Let me say it again. Winner gets no guarantees like Joe and Chico DeBarge. Once again, the inactivity of some powerful politicians has allowed private interests to position them as fight promoters while putting their money on fighters in local elections in Roxbury, Cambridge, on TV during NFL football, radio, everywhere but in the classrooms.
The fight around question 2 is just shy of an exercise in futility. Now, I could get Neil Degrasse Tyson on you but I’m going to keep it simple because so many experts complicate it. A few facts.
The current formula that helps fund charter schools takes dollars from the BPS budget.
Most charter schools open in poor communities of color where schools are under performing and have been under performing.
Not enough has been done to keep the schools from under performing. See 1980s, 90s, 2000s, to today. Put that on whoever you like, politicians, teachers unions, parents, the case can be made. I’m not saying it’s right, but one can be made. You’ve heard them all.
Charters have been cleverly marketed as an alternative equalling quality schools.
Charters schools do not guarantee quality, even as they brag about how there is a waiting list. Sometimes there’s a line at McDonald’s but that doesn’t mean it’s for the high quality they are serving right ? Just hungry customers.
So, parents want what’s best for their children. Or at least what they believe to be best. So when staring at the choices of a lottery pick that will win their child a seat in a long time under performing school or the idea of a charter school that might give them 1 more shot at quality for their child, it may look appealing. How could it not ?
The catch. The charter school pays teachers less. You might see that as good or bad depending on your perspective. Their suspension rates in inner city areas and communities of color are definitely something to question. They do not do much to serve children with special needs. But they seem to be receiving alot of money from large corporate donors. You be the judge.
Full disclosure: as a Rep, I voted in 2011/12 to allow more (limited) charter schools with the idea to add some choice while we leveled the field with funding.
Now, 4 years later it is a ballot question. Because funding wasn’t fixed on Beacon Hill. Instead parents take time out of their day to fight other parents for the best shot at a chance for a high quality education for their child/ren. They either want to protect their child’s chances in BPS, especially if their child has special needs. Maybe even protect the majority of students which will remain at BPS as they are already short on resources, crowded classrooms and under performing.
Or maybe they want to protect their most valuable possession by getting more choice for their child/ren by supporting the expansion of charter schools. Maybe they’ve had enough of the BPS shortcomings and are unwilling to risk it but can look the other way about the funding and other issues. Because let’s face it. Parents love their children like no others. Understandable.
In the end it’s parent vs. parent all for neither getting the guarantee of a high quality education for their offspring. As if parents don’t have enough to deal with in this city. On November 9th, the day after, maybe we will get back to improving the schools (BPS & charter) that children are already attending.
Everyone else has skin in the game, teachers and their unions, corporations, elected officials funded by these corporate interest groups, elected officials funded by unions, advocates, but the parents, parents are all in ! They deserve better. And so do their children.