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Hear Our Voices, Save Our Choices – #SaveTheChartersBmore

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Maryland borders the District of Columbia, home to countless charter schools and educational options, yet ranks an abysmal number 43 for Parent Power. The state has a weak charter law and school boards that are controlled by the unions’ interests. Despite the obstacles, the city of Baltimore has been able to open several charter schools. Parents in the city are rallying in support of the effectiveness of Baltimore’s charters — as their children’s future hangs in the balance. The highly successful KIPP Baltimore and eight other charters in the city are suing the city school district for unfair and unjust funding practices. Though charter schools traditionally do more with less, in Baltimore, the district spends 37% less annually on charter school pupils than their traditional public school counterparts. The new district funding formula will force district’s 34 charter schools to scale back because of insufficient funds. For instance, KIPP Baltimore will face $12 million in losses.

Photo@TenillePatt on Twitter

Photo @TenillePatt on Twitter

In response to the district’s dramatic shift in funding, parents, grandparents, students, teachers and administrators have taken to twitter and to the streets using #SaveTheChartersBmore. The rally in Baltimore had over 1,500 attendees and major media outlets covered the rally. SaveTheChartersBmore.com provided the matching t-shirts, and those fighting for transparency in Baltimore schools said the day had a loving atmosphere. Now, Baltimore must join the other states and cities and fight to keep and grow effective charter schools. When the district stops being accountable, it’s sad that protest becomes a necessary tool to save parents’ educational options for their kids. I hope the city of Baltimore hears the voices of the families protesting and rethinks redistributing funding away from charters — charters that are providing hope and opportunities to those who need them the most.

Emma Dodson, CER Intern

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