STATEMENT BY MCPSA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MARC KENEN ON HOUSE ACTION ON LEGISLATION TO LIFT THE CAP ON CHARTER SCHOOLS

March 26, 2014
Dominic Slowey
(781) 710-0014

BOSTON, MAMARCH 26, 2014 – “Action taken today by the House of Representatives revives legislation that would lift the cap on charter public schools and provide districts with important tools to turnaround chronically underperforming district schools.

It also renews the hopes and dreams of parents and children across the Commonwealth who are seeking high quality educational opportunities for their children – whether they are in charter public or district public schools.

We are most grateful to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, his leadership team, and House Education Chair Alice Peisch for their commitment to educational equity for all children across the Commonwealth. We will continue to work with them and their colleagues in the Senate to ensure a cap lift is approved.

This issue is about educational equality for tens of thousands of mostly minority children from low-income families who are not receiving the kind of education that will put them on a path to college and success in life. Charter public schools have proven to be the state’s most successful tool to close race-and-income-based achievement gaps that rob disadvantaged children of the same opportunities that children in affluent suburban districts enjoy. Successful models of education should be embraced and expanded, not derided and smothered.

Parents across the state are clamoring for more educational options – expansion of charter public schools and reform of underperforming district schools. This legislation would benefit children in both charter and district public schools.

We will continue to advocate on behalf of the 17,000 children in Boston and the 40,000 children statewide who sit on charter wait lists to move this legislation forward to lift the cap on quality schools.”

Below are important facts to know about the charter school cap.

The legislation would have lifted the cap on charters in districts that rank in the bottom 10% academically. More than half of the 29 communities impacted are either at the cap or have room for only one more charter school. These include large cities and towns like Boston, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Chelsea, and Randolph, and several smaller communities in Central and Western Massachusetts.

  • In Boston, the number of children on charter school waiting lists represents one-third of total district enrollment (16,864 v. 55,027)
  • More than twice as many children sit on Boston charter waiting lists (16,864) than sit in Boston charter classrooms (7,645)
  • 28% of public school students in Massachusetts attend public schools in the 29 lowest performing districts; 70% of the children attending public schools in these 29 communities come from low-income families.
  • More than 29,000 children sit on charter school waiting lists in these communities

 

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