Eagan: City kids take fall in charter school limitation battle

Date Published: 
March 13, 2014
Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan

In “Waiting for Superman,” the famous documentary about charter schools, hundreds of parents and kids wait, rapt, in a packed auditorium. They’re hoping to hear their names in a lottery and be among the chosen few to escape bad district schools for better charters.

In the real-life lottery yesterday at the City on a Hill charter in Roxbury, there were just 100 openings for 940 applicants. But not a single parent, and only one applicant, showed up.

“It’s too hard. To sit there and hear all these names and your child is not called. And that’s it, it’s over,” said Natasha Brown, 38, of Mattapan, who’s gone to the lottery twice and filled out 36 charter applications for her three children. “But no luck, not once.”

Then Brown detailed her frustration, and it was heartbreaking. A Boston public school graduate, she said she expected the district schools to “still be OK.” But her children came home with ever more upsetting stories. And now she feels trapped, unable to afford to move from Boston and unable to do her “best by my kids.”