Too many of Boston Public School students are struggling to succeed. Too few fulfill their true potential, whether measured by the state’s test of academic performance or acceptance at and success in college. Boston’s parents and our children deserve better — we deserve the power to choose. And one choice they deserve is access to public charter schools.
Public charters are the most successful school model for improving student achievement. Charter schools are public schools. They are free.
Massachusetts charters are a nationally recognized success story. They offer safe learning environments and rigorous academic programs that prepare students of all backgrounds for college and career success — the results are impressive.
In 2012, 20 charter schools ranked among the highest performing schools in the state. Many inner-city charter schools outperform even affluent suburban schools. Recent studies show Boston charters doing more to close achievement gaps than any other set of public schools in the country. A typical charter student enjoys more than 2 years of learning in each academic year, in math and reading.
“Informing the Debate: Comparing Boston’s Charter, Pilot, and Traditional Schools” – The Boston Foundation
“Charter School Performance in Massachusetts” – Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO)
More students on waitlists than in charter schools
Massachusetts boasts 81 charter schools, Boston 27. Over 32,000 students attend charter schools across the state, while another 40,000 to 50,000 languish on waiting lists. In Boston, 7,000 students attend charters, while 15,000 are waitlisted.
Let’s be clear: There were 15,000 applicants — children who were looking for an alternative — for just 1,700 available openings. That’s almost a 10:1 ratio of parent demand for seats available.
Still the state legislature is blocking charter expansion
In 2010, the state legislature and governor allowed the number of charter schools in Boston to double, so that now 18% of Boston’s students can attend a public charter school. The limit has now been reached. Why is the state legislature not allowing you a choice? Why do we allow only 18% of students to attend charters, when so many parents want more of them?
Share your view—here and with political leaders. It’s important to share your voice.
Common Myths About Charters
Truth: When students leave traditional district schools to attend charters, district schools continue to receive funding for those students even though they are no longer being educated in the district. Sending districts are reimbursed by the state for six years after a student’s departure. That is, for six years, the state provides districts with money for pupils who are no longer enrolled in district schools.
School districts do not have a right to schoolchildren, and state money intended for education should follow students, not districts.
Truth: Massachusetts charter schools outperform their school district counterparts. Two highly regarded studies show very favorable student outcomes for charter public schools in Massachusetts. A 2013 Stanford University study found that Boston charter schools are doing more to close achievement gaps than any other group of public schools in the country. Each year, the typical Boston charter student gains the equivalent of over 12 months of additional learning in reading and 13 more months in math. A 2009 Boston Foundation report found that Boston charter schools dramatically outperformed both district and pilot schools (semi-autonomous district schools created in response to charters). It found that the academic impact from a year spent in a Boston charter was comparable to that of a year in one of the city’s elite exam schools and, in middle-school math, equivalent to one-half of the achievement gap between black and white students.
Charter Schools Are Doing Better Academically Because They Cream All of the Best Kids and Send Troubled and Failing Kids Back to District Schools
Truth: As public schools, charters cannot discriminate as to whom they accept. When more students apply to attend a Massachusetts charter public school than there are seats available, charters hold lotteries to admit students, which ensures that student selection is random. Compared to public school students statewide, charter schools serve disproportionate numbers of African American, Hispanic, and low-income students—all of these groups achieve better academic outcomes in charter schools than they do in district schools.