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More Than 80 Latino Leaders – Joined by Governor Charlie Baker -­‐ Call on State Legislature to Lift the Cap on Public Charter Schools

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 8, 2016

CONTACT:

Josiane Martinez
josiane@discoverasg.com
857-­‐222-­‐0800

Eileen O’Connor
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More Than 80 Latino Leaders – Joined by Governor Charlie Baker Call on State Legislature to Lift the Cap on Public Charter Schools

EAST BOSTON – More than 80 Latino leaders from across Massachusetts gathered today at Excel Academy in East Boston to urge immediate legislative action to lift the cap on public charter schools in the Commonwealth. Governor Baker also attended the launch event, and echoed the urgent call for a legislative solution to increasing access to public charter schools.

CLICK HERE TO READ LETTER FROM COALITION

The Latino leaders – which include state legislators, city councilors, school committee members, non-­‐profit leaders, business leaders and community activists from Boston and Gateway Cities – joined the Great Schools Massachusetts Coalition and announced a public information campaign, “Justicia en la Educación: Latinos Unidos por Escuelas Públicas Charter,” which will focus on educating Latino parents and community members about the benefits that public charter schools have provided Latino children across the state.

“Massachusetts’ public charter schools have provided kids, parents and families in our communities with a student-­‐centered approach critical to the success of children who face additional barriers to a great education,” said Governor Baker. “I am proud to join these leaders to call for raising the cap in low-­‐income communities of color so that all children, regardless of zip code, can share in this success.”

“This legislation is something that our community wants and perceives it needs – and we await the leadership of our legislators at the State House to deliver it,” said Samuel Acevedo, Executive Director of the Boston Higher Education Resource Council and Pastor of Leon de Juda church.

“Public charter schools have played an important role in improving our education system, since we went into state receivership,” said Jeovanny Rodriguez, a Lawrence City Councilor and former school committee member. “But almost 34,000 children across the state and more than a thousand children in Lawrence remain stuck on public charter school waiting lists due to the cap. It’s time for all of us to come together to lift the cap and give all children access to quality public schools.”

Latino leaders are joining the pro-­‐charter coalition because of the overwhelming demand for public charter schools in communities with large populations of Latinos, and because public charter schools have a proven track record of closing the achievement gap for Latino students and English Language Learners. In addition to gathering today to launch the public information campaign, the Latino coalition sent a letter to legislative leaders, urging them to pass a bill that provides relief for the 34,000 children stuck on waiting lists for public charter schools.

“We speak for thousands of constituents that care deeply about correcting this social injustice, and we urge you and your colleagues in the Legislature to support a bill to increase access to public charter schools across the Commonwealth,” read an excerpt of the letter. “This would enable Massachusetts to become the first state in the nation to truly level the playing field for low-­‐income students of color, and ensure that all children are afforded the basic right to a quality education.”

Almost all of the 34,000 children stuck on charter school waiting lists live in Boston and Gateway Cities, including Lawrence, Holyoke, Springfield and Chelsea – all communities with large Latino populations where traditional public schools are among the lowest performing in the state. An independent study from Stanford University’s CREDO Institute found that Massachusetts charter schools have eliminated the achievement gap between Latino students and white students statewide, and 2015 study from MIT found that English Language Learners perform “significantly better” in Boston charter schools than they do in traditional public schools.

Great Schools Massachusetts is a statewide coalition of parents, community groups, public charter schools, education advocates and business leaders who are committed to providing families with equal access to public charter schools. Nearly 34,000 children in Massachusetts remain stuck on public charter school waiting lists due to arbitrary enrollment caps. New charters are frozen in many urban districts where traditional public schools are underperforming and parents have shown a clear demand for public charter schools. Great Schools Massachusetts is committed to providing families with equal access to public charter schools, whether that happens through a ballot measure or a legislative solution.

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Via Great Schools Massachusetts.

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