Teachers union rips charter school proposal
By State House News Service | September 15, 2015, 12:31 EDT
Written by Michael Norton
In an expected move, the Massachusetts chapter of the American Federation of Teachers came out Monday against a proposed 2016 ballot question aimed at expanding access to charter schools and reducing lists of students waiting to get into charter schools.
AFT Massachusetts President Tom Gosnell portrayed charter schools as unaccountable to local officials and predicted the initiative petition’s passage would drain as much as $100 million per year from traditional public schools for public charter schools.
“This isn’t the right way to close the opportunity gap,” Gosnell said in a statement. “Instead, let’s focus on giving every school, every teacher, and every student in Massachusetts the tools they need to succeed. Over the past decade alone, the state has cut local aid up to 40 percent. Traditional public schools that accept all students find themselves financially swamped.”
Charter school proponents over the years have touted the academic performance of their students, the innovative delivery of education, and wait lists they say prove that public charter schools are a desirable alternative for families and represent a valuable form of school choice.
The House and Senate last session were divided over a proposal to expand charter schools in underperforming school districts. Legislative leaders this session have not yet revisited the charter school debate – the Joint Education Committee has held or scheduled hearings on most bills under its review but not charter bills.
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