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Letter to the editor: The charter school debate from the eyes of a student

Date Published: August 22, 2019

Author: Lindsay Haigh

To the editor:

If you were a Massachusetts resident of voting age in 2016, you may remember the fierce debate surrounding Question 2 on the ballot.

The massively opposed question addressed whether or not the state should lift the charter school spending cap and approve of twelve new charter schools per year. As a public charter school freshman, I was surrounded by a community that strongly supported Question 2. We had seen first hand the benefits of an independently run system, including an abundance of cultural diversity and the ability to specialize in certain subject areas (my school specializes in STEM). I was taken by surprise when my philosophy teacher told my class that while out to eat with his family, a woman, after seeing the charter school logo on his shirt, approached him and accused him of stealing funding from public education. This misinterpretation was the main reason for the widespread protest of Question 2.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Education, when a student from a public school district transfers to a charter school, the school district receives a partial reimbursement from the state.

The school district is getting paid for the student they no longer have to educate, which saves public schools money in the long run.

Statewide, there are over 32,000 children on charter school waiting lists. Question 2 was a missed opportunity to decrease the number and allow for more choice in schooling.

Lindsay Haigh