Opposition to the RiseAct gives Truth to the Lie that Education Reformers care about our kids. The state education committee revealed a new bill that would allow for more charters.
If you know me, you might be a little surprised that I’m supporting a bill that creates more charter seats. I am against expanding the charter schools because opening up more charters results in public schools having to close in order to remain financially solvent.
So why am I so interested in this bill? Because raising the number of charter seats would be tied to the legislature funding the charter school reimbursements every year.
This is important. Legally, school districts are entitled to that funding already, and the legislature should be funding this now. But they never do. This year, the reimbursement is underfunded by about 10 million. Our special education programs are currently slated to be cut by 5 million dollars so this funding would be tremendous for Boston if we actually received it. This proposal would get both district and charter schools on the same page in making sure that the reimbursements were funded.
But the proposal has been met by loud howls on both sides which makes me wonder who is really standing up for our kids?
The teachers union is against any raise in the cap but they are risking losing to a truly devastating ballot question in November that would effectively remove the cap altogether for Boston.
The bill also includes some much needed reform of the charter industry requiring parent participation on their boards and more transparency. The charter industry responded with much ballyhooing stating that they would be “shackled” by these new reforms. But if their scores are based on real educational pedagogy and not smoke and mirrors, a little transparency shouldn’t hurt their success at all. I would think that they would welcome the transparency in order to demonstrate that their education model isn’t a shell game.
I still have hope that adults will put aside their agendas and really take a look at what is in the thoughtful bill. If we are truly for the success of every child in the district then we need to craft legislation that helps all of our kids.