Last week, we wrote a post exposing that Maia Davis – who founded Montclair Cares About Schools and has been one of their most quoted voices as a “parent activist” – actually is a paid communications staffer for the United Federation of Teachers. The UFT is the New York City local of the American Federation of Teachers, and is by far the largest chapter. Apparently, it’s very powerful within internal AFT politics, as the last few presidents of the AFT – including the current one – have come from the UFT. The post has even gotten national attention and sparked debate about her lack of disclosure, as we noted yesterday.
Some folks responded to our post that it didn’t matter because it was a union in another state without interests here in Montclair.
We disagree with that.
The AFT and UFT have aggressively been seeking to kneecap common core implementation. As we noted in our post, Davis’s boss, UFT head Michael Mulgrew, has bragged about his efforts to “gum up the works”.
And that sounds eerily similar to Davis’s work here in Montclair, where, for instance, she has aggressively questioned the district’s plans to invest in technology. Indeed, as the reports on the issue make clear, she’s doing everything she can to slow down these efforts:
Fleischer said district has a sense of urgency because the state-mandated PARCC assessments will require students to take the tests online.
Maia Davis, a member of the Montclair Cares About Schools group, urged board members to move cautiously on the purchase of new computers, and she asked the board to consider conducting a community-wide dialogue on the district’s technology needs.
Even the $500,000 technology upgrades came under fire, with resident Maia Davis, also of Montclair Cares About Schools, saying that it was not appropriate “capital” spending priority because technology is a short-term investment and capital improvements are long-term.
Around the state, Davis has also been involved in pushing AFT priorities, like attacking reform efforts in Newark:
And electing their chosen candidate:
These are fights that her organization MCAS has been involved in, organizing Montclair around those issues as well. For instance, according to this, MCAS held a fundraiser for Baraka:
Montclair Cares About Schools, a group of parents and community members focused on public education issues, has joined with three other organizations — the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, People’s Organization for Progress, and New Jersey Communities United — to host a fundraiser in Montclair for Ras Baraka, a candidate for mayor of Newark in the city’s May 13 municipal elections.
Given these various involvements, the way they overlap with her professional role working for the AFT, and the fact that – as we noted in our first post on her association – this push started a few weeks after she took the job, we think that this role is pretty relevant, and should have been reported and disclosed. It’s clearly motivating and guiding her involvement in these issues.