Keep community control over public schools
To the editor:
On Nov. 8, Massachusetts voters will be asked to decide whether to allow up to 12 new charter schools per year. Contrary to their cynically deceptive TV ads, charter schools are not public schools. They can be mandated in communities that don't even want them, and which have absolutely no control over their policies. But they're more than happy to siphon precious dollars from our already under-funded public schools. Across the state, charter schools now drain about $450 million annually. This figure would rise even higher if Question 2 passes.
More than 100 school boards in Massachusetts have come out against Question 2, including 17 in Berkshire County. How many support it? Zero! So who supports it? Those interested in converting educating our children into a profit-generating business. More money has poured in to support Question 2 than was spent to support gambling initiatives, much of it from out-of-state interests.
Don't be fooled by slick marketing: I hope you will research this issue and join me in voting "no" on Ballot Question 2 Nov. 8.
Paul Johansen, Pittsfield The writer has two children at Pittsfield High School who together have spent over 18 years in the Pittsfield public school system. He teaches math at Berkshire Community College (BCC), and is an elected member of the local union leadership for the Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC).