Massachusetts Charter Expansion Ballot Question Pits Dark Money Against People Power
By Lisa Guisbond, Executive Director, Citizens for Public Schools
When they head to the polls on November 8, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to embrace unfettered charter school expansion or vote no on ballot question 2. Opponents and supporters are embroiled in a high-stakes battle that will demonstrate whether tens of millions of dollars, much of it dark money from outside Massachusetts, can vanquish a grass roots army of students, parents and teachers knocking on doors, making phone calls, planting lawn signs and writing letters to their community newspapers.
My organization, Citizens for Public Schools, is part of a broad-based coalition, Save our Public Schools Massachusetts (SOPS), fighting Question 2. SOPS includes the two major teachers unions and many other labor groups, the Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association, the New England Area Conference of the NAACP, a number of progressive political organizations, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, among many others. A spontaneous movement among elected school committees has resulted in more than 145 passing No on 2 resolutions (meanwhile, there have been zero yes on 2 resolutions to date). On the other side, are Republican Governor Charlie Baker, the Boston Globe and Boston Herald editorial boards, Democrats for Education Reform and a number of Astro Turf groups that have sprung up to push the question to victory, awash in out-of-state and dark money.
At this point, the Yes on 2 folks are outspending us by two to one, with more than $20 million to spend on TV advertising, an unprecedented amount for a Massachusetts ballot campaign. However, polling data and our experiences talking to voters confirm that when people hear both sides of the argument, they move dramatically toward the no side. This holds true for every demographic group in the state.
What would Question 2 do? It would lift current restrictions on charter school growth statewide, allowing 12 new charter schools to open Massachusetts Charter Expansion Ballot Question Pits Dark Money Against People Power - Network For Public Education:When a Charter Comes to Town: The Mobilization of Suburban Opposition - Network For Public Education - http://wp.me/p3bR9v-1Sh
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