Thursday, August 18, 2016

Christine Langhoff: What the Massachusetts Democratic Committee Said about the Charter Issue | Diane Ravitch's blog

Christine Langhoff: What the Massachusetts Democratic Committee Said about the Charter Issue | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Christine Langhoff: What the Massachusetts Democratic Committee Said about the Charter Issue

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Two days ago, the Massachusetts Democratic Committee overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing Question 2, which seeks to lift the cap on charter schools.
Massachusetts teacher and daily reader Christine Langhoff expands on my early report (which she kindly sent to me as soon as the resolution passed). Thanks to Christine, I was able to circulate the good news before the daily press. It is kind of amusing seeing the complaint by the representative of DFER, the hedge fund managers’ group. Hedge funds are not generally viewed as champions of those without power; they lack numbers, but they are loaded with money and power. Parents and educators anticipate that the hedge funds and corporate interests will pour close to $20 million into their campaign for Question 2. Supporters of public schools can’t match the dollars, but they can knock on every door and alert every parent that the real goal of this deceptive campaign is privatization, not helping public schools.
She writes:
On Tuesday evening, August 16, the Massachusetts State Democratic Committee overwhelmingly passed a resolution, by voice vote, in opposition to Ballot Question #2, which would eliminate the cap on the number of charter schools permitted in the Commonwealth. Here is part of the text of the resolution, which was offered by Steve Tolman, President of the MA AFL-CIO:
Democratic State Committee Resolution Regarding Question 2
WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Democratic Party platform states that “Massachusetts Democrats are committed to investing in public education”; and
WHEREAS, the national Democratic Party platform states that charter schools “should not replace or destabilize traditional public schools”; and
WHEREAS, more than $400 million in taxpayer money was diverted to charter schools statewide last year from local school districts, forcing cuts to programs that families and students value; and
WHEREAS, charter schools typically serve far fewer special needs students, English language learners and economically disadvantaged students than the traditional public school districts they are located in and use hyper-disciplinary policies and suspensions for minor infractions to push out students; and
Liam Kerr, director of Democrats For Education Reform Massachusetts, was not amused.
“Tonight, a small group of state Democratic Party insiders hijacked a meeting and passed a resolution with little warning and no debate or discussion. Democratic leaders, including Hillary Clinton and President Obama support high-quality public charter schools. The Massachusetts party insiders are so out of step they won’t even listen to those who stand with low-income families and families of color desperate for a better education for their children. There was nothing democratic about this vote.”
The vote flew in the face of predictions by the pro-charter Boston Globe on Monday that it would be a divisive resolution:
“…forcing activists to take sides between two traditional party constituencies: minority and low-income families versus teachers unions…


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