Saturday, September 14, 2019

Educators, Parents Derail Charter Industry Scheme to Defy Will of Voters

Educators, Parents Derail Charter Industry Scheme to Defy Will of Voters

Educators, Parents Derail Charter Industry Scheme to Defy Will of Voters

In November 2016, Massachusetts voters rejected Question 2, a ballot referendum financed by the charter school industry to raise the cap on charter school expansion. The vote, 62 percent to 38 percent, wasn’t close, sending a clear signal across the state that public education wasn’t for sale.
To the surprise of … well, no one, school privatization advocates didn’t get the message. Charter school CEOs and their allies licked their wounds and regrouped. An opportunity soon presented itself in New Bedford, Mass., where a 2018 proposal to expand one charter school soon morphed into a transparent scheme to pry open the door to a statewide expansion.
“It was an attempted end run around the will of voters,” said Merrie Najimy, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. “But our members and the alliances were at the ready.”
Educators and parents launched an unrelenting campaign against a proposal they believed was tantamount to extortion. By May 2019, the plan had stalled in the legislature and charter school advocates soon abandoned the effort.
The proposal—a deal brokered behind closed doors—was dangerous on many fronts. Most alarming to public school activists was the plan to carve out an attendance zone for the Alma Del Mar charter school, making it the first neighborhood charter school in the state. Students in the proposed zone would, by default, become charter school students.
“In what world is it acceptable to tell a child they have to go to a privately-run charter school?” asked State Representative Chris Hendricks.
Alma Del Mar would have been the first neighborhood charter school, but most CONTINUE READING: Educators, Parents Derail Charter Industry Scheme to Defy Will of Voters

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