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Money Matters in Massachusetts… And More Charters Don’t Matter NEARLY As Much

November 5, 2016

Yesterday’s NYTimes feed on “Tests and Testing” featured an article by David Leonardt that will appear in this Sunday’s paper. In the article Mr. Leonardt describes the demonstrable and unequivocal evidence of the kind of charter school that succeeds with all students… a charter school he describes as “high expectations, high support”. He offers this article as evidence that voters should support Question #2 in Massachusetts, a proposition that calls for the lifting of a cap on charter schools. But, as I noted in a comment I left on the article, Mr. Leonardt’s analysis overlooks several points:
1 – The expansion of charters in Massachusetts does not mean the expansion of demonstrably successful “high expectations, high support” charters… it means the expansion of ALL charters, including those the “many charter schools (that) fail to live up to their promise”.
2 – The study used to “prove” that high expectations, high support” charters work doesn’t examine the cost per pupil required to provide the “high support”, which must either be higher than the public school, necessitate lower compensation for teachers and administrators who work there, or be offset by private funds that underwrite the additional services.
3 – The metric used to determine “success” is standardized tests… a narrow means of determining success and a means that can be manipulated by shedding low achieving students.
4 – MA, like every state in the union, has many “high expectations, high support” schools. They are located in the affluent suburbs that surround urban areas and exurban college towns…. and the public gladly pays high taxes to support them.

5 – Money matters, Mr. Leonardt.


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