Letter: Anti-charter school arguments are self-serving, wrong

Anti-charter arguments are self-serving, wrong

To the editor:

Local school districts do not lose money to charter schools, as Neil Clarke says in his May 5 Eagle op-ed commentary. They lose children.

Parents have a choice, now, to pick the public schools that best suit the needs of their children, and when they do, the money dedicated to educate those children is redirected to the charters. Districts then get extra money from the state for six years after those children leave. In his commentary, Mr. Clarke leaves unanswered the question of why districts should keep that money when they are no longer educating those children.

Mr. Clarke also says charters are approved over the objection of "communities." Not so. Charters fill up as fast as they are approved. Demand is high, and waiting lists are long.

What opposition is Mr. Clarke referring to? Local school districts, school committees and teachers unions, who would rather not allow parents to have choices.

The ballot question would allow Massachusetts the flexibility to approve up to 12 new charter schools in the state's lowest performing districts regardless of current arbitrary enrollment caps. All applications would still have to go through the state's rigorous approval process, which is ranked as the toughest in the nation.

The Berkshires already have a two-tiered educational system. Whether your child is enrolled in a top tier school depends on what neighborhood you live in: Charters provide parents with equal access to a high quality public education.

Charter schools have zero impact on funding for early education. The schools are funded separately from K-12 education. That's a deliberately misleading argument.

School districts are engaged in an all-out effort to preserve control over public education. Their efforts to deny parents the choices that public charters offer are self-serving and morally wrong.

Marc Kenen, Boston The writer is executive director, Massachusetts Charter Public School Association.


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