Schools: Research with an agenda
The Massachusetts Teachers Association has long been a determined foe of Commonwealth charter schools. No surprise there: The innovative charters regularly turn in impressive academic results - and they are non-unionized. But why has the MTA filed public records requests for the waiting lists at the state's Commonwealth charters? "We are doing research . . . as part of our preparation for the debate over nontraditional schools," says MTA spokeman Bob Duffy. Hmmm. Research done by the state's largest teachers union into the non-unionized schools it opposes. That's a "research" effort whose results it will be best to take with a grain - actually make that a full shaker - of salt.
Public art: The colossus of Brockton
Rocky Marciano was a towering figure in the boxing world, so it's easy to understand why his hometown of Brockton wants to put him on a pedestal. But erecting a 24-foot statue does a disservice to the former undefeated heavyweight champion, who was 5 feet 11. When someone like Marciano is cast in bronze or smoothed from stone, people want to get up close, to touch the figure, marvel at the muscles - and maybe even fantasize about what it would have been like to meet him in the ring. That's why the best way to bring Marciano to life is to return his statue to life-size.
Airlines: Passenger's bill of plights
The nation's airlines are only courting congressional action with the toothless "guidelines" for passenger's rights adopted by a federal task force last week. The voluntary guidelines don't offer any real relief for long-suffering passengers, who have been stranded on runways for up to eight hours amid fetid bathrooms and no water or food. There are no recommended time limits on how long passengers can be held captive on runways - consumer advocates had wanted a reasonable three hours - and only "reasonable efforts" to provide water or useable bathrooms. But what else was expected from a 35-member panel dominated by industry representatives? And can a no-nonsense passenger's bill of rights be far behind?