With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, October 28, 2016

New study provides more good reasons to vote NO on 2 in Massachusetts

On Tuesday, voters in Massachusetts will decide whether or not to lift the cap on their state's privately-run charter schools. I hope they will consider the findings in a newly-released study done by Michael Robinson, who describes himself as a concerned parent, taxpayer, and private citizen, and vote NO on Question 2.

Like Mr. Robinson, who has children of his own with disabilities, this issue is more than academic for me, both as an educator and grandparent of a Chicago student with disabilities. The unconstrained expansion of charters has not only drained badly-needed resources from our city's public schools, it has led to further segregation of special-needs and disabled students and less than adequate services delivered to those students within the charters themselves. 

Robinson's study confirms a pile of anecdotal evidence showing that MA charter schools underserve students with disabilities and attempt to improve standardized test performance by using discipline (especially suspensions) as a punitive lever, which many of these schools use to encourage attrition for this resource-intensive population.

This new report on Massachusetts charters, released today, found "91.3% of districts with highest discipline rates for special education students are charter schools" and 25% of charters have no full-time special educators.

The movement against raising the charter cap is growing. Recent polls show the ballot measure failing by 11 points overall, with Democrats opposing it 64 to 30%.

A VOTE NO rally is planned for Nov. 1 in Dorchester at 6:30 PM. Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, NAACP New England Area Conference President Juan Cofield, and more will be speaking.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has joined Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in opposition to Question 2. In so doing, she echoes the national Democratic Party's 2016 platform which has a strong plank on public education, including this statement:
Charter schools must reflect their communities, and thus must accept and retain proportionate numbers of students of color, students with disabilities and English Language Learners in relation to their neighborhood public schools. 
As Robinson's study shows, they don't.


  1. Hi Mike, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for getting the message out about my report on your excellent blog post.

    It means a lot to me that people take time to understand this issue and these important factors.

    Thanks again, Mike

  2. Great job, Michael Robinson. Keep it coming. Vote No on #2


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