Massachusetts Democratic Committee Votes No on 2!

Thanks to the Massachusetts Democratic Committee for passing the following resolution overwhelmingly on Tuesday, August 17. Here’s the text of the resolution:

Democratic State Committee Resolution Regarding Question 2

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Democratic Party platform states that “Massachusetts Democrats are committed to investing in public education”; and

WHEREAS, the national Democratic Party platform states that charter schools “should not replace or destabilize traditional public schools”; and

WHEREAS, more than $400 million in taxpayer money was diverted to charter schools statewide last year from local school districts, forcing cuts to programs that families and students value; and

WHEREAS, charter schools typically serve far fewer special needs students, English language learners and economically disadvantaged students than the traditional public school districts they are located in and use hyper-disciplinary policies and suspensions for minor infractions to push out students; and

WHEREAS, charter schools use public funds, but local communities and their school committees have no control over their design, approval, operation or renewal; and

WHEREAS, Question 2 on the November 2016 ballot would allow the state to approve 12 new charters schools a year, every year, forever, with no limit on how much money a single district could lose; and

WHEREAS, this would nearly triple the number of charter schools in just ten years and take away more than $1 billion a year from our local public schools within several years; and

WHEREAS, the Question 2 campaign is funded and governed by hidden money provided by Wall Street executives and hedge fund managers; and

WHEREAS, the unfettered expansion of charter schools, at the expense of local district public schools, that would occur if Question 2 passes is clearly at odds with the national and state party platforms, and would lead Massachusetts in the wrong direction;

THEREFORE, let it be resolved that the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee opposes Question 2

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Update: State Overestimates Charter School Waitlist Numbers, Again

empty-314554_960_720August 3, 2016 — How many students are on waitlists for charter schools this year?

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says 32,600 in the headline of its press release.

But DESE’s own report (linked from http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/enrollment/fy2017Waitlist.html) gives 23,601 as the number of students who applied to charter schools this year and did not get seats.

It’s clear from the report that even this figure is much higher than the actual number relevant to any discussion about the charter school ballot question, probably several thousand too high.

What’s more, DESE apparently has the data needed to tabulate the true number, but has not released it.

Rolled Over, Not Rolled Over, Partly Rolled Over

DESE’s release is headlined “State Estimates 32,600 Students Remain on Charter School Waitlists.” That’s the number news media used.

But a spreadsheet in the report gives 23,601 as the number who applied this year and didn’t get in, for both Horace Mann and Commonwealth charters.   → Read More

Get the Facts on Charter Schools in Massachusetts!

CPS has a new, detailed and downloadable fact sheet (with references) about charter schools in Massachusetts. It includes solid information about charters’ impact on local school budgets, who is included and who is excluded, waitlist numbers, and discipline practices. Click HERE to read and download and then share the information with your friends, neighbors and elected representatives!   → Read More

Charter School Waitlist Claims Greatly Exaggerated, CPS Analysis Reveals

Charter school promoters are making vastly exaggerated claims about students “trapped on waiting lists” in their campaign to lift the cap on charter schools, a Citizens for Public Schools analysis shows.

Charter school promoters say the waitlists show high demand for charter seats that cannot be met without lifting the caps on how much public funding can be diverted from district schools to charter schools.

But a CPS analysis of state data suggests the number affected by the cap is less than 15,000, probably thousands less. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) confusing and opaque reporting system makes it impossible to be precise, but CPS found:

  • The waitlist count includes schools that are not Commonwealth charter schools and would not be affected if the cap were lifted.
  • Of the students on waitlists for Commonwealth charter schools, many were taken from old lists, rolled over from past years with permission from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), even after state Auditor Suzanne Bump warned DESE against this practice.
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Join us in a Week of Action to #KeepTheCap on Charters

Help us spread the #keepthecap message next week!

CPS is proud to participate with the Save Our Public Schools campaign in a Week of Action from June 6 to 10.  Each day of the week, we’ll support public schools for all and oppose efforts to lift the cap on charter schools. Here are some ways to get involved:

Monday, June 6: Keep It Local 

Highlight the importance of local control. More than 50 communities are on record in opposition to a charter cap lift. Is your school committee one of them? If yes, say thank you. If not, ask them to get on board. Click here for a list of communities that have passed resolutions. Here’s a sample resolution.

Tuesday, June 7: Stick to Public Schools (Sticker Day) 

Wear a “Save Our Public Schools” sticker, hold a sign, take a selfie and post. 

Get your creative juices flowing! Use whatever you have on hand to spread the #keepthecap message during the Week of Action and beyond.    → Read More