RE “DIVIDE over adding charter schools” (Letters, March 19):
From 1970 to 1991 I was the Massachusetts state official responsible for urban education and equity issues. Despite vigorous enforcement of the laws (including rulings in our favor by the Supreme Judicial Court) and hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding to 18 cities, we did not see significant improvement in educational outcomes for black and Latino students.
Since 1991, I have been delighted with the progress made as a result of the standards set by the Education Reform Act and of the new energies released by urban charter schools. Charter schools in Boston, Lawrence, and other cities have been showing the sort of results that we could only dream of in the 1980s. They have demonstrated that the achievement gap is not inevitable.
Of course we must be concerned also to support district public schools — my own seven children attended the Boston Public Schools — but that should not be an excuse to strangle the expansion of charter public school opportunities. I find it frustrating that so many who claim to be concerned for at-risk youth seem to care more about protecting jobs and other vested interests.