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Statement on Passage by the Massachusetts State Senate of Damaging Charter School Bill

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April 8, 2016

Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO of The Center for Education Reform, issued the following statement on the Massachusetts State Senate’s passage of a damaging charter school bill:

Massachusetts has produced some of the finest and most effective charter schools in the country that have been a lifeline to thousands of low-income and minority students. The state’s now 70 plus schools have provided critical options to all families whose children need more than a one-size-fits-all-education.

And yet, the State Senate continues to ignore charter success and put special interests first over the needs and demands of children and families. Last night, the Senate passed a bill that it packaged and sold as an expansion of charter school opportunities but in reality is a moratorium on more charters and gives districts more power to veto their creation.

As Marc Kenen, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Charter School Association said, the bill is “a carefully crafted moratorium on public charter schools that will prevent tens of thousands of children from having fair and equal access to high quality public schools. It also endangers existing charter schools by placing unrealistic impediments to their continued operation, and automatic trigger mechanisms to shut them down. The cap lift authorized by the bill is contingent on $1.4 billion in new education funding and would largely be erased in low-performing districts like Boston by a separate provision allowing districts to count some of their own schools against the charter cap. In addition, local school committees, which have historically opposed charter schools, would have new powers to block new charters… It is not a serious attempt to expand educational opportunities.”

As this bill masquerading as pro-charter school heads to the House for debate, it’s time that policymakers put kids first, and for citizens to hold policymakers to account.