members of the disability community and religious leaders from all faiths.

 “Jewish leaders, ethicists, and rabbis have advocated on behalf of ever more effective palliative care because they recognize the ethical and practical dangers of permitting assisted suicide,” said Rabbi David Meyer of Marblehead. 

Meade said the coalition plans to continue expanding its membership and its fundraising base in the next several weeks.   

“I am struck by how many people have no idea this question is on the ballot,” she noted.  “We need to make people aware that Question 2 is seriously flawed and deserves a no vote on November 6th.”  

 In addition to serving as MTA president, Meade was also a member of the National Education Association’s executive committee.  Over a 38-year career, Meade taught middle school English.  She also ran the Teach Boston Program in the Boston Public Schools and taught in the Graduate School of Education at Cambridge College.   In addition to her role as educator, she has helped spearhead a number of progressive causes in Massachusetts over the past three decades.  

 To find out more, please visit www.stopassistedsuicide.org. On social media, also visit http://www.facebook.com/StopPhysicianAssistedSuicide on Facebook or @stopasstsuicide on Twitter.


A letter to the Worcester City Council from Billy Breault

Main South Alliance for Public Safety

March 1, 2011
Ordinance Public Consumption of Marijuana

Mr. Mayor, Members of the City Council, Mr. City Manager:

I come before you this evening to speak on the problem of public consumption of marijuana. It’s been two years now since marijuana became decriminalized in Massachusetts, and one thing remains clear: people still are not really sure what the law means. On November 4th, 2008 voters passed ballot question 2.

Question 2 amends Chapter 94C of the General Laws by adding three new sections, 32L through 32N and amending language of section 34 of chapter 94C to conform to the new law. The new Section 32L changes the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana or THC from a criminal offense to a civil offense, making it punishable by civil penalties and forfeiture of the contraband. For an adult the offense is punishable by a $100 civil penalty and forfeiture of the contraband. An offender under the age of 18 is subject to the $100 civil penalty and Continue reading A letter to the Worcester City Council from Billy Breault