Charter schools approved for Boston, Brockton and Springfield

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2016/02/23/charter-schools-approved-for-boston-brockton-and-springfield/

BOSTON – New charter schools will open in Springfield and Brockton, while charter schools in Boston and Everett will be able to add additional grades after votes by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday.

The board approved a series of recommendations from Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, authorizing the openings of the New Heights Charter School of Brockton and the Libertas Academy Charter School in Springfield along with expansions of schools in Everett and Boston. Chester said that both schools met a “high bar” with their applications and were “poised to provide a strong education for the students they will eventually serve.”

The move drew praise from Marc Kenen, founder and executive director of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association in Boston.

“The Board’s vote expands high quality educational opportunities for families in Boston, Brockton, Taunton, Randolph, Springfield, Everett, Chelsea and Revere,” Kenen said in a statement. But, he added, “these new seats may be the last in Boston unless the Legislature or the voters lift current enrollment caps.”

“Although more than 12,000 children are stranded on charter school waiting lists in Boston, and 34,000 statewide, these caps continue to deny families the right to choose the best public educational options for their children,” Kenen said. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has repeatedly urged lawmakers to allow more charter schools to open.

Opponents of raising charter limits say the publicly funded institutions drain resources from the public school districts where they’re located.

Under plans approved by the Board of Education, three K-8 Brooke charter schools in Boston’s Roslindale, Mattapan and East Boston sections will consolidate into one school and add a high school. The Neighborhood House Charter School will also add a high school to its existing pre-K-8 program.

In Everett, the Pioneer Charter School of Science will add kindergarten through grade six to its existing offerings of grades seven through twelve.

Parent representative Mary Ann Stewart and Ed Doherty of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts voted against both of the new schools and each expansion, citing concerns about the broader charter school system.

“We have gone way, way off base on the charter-school movement, to the point where we’re now on the verge of creating a separate track of public education, a separate track which is separate and unequal,” Doherty said.

In Boston, three K-8 Brooke charter schools — in Roslindale, Mattapan and East Boston — will consolidate into one school and add a high school. The Neighborhood House Charter School will also add a high school to its existing pre-K-8 program.

In Everett, the Pioneer Charter School of Science will add kindergarten through grade six to its existing offerings of grades seven through twelve.

Parent representative Mary Ann Stewart and Ed Doherty of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts voted against both of the new schools and each expansion, citing concerns about the broader charter school system.

“We have gone way, way off base on the charter school movement, to the point where we’re now on the verge of creating a separate track of public education, a separate track which is separate and unequal,” Doherty said.

Written by Katie Lannan

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