Election Creates New Momentum For Eliminating Enrollment Caps
Statement by Marc Kenen, Executive Director MCPSA
BOSTON - Yesterday’s Mayoral election in Boston was an historic one for charter public schools. No matter who wins, Boston will have a pro-charter Mayor.
The two elected finalists, Marty Walsh and John Connolly, are both strong advocates for charter schools. Both support the elimination of the charter school cap; both support leasing underutilized district buildings to charters; both support equal funding for charter and district students; both support deepening the work of the Boston Compact collaboration between charter and district schools.
Against great odds, and in the face of fierce opposition, charter school leaders, teachers, and parents created one of the best groups of public schools to be found anywhere in the country. With this election, Boston charter schools will no longer be cast as outsiders. Our place at the table is secure.
This election will reverberate across the state, creating space for other city officials and candidates to embrace charters and further legitimizing the support of charters within the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
It is clear that charter school parents are becoming a strong voice. Nearly 8,000 children attend charter schools in Boston and 16,000 more sit on waiting lists. Statewide, nearly 32,000 children are enrolled in charters and more than 40,000 sit on waiting lists. Our parents are passionate about our schools and equally passionate about ensuring that other parents have the same high quality options for their children.
Even before the vote yesterday, the mayoral race had already proven to be a breakthrough for the charter school movement:
- Lifting the cap on charter schools became one of the two major issues in the campaign
- A WBUR poll found a Boston voter margin of 61%-22% in favor of lifting the cap
- 7 out of 12 candidates endorsed a cap lift
- 5 of those 7 endorsed the elimination of the cap
This election will create further momentum for charter school expansion – and for changes in our public education system that will benefit children across the state.