Massachusetts · School Talk

These Teachers are Proud and Happy to Block Low Income Families From Accessing Schools Like Theirs

It is hard to look at photos splashed all over social media with mostly white teachers who work in the suburbs, smiling, while they protest ensuring that more disadvantaged children get the education that they deserve–the education that these teachers would most assuredly demand for their own children.  

“But giving parents in underperforming districts more opportunity to choose a better school is nothing less than any of us would demand for our own children.– Governor Charlie Baker during his State of the Commonwealth speech

The Newton Teachers Association disagrees with the most popular Governor in America. They recently posed for photos, proudly holding “save our public schools” signs as part of a union driven initiative against lifting the charter cap this November. But Newton teachers don’t just want to prevent students who reside in Newton from attending charter schools; they are actively working to ensure that even the Baystate’s poorest children are stripped of any access to public school choice. The kind of school choice those lucky enough to live in Newton already enjoy. The kind of luck that is literally measured in feet, as Boston’s neighborhood of Brighton borders Newton.  A quick look at median home prices tells the story of a zip code where most Massachusetts residents could only dream to educate their children.


(All Information taken from

The Newton teachers work in a school system that looks like nothing like the schools in the districts where charter seats have reached their limit. I have to wonder if any of them has ever spent a day inside the schools that low income parents are trying, in droves, to escape. The Newton teachers work in a district that is well resourced and chock full of parents who will settle for nothing less than a high quality education for their children.   

Would any of these teachers be willing to send their own children to a failing school in Roxbury, or Holyoke, or Lawrence? Do they stand with Governor Charlie Baker who says it is wrong to expect any parent to send their child to a school that we don’t think is good enough for own kids? Do they stand with progressive darling Senator Elizabeth Warren who actually supports school vouchers.

The majority of the 34,000 children on charter waiting lists in Massachusetts are low income students of color. They can only dream of attending a high school like the one built in Newton just six years ago with a price tag of $197.5 million. Many of them don’t even know what it’s like to be able to bring books home or to be in a school that offers Calculus or AP classes.  And, no, it is not a question of resources.  Boston actually spends more money per-pupil on its students than Newton. It is a question of quality. The kind families in Newton already enjoy. 


What do you think?

5 thoughts on “These Teachers are Proud and Happy to Block Low Income Families From Accessing Schools Like Theirs

  1. I work in a fantastic Boston public school that is fully inclusive and served all types of students. I’m not against lifting the cap, but it in needs to be done in a reasonable manner. 12 schools a year, forever is not reasonable and will destroy public schools. Also, you can’t say you believe in social justice and also support schools with harsh discipline policies. It’s exactly the opposite of social justice.

    1. I appreciate you reading the piece! I’m with you on the harsh discipline but I think far too many people speak of what happens in certain schools without actually visiting. And as with anything, people define “harsh” differently. But certainly there are things happening in all kinds of schools that are wrong — high suspension rates are one of them, in my view. I just believe offering choice is the right thing to do…because while your school may be fantastic, many aren’t even close, especially not for poor children of color. Anyway, thanks for engaging and good luck with the start of school!

  2. Also Erika, I just checked your LinkedIn page, and it shows that you’re employed by the Blackstone Valley Prep charter school organization (something you don’t mention anywhere on your blog or in your “About Me” biography)

    I’ve yet to see a person promoting school privatization or charter school expansion that was not being paid to do so, and alas, you’re no exception.

    You should be a little more prominent with that connection, and not just describe yourself as a plucky mom who cares about education.

    Are you also paid for your Education Post pieces? Thanks to Mercedes Schneider, EdPost’s founder and editor Peter Cunningham is being paid $190,000 from arch-privatizer and L.A. real estate mogul Eli Broad to promote school privatization and charter school expansion. The facts of Peter’s salary were hard to discover, as Education Post is not listed by this name anywhere. It took school teacher and activist Mercedes Schneider a lot of on-line gumshoe work to track it down:

    Again, Peter’s being paid by Eli Broad to spout this union-busting, school privatizing tripe.

    Are you?

    Billionaire school privatizer Eli Broad gives Peter Cunningham — former P.R. man for the pro-privatization Secretary of Ed. Arne Duncan —- $12 million dollars annually to start and run a pro-privatization, and union-buting propaganda website, which Cunninhgam named “Education Post.”

    Mercedes Schneider had to do a lot of detective work to find Cunningham’s Education Post salary, as Education Post was nowhere to be found in the database of non-profit groups tax forms. This was because the Education Post tax info was actually listed in the tax forms of another, virtually unknown corporate ed reform group called “Results in Education (RIE) Foundation.

    After much on-line probing, Mercedes found out that Cunningham pulls down an annual salary of $190,700 as the top dog at Education Post.


    That which one hides (i.e. an obscene corporate ed reform-paid salary) is that of which one is ashamed.

    He (Eli Broad) who pays the piper (Cunningham) calls the tune (played by Eli’s toady Peter Cunningham).

    You can read that whole story here:

    1. I taught longer in district schools than charter schools and I haven’t been employed by Blackstone Valley Prep since 2013. I am a paid consultant for Education Post and Eli Broad is only one of their funders. I am very familiar with Mercedes Schneider. I have children in traditional district schools and a charter school. I’ve been a public charter supporter for many years, long before Ed Post existed. From 2010-2012 I was one of those rare school committee members who advocated for school choice and charter schools, publicly! I’m sorry that you do not agree with advocacy being a job for which people get paid. Perhaps you should alert AFT, NEA, Planned Parenthood, The Red Cross, and Catholic Charities.

      I just believe in good schools and I don’t care how they are governed. Outcomes for kids are the driver for me, always.

      Anyway, appreciate you visiting the blog and sharing your thoughts.

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