Still sought after, charter schools are not a sector in decline
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the state’s landmark Education Reform Act, which helped propel our public schools to the top of the charts nationally. In addition to providing significant funding to local districts and establishing high standards, the law also created public charter schools. These schools not only have provided high-quality educational options for families across the state but have also demonstrated that all students can achieve regardless of their family’s economic circumstances.
I was, therefore, surprised by the article “Charter schools struggle amid lost momentum” (Page A1, March 8), which tied together several disparate events to weave a narrative of a sector in decline. Far from it — public charter schools are as strong as ever.
Charters in Massachusetts are well-regulated, nonprofit public schools that have promoted educational equity in our urban districts and offered innovative programs in suburban and rural schools.
The loss of the 2016 ballot initiative to lift enrollment caps on charters was certainly a political setback for charters, but it had no impact on the quality of the educational programs in their classrooms or the role charters play in furthering educational excellence in the Commonwealth.
These schools still enjoy bipartisan support among state leaders, and parents are still lining up to enroll their children.
In my view, strong principals and teachers lead to strong classrooms, strong classrooms lead to strong schools, and strong schools lead to strong communities, regardless of whether it is a traditional district or charter school. Public charter schools in Massachusetts have proved their value over the past 25 years; they should be embraced, not treated as adversaries.
The writer is House chair of the Joint Committee on Education.
Unionization efforts should not be portrayed as bad for charters
How curious that James Vaznis, in his article “Charter schools struggle amid lost momentum,” lists “multiple unionization efforts” as part of the charter school movement’s “relentlessly bad” recent news. On the contrary: Promoting the well-being of the faculty through the power of unionizing can improve these schools. A strong union presence is good news.
The writer is a retired member of the faculty of Salem State University.