Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Booed in Brockton -- state education head hammered on charter schools

Booed in Brockton -- state education head hammered on charter schools:

Booed in Brockton -- state education head hammered on charter schools

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Loud hissing and then booing broke out in a Brockton school cafeteria during a town hall-style forum on Tuesday when the state's public education commissioner mentioned the charter school he recommended for approval in the city this year. "You can decide whether we judged erroneously or not," Chester Mitchell said. "You can decide that the demand is not there. The facts belie that."


BROCKTON – Loud hissing and then booing broke out in a Brockton High School cafeteria during a town hall-style forum on Tuesday when the state’s public education commissioner started talking about charter schools, with the uproar only intensifying after he mentioned the name of one that he recommended to open in the city this year.
One of the problems with the new Brockton charter school that Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester avoided mentioning is that the school did not open in Brockton. It also didn’t open on the schedule it planned. After renovation delays reported at one site in Brockton and a problem obtaining proper permits for construction at a second location in the city, the New Heights Charter School opened 22 miles away in Norwood after gaining Mitchell’s permission less than a week before the first day of class. Before that, Mitchell’s department approved a shortened school year to help the new charter school get off the ground.
Instead of acknowledging those problems with the readiness of the New Heights Charter School to open, Mitchell seemed to suggest the exact opposite for his reasons to recommend the Brockton charter school’s approval in mid-February earlier this year.
“We have very strict criteria for judging whether an applicant or an application is ready to start a charter school,” said Mitchell, noting that New Heights failed to gain state approval during two previous attempts. “The New Heights Charter School submitted two years of applications and was rejected because we didn’t think they were ready to start a charter school.”
That’s when some members of the crowd let him have it, heckling, hissing and booing.
“They still aren’t,” one man shouted, responding to the assertion that New Heights was ready to start a charter school. “They’re in Norwood.”
Mitchell was speaking in the cafeteria as part of an event to kick-off the school year, which also served as a rally for the Brockton Kids Count campaign, launched by the school district in March to call on the state to provide more adequate funding for public education in the city.
The story continues after the following video.Booed in Brockton -- state education head hammered on charter schools:

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