Commentary

Charlie Baker must address K-12 achievement gaps

December 1, 2014 | Editorial Staff

GOVERNOR-ELECT Charlie Baker is an unabashed supporter of lifting the cap on independent charter schools, a bit of a skeptic on the primacy of early childhood education, and favors tough statewide assessment tests. He has absorbed many of the lessons of the 20-year education reform movement in Massachusetts. But his election coincides with a backlash against education reform on the part of school boards, teachers unions, and some parents. This suggests a rocky start on the K-12 front for the Baker administration.

Read More

Taking off the chains

December 1, 2014 | Editorial Board

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last week took a step toward common sense and fairness by granting waivers to charter school proposals in Fitchburg and Brockton that had been held up by an ill-considered 2010 revision to charter-school laws.

Read More

What would Horace do?

October 25, 2014 | Editorial Board

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

Charting difficult Democratic waters on education reform

October 22, 2014 | Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe

Roadblock for charter schools

October 18, 2014 | Lawrence Harmon

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

Making those schools disappear

October 11, 2014 | Worcester Telegram & Gazette Editorial Team

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

Seven Hills of Success

October 7, 2014 | Worcester Telegram & Gazette Editorial Team

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

Editorial: Bad charter change

October 6, 2014 | Herald Staff

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

MCAS results reveal the Senate's shame

September 28, 2014 | Editorial Board

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

End the summer slide, close the achievement gap

August 19, 2014 | Sue Thompson

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

Pages