Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Thrilla in Manilla, er ... North Adams ... Continues

Does Willard Mitt have it in for North Adams? After all, the city voted for O’Brien in 2002, its Mayor famously wrestled with Romney’s loathsome $150,000-a-year spokesman, and it is decidedly Jane Swift (R-Flagbearer) country. Well, Team Reform is looking to take it up a notch.

Joe Rappa, director of Romney’s Massachusetts Office of Education Quality and Accountability, has notified the city that the state may take over the school system.

Rappa claims that the North Adams schools are inferior. (source: Boston Globe, 9/8/2003)

So what’s the rap on Joe Rappa? And what does he know about inferior schools?


In 1995, when Rappa was Attleboro School Superintendent, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) issued an accreditation warning to Attleboro High. Left uncorrected, the warning could have led to the school’s loss of accreditation.

According to press reports, Rappa withheld the accreditation warning and did not forward it to the school committee. Insiders speculate Rappa feared the warning would harm his professional standing (i.e. his three-year salary average.) He allegedly hid the warning in his desk, where it was found years later, unopened. The Attleboro School Committee found out about the warning when NEASC notified them that the threat was being removed. Asked about his negligent and, some might say illegal, action, Rappa told a reporter, "I have no comment. This is old news. I was in Attleboro for nine years, now I'm in Leominster. Goodbye." (source: Worcester T&G, 9/23/1998)

But that’s not the end of the story.

Rappa’s office is not the only entity to audit the North Adams schools. The High School recently underwent a review by (insert ironic ‘tsk’ here) NEASC. (source: North Adams Transcript, 9/13/2003) Yep, the self-same group that whacked Rappa’s Attleboro High school.

NEASC commended Drury for its educational program. (source: North Adams Transcript, 9/13/2003) But Romney/Rappa will not relent.

Mayor Barrett, here’s a suggestion. If you don’t like Rappa’s report on your schools, just put it in a desk drawer for a few years. It worked for Rappa. And you’ll be able to focus on what’s truly important.

Like your next bout with Team Reform.

“In this corner ….”


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