No on charter schools question

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To the Editor:

There are many positive things about the Island’s charter school, but Question 2 on the ballot is not a referendum on existing charter schools. There are many productive charter schools in Massachusetts, and there are many poor ones, with high suspension rates. There are many facts about charter schools which indicate a “no” vote is the right choice. Question 2 would greatly expand charter schools in our state, robbing existing public schools of many needed resources. According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, charter schools already take $400 million from public schools.

It is this potential lack of resources that is one of the reasons why the NAACP opposes charter schools, believing they create an unequal system that leaves most minorities in inferior schools.

It must also be remembered that there is no local control over charter schools. This means that parents have no local vehicle for redress of grievances. Many of the boards that govern charter schools have no educators on their board.

All studies of charter schools have shown that their academic results are no better than those of public schools, even though, according to the National Center for Special Education, they have a lower percentage of special needs students than public schools.

Many favor charter schools because they believe teachers’ unions thwart educational progress. In fact, unions foster the development of a cooperative learning environment, which develops ideas to help both teachers and students. This is substantiated by Harvard Educational Review, which found that the schools with the strongest teachers’ unions had the highest test results.

The rationales for charter schools do not hold water. Let’s not drown in a sea of privilege. Vote no on Question 2.

Stephen Power

Vineyard Haven