In the News
SOMETIMES A legislative effort is so transparently bad that it’s simply laughable.
That’s the case with the charter-school cap-lift the Massachusetts Senate is scheduled to debate Wednesday.
In the past, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Senate chair of the education committee, has insisted she wants to get a charter bill done. Herlegislation renders that claim hard to believe. It’s a poison pill through and through, an offer the charter schools can’t help but refuse.
Amidst the emotional and political jockeying that has come to characterize the debate over charter schools in Massachusetts, we lose sight of two fundamental questions that should drive public policy decisions: Who benefits? And who pays? When applied to the current bill to raise the cap on charter school spending in the lowest-performing schools districts, the answers are in the data.
A recent column in the Boston Globe claims the political agendas of adults forget the needs of the children. The story draws on an interview with one mother, indifferent to the cap lift, who sees charter schools as a distraction from the true problem of fixing district schools.Read More
As the clock ticks down on the Legislature’s year – lawmakers are due to complete formal sessions at the end of July – there are several items of unfinished business, none more important than raising the cap on charter schools.Read More
Study: Urban Charter School Waitlists Could Be Nearly Eliminated Through 5 Percent Increase in Spending in Low-Performing Districts
State reimbursements would cover 28 percent of the spending increase over a decade; change would allow over 10,000 students to leave low-performing schools for high-performing chartersRead More
In the waning days of the school year, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education ensured that fewer urban schoolchildren will have high-quality learning opportunities come September. The board unanimously adopted a proposal from Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester that manipulates numbers and makes a mockery of the goal of rewarding improved performance.Read More
Charter school advocates, in a last-minute push to raise the state limit on the number of seats in such schools, are releasing a poll Tuesday that they say shows widespread appetite among Boston families for more of them.
The poll, sponsored by the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, found that 62 percent of adult respondents from households with children support raising the state cap on the number of students that can enroll in charter schools.Read More
This past week, at the urging of state K-12 education commissioner Mitch Chester, Deval Patrick’s Massachusetts Board of Education took a vote against Massachusetts’ nation-leading and achievement gap-closing charter schools. The vote reminds us once again how intellectually warped so much of K-12 education policymaking remains.Read More
Charter school advocates rallied on Beacon Hill Monday for expansion legislation that has already cleared the House, pressing the importance of tackling the issue by the end of July and reminding lawmakers that the bill does more than simply lift the cap on enrollment.Read More
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday pushed forward with a minor change to how it calculates the progress of school districts. But however small, that vote could have a major impact on which communities are allowed to expand enrollment in public charter schools.
Instead of constant tweaking and politicking, what's needed is the true academic freedom that would come with eliminating the BESE's role as kingmaker in the struggle over public charter schools.
Sadly, state education officials have made it clear they are more interested in protecting the jobs of bureaucrats and teachers than in letting real choice and competition do for education what they do for every other consumer market.Read More
In a move blasted by charter school advocates, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education refused Tuesday to abandon a new way of determining which districts get more charter schools and even voted to bolster the use of a controversial set of data.
The decision ultimately means that efforts to double charter school enrollment in cities such as Worcester and Somerville will grind to a halt because they no longer rank in the bottom 10 percent in the state. Under state law, only districts in the bottom 10 percent are eligible for a doubling of charter-school enrollment.Read More