Letter to the editor: MCAS and charter schools

Students at the Advanced Math and Science Academy.
Bill Greene/Globe Staff/File 2011
Students at the Advanced Math and Science Academy.

I read your article (“Charter students score well on MCAS tests,” Sunday, Sept. 23) with great interest concerning the success of charter schools verses their local public school district.

As a former staff member to Governors Weld and Cellucci, I support charter schools and frankly have many friends who send their kids to Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School here in Marlborough.

However, in regards to your analysis of this charter school you overlooked some important facts, namely that the enrollment at this charter does not reflect the community it is located in and chartered to serve.


Specifically, in the Marlborough Public Schools 39 percent of our students are low income, at AMSA it is 5.7 percent. If you review the statistics in the student enrollment data, you will discover even wider gaps in the populations served — specifically subgroups.

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They are skimming at AMSA, and they are doing a disservice to our entire community by doing so as it perpetuates a belief our public schools are failing our motivated kids, which simply is not the case.

Furthermore, it is a disservice to the families that live in Marlborough who are struggling economically and perhaps don’t speak English as a first language that a science and math specific curriculum at our local charter school is not an option for them at this point since siblings of current students get first preference in filling spots — effectively sealing the door shut on the disparities that are so evident below.

Last year’s Marlborough High School graduating class sent kids to Brown, Notre Dame and many other tier one schools. We are able to do this in a public school district that embraces our diversity and sees it as a great benefit to our students who will have to manage an increasingly smaller world in this digital age.

Our public schools here offer a first class whole child curriculum focused on the arts and music, as well as math and science.


Please present the whole picture when you are comparing a charter to the schools in their host community – or you risk fueling the flight from our cities’ excellent schools.

Margaret Dwyer

Marlborough School