The Massachusetts Charter Public School Association (MCPSA) is a membership organization that serves as the voice of one of the nation’s highest-performing charter sectors. Since the Association’s founding in 2001, MCPSA has played a critical role in advocating for and creating community among the growing network of charter schools across the Commonwealth through public policy advocacy, sharing of best practices, and providing resources and services to schools.
Authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Education Reform Act of 1993, Commonwealth charter schools are independent public schools that operate under five-year charters granted by the Commonwealth’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education supports and oversees the creation and sustainability of a variety of high quality public school options, including those that innovate in the areas of instructional practice, time, resources, and technology, to ensure that all students in the Commonwealth have equitable access to a pathway to success.
Since 1996 the Massachusetts charter school initiative has grown from an initial experimental cohort of 15 charter schools serving 2,500 students to a diverse ecosystem of 70 schools serving nearly 44,000 students. In Massachusetts today, 100% of urban and 96% of suburban and rural public charter schools are ranked among the highest-performing schools in the state and the waiting list for charter school admissions includes more than 38,000 unique students.
For the past 16 years, MCPSA has played a critical role in advocating for charter schools, repeatedly defeating negative legislation, protecting the charter school funding formula, and advocating to increase the state cap on charters. The United States Department of Education has recognized the Association with National Leadership Grants three times – in 2001, 2006, and again in 2015 – to support its efforts to publish and share innovative educational models with educators across the country.
In order for all children in Massachusetts to have access to high quality public education, MCPSA is committed to building increased capacity to advocate for and support:
- Fully-funded, high quality, autonomous charter schools;
- Continued expansion of charter schools to all areas of unmet need in MA;
- Charter schools that innovate in instructional and operational practices;
- A robust, high-quality charter school accountability system;
- Implementation of adapted charter school models in district schools.
Today the Association is a robust membership organization with active support and engagement of charter school leaders, parents, community members, and other proponents of education reform in Massachusetts. Through ongoing state advocacy for charters schools with the legislature and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and technical assistance to member schools, including provision of professional development opportunities to foster the sharing and dissemination of best practices within and beyond the charter school community, MCPSA has played an essential role in building one of the highest quality charter school initiatives in the country.