National political discourse suggests the Baker v. Patrick comparison features two opposing views on government: too often the problem according to Republicans and regularly the solution for Democrats. This narrative does not apply to Charlie Baker as both he and Deval Patrick see vital, necessary roles for government. I submit that a comparison of Charlie Baker’s inaugural speech yesterday and Deval Patrick’s final State of the Commonwealth address last January make their respective takes on the role government should play, and their conceptualization of Massachusetts residents, clear.
Much was made of the fall 2013 report that Massachusetts students ranked first in the nation in standardized test results for various core subjects. While those results are certainly impressive, they also serve to mask real educational deficiencies in the Commonwealth -- areas where Massachusetts in fact lags far behind many other states. More exactly, the performance of Massachusetts students in wealthier schools and districts drives much of the quantitative success on standardized tests and our high test scores in K-12 contrasts mightily with the relative paucity of state funding and support for education in the early years and post-high school.