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No evidence for lifting charter school cap

SOME OF those who testified at the State House on Oct. 13 would have you believe charter schools retain and educate all children (“Walsh hits Baker plan on schools,” Metro, Oct. 14). This is demonstrably false. A quick check of the state’s own website will tell you otherwise. Let’s take the MATCH Public Charter School in Boston.

Its high school has 6.4 percent English-language learners (ELL). Compared to the state’s 8.0 percent average that looks acceptable. But MATCH draws from Boston, and Boston’s ELL rate is 28.5 percent. While MATCH’s special education rates appear equal to Boston’s (17.2 percent and 18.6 percent, respectively), keep in mind that the BPS educates very many students with severe emotional and/or physical handicaps.

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Even worse, only 73 percent of MATCH’s freshmen make it to senior year. Not only does MATCH lose students, it does not replace them from the much-heralded charter school wait list. How can we honestly say MATCH is a success when it starts out with an easier and less expensive student population, can’t keep those it has, and doesn’t fill empty seats?

Far from lifting or keeping the cap, we ought to close those charter schools that aren’t living up to their original goal of finding innovative ways to educate students. There is nothing innovative about skimming and draining students.

Michael J. Maguire
Executive Board
Boston Teachers Union