Charter Schools are Dead and Other Fairy Tales I Read in the Boston Globe Today

If you picked up the Globe this morning, you’d think that charter schools are dying in Massachusetts and people across the Commonwealth are ready to burn them all down. 

I laughed out loud to read this frankly bizarre mash-up of stories attempting to paint some kind of grim picture of charters across the state, because it’s literally the farthest thing from reality. Nice try though.

All of this seems to be a desperate attempt to continue the ballot question campaign regarding whether to expand charter schools — a ballot question that was decided nearly two years ago — but due to a severe lack of vision around an alternative plan to address the serious achievement gaps that persist in Massachusetts, some folks just keep on banging the same old tired drum.

The rest of us, parents in particular, are over it.

Don’t just take my word for it. My blog earlier this week brought forward tons of folks who said they voted “No on 2” because they bought the “charters are fine, but we can’t afford more!” argument, but see what the game really is.

Did you hear the voices of parents in the Globe today? Of course not. Instead, once again, we got Lisa Guisbond, the “Executive Director” of “Citizens for Public Schools” which is literally just a union front group — run by lobbyists from the MTA and other union members.

Contrary to the fairy tale being spun by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and others, the ballot question was not a referendum on charter schools themselves. Parents and families still love them, support them and want them in their communities.

Even listening to the NO on 2 campaign — everyone from the surrogates and elected officials on the campaign trail — couldn’t deny that these schools work, they outperform many district schools and are achievement gap killers.

That’s why they have waiting lists that are a mile long in Boston. Ask any elected official in the state whether they’d be in favor of shutting down their local charter and I guarantee that the vast majority of them would give you an unequivocal HELL NO. Parents would absolutely RIOT.

And when we get down to the FACT, the numbers don’t lie. More people are signing up their children for the local charter lottery NOW than ever before — numbers that have GROWN since the ballot question nearly two years ago. Here’s where you can see PARENT VOICE:

  • In 2018 there were 35,388 applications for 2,100 seats
  • In 2017 35,551 applications for 2,100 seats.
  • In the 2016 lottery 13,000 names entered for 1,400 available seats.

Why did these numbers go up after 2016 and stay up since? Because MTA campaigns are powerful, but they can’t kill the one thing that trumps teachers pressuring parents.

Parents talking to other parents. Word of mouth between friends and families.

Now if we want to start throwing mud around, I’m down for that. Head to head, district schools have more crazy situations and teachers getting arrested than charters do. I mean, I can take about 5 minutes and google up tons of examples of schools and teachers behaving badly in districts across Massachusetts:

Lowell High teacher who resigned over love letters identified

Stoughton High teacher resigns amid sex probe

Teacher suspended for swearing at student

Spencer principal says teacher suspended for mishandling funds

Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech teacher suspended without pay after student assault charge

Massachusetts special education teacher arrested on child porn charges in Rhode Island

Teacher arrested for having inappropriate contact with student

School officials stunned by Haverhill teacher’s drug arrest

Police: Armed Billerica Teacher Stole Drugs, Money

Leominster High School teacher arrested on drug charges

Former Franklin high school teacher Mark Massey raped a 14-year-old student.

Norman Finizio, a former special education teacher in Quincy, sexually assaulted a 9-year-old girl.

Abington school teacher Christine McCallum is locked up and out of a job after drugging and repeatedly raping a 13-year-old boy she was tutoring.

See? District schools are bad.

All union teachers? Awful.

Is that accurate? Of course not. But this is the equivalent of what we were presented with in the Globe this morning.

Can EduMom get published tomorrow?

(Actually we should, because this is an amazing blog. You should share this blog with your friends right now. It’s brilliant.)

And of course, the cherry on this crap sundae is the world most obvious quote from outgoing MTA President Barbara Madeloni.

(Here’s Barbara and her friend AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, who lives in Boston and loves to lecture people about supporting public schools, while sending his own to private school, because you know …)

I mean, it wouldn’t be a charter school hit piece without a quote from Babs!

“Charter schools “are not the panacea they’ve been offered up as,” said Barbara Madeloni, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, which has been fiercely critical of charter schools. “It’s not surprising to me to see things starting to crumble.”

Of course, Barbara — you’d never step foot in a charter school. Not that you’d ever have to, considering you’re not a parent, not a K-12 teacher and you yourself went to a Catholic school.

Here’s a suggestion for something refreshing that parents would actually really like the Boston Globe to ask Barbara Madeloni about:

What’s your idea for really addressing achievement gaps that persist in communities of color and lower income communities? Note: it must be an idea that doesn’t blame parents for being poor or children for black or brown (because charter schools are able to educate kids who are poor, black and brown.)

And while we’re at it: Given the fact that dozens of teachers are fired every year for sexual misconduct with students, drug offenses, violence and other offenses, would you say the Massachusetts education system is starting to crumble? And do you think it’s finally time for the MTA to get behind the Comprehensive Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Act of 2017 that would ban teachers from sexual relations with students in the Commonwealth?

The ballot question is OVER. Like a year and a half ago over.

Making charter schools your political punching bag isn’t fooling anyone and they’re not going anywhere.

What do you think?

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