Faced with a problem largely of its own making, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education this week at least left the door ajar to granting waivers for public charter school proposals in Fitchburg and Brockton. It's not at all clear the board will do so, but fairness, logic, and even the guiding spirit of public education, demand no less.Read More
HAREBRAINED MOVES by the Legislature and Board of Education have flipped the world of Massachusetts charter schools upside down. Suddenly Brockton, Fitchburg, Holyoke, Fall River, and other low-income urban communities have either reached the enrollment cap or been tripped up by technicalities during efforts to open new charter schools. Meanwhile, suburban and rural communities, including Dennis-Yarmouth, Greenfield, and Spencer, suddenly are in a position to double the number of students who can attend charter schools, although no operators are currently knocking on their doors. The bottom line: It is likely that, for the first time since 1996, no new independently-run charter school will open its doors in Massachusetts.Read More
Proponents of a new charter public school for northern Worcester County had barely had time to absorb the good news from state education officials — they had passed a preliminary screening and were welcome to submit a final application — when they received word that there had been a mistake.Read More
Twenty years after comprehensive education reform brought public charter schools to Massachusetts, the state continues to have a curious dual relationship with charters: Evidence strongly suggests they have made an enormous, positive impact on public education, yet many state and local education officials remain reluctant to unleash the full power that charters have to transform education.
A portrait of Worcester's Seven Hills Charter Public School in the Oct. 5 Sunday Telegram exemplifies the success charters enjoy.Read More
As predicted, a misguided policy change by state education leaders has led to a situation that pits families in urban school districts who want to send their kids to charter schools against suburban and rural communities who may have no need for new charters. And all because this state’s elected leaders are too afraid to challenge the powerful education establishment by lifting the arbitrary cap that limits charters in the first place.Read More
For Democrat lawmakers in the Massachusetts Senate who doubted the importance of public charter schools in improving educational opportunities for minority children, MCAS results released this week should jolt them to pragmatism over politics.Read More
AS SUMMER DRAWS to a close, teachers are returning to work to get ready for the new school year. One significant issue they will have to face, particularly those working at schools that predominantly serve students from low-income families, is the loss of reading and math skills over the long summer vacation. Historically, summer learning programs have been an afterthought for some school districts, while others have not offered a program of any kind. But now some educators and policymakers are considering additional learning time in the summer as an approach to closing stubbornly large achievement gaps between disadvantaged and advantaged students.Read More
After losing the 1958 governor’s race, George Wallace, then considered a moderate on segregation by mid-20th century Alabama standards, said he would never get “out-segged” again. Four years later, after his election by the state’s virtually all white voters, it was easy for him to declare in his inaugural address, “I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”Read More
Debate on a charter school reform bill in the Senate last week ended in acrimony, with charter proponents and opponents disagreeing on everything but this — it isn't likely the Legislature will do anything more with public charter schools this year.
That comes as a relief, because as unconscionable as it is that thousands of Massachusetts families continue to see their freedom of choice in education held hostage by politics, the bill from Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain) in the name of the reform would have made matters worse.Read More