|Governor Baker of Massachusetts announces his charter bill at The Brooke School.|
The Governor of Massachusetts promised to work toward lifting the state’s charter school cap and this week we learned that he has lived up to his promise. Charlie Baker, a Republican Governor, has been unequivocal about his belief that charters are an essential avenue for bringing quality schools to high need and low income students. Baker sees this as an equity issue. He’s not going to pretend that zip code has not become educational destiny and he is fighting back against that.
In his proposed bill, the state would be allowed to add up to twelve new or expanded charter schools outside the existing cap every year. Gov Baker indicated that the bill will specifically focus charter growth in the districts that fall in the bottom 25% for performance. He acknowledges that Massachusetts provides a great education and opportunity to most kids; he wants that for all the kids and families in his state.
‘‘People have asked me many times, what’s the right number of charter schools? I don’t know the answer to that, but we have 37,000 families who simply want for their kids what everybody else wants and for the most part gets here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for theirs — which is a shot at a great education and an opportunity on which to build a great future,’’ Baker said.
Not surprisingly, the usual suspects have come out against his plan. Massachusetts Teachers Association president Barbara Madeloni was quick to launch her loud claims that he’s trying to privatize the system. But everyone knows that when schools are funded with public dollars, required to administer the same state tests, and forced to comply with open meetings laws, they qualify as public schools. Madeloni is trying her darndest to protect the monopoly she represents while Governor Baker is trying his darndest to protect kids. The system is separate and unequal and he wants to change that.
Thank you Governor Baker for your leadership on behalf of the kids who most need you to lead.