In my life, I have not had much occasion to interact with the fabulously wealthy unless a Beacon Hill lady has stumbled into an AA meeting I’m attending. But something odd has happened in the last week where Massachusetts Twitter is being inundated by out of state Tweeters who are imploring us to #LiftTheCap on the number of charter schools.
These people are often tweeting from places where education reform has been a complete disaster like Chicago, New Orleans and New Jersey. But they are not interested in cleaning up the mess that they have made in their own backyards. They are fixated on getting more kids into more charter schools.
One gentleman in particular likened me and Boston activist Eli Gerzon to Nazis and White Supremacists, and himself to Freedom Riders in the South.
— Dmitri Mehlhorn (@DmitriMehlhorn) July 14, 2016
I believe this is really important because Freedom Riders put their own bodies on the line and faced arrests, violence from mobs, and a few of them even lost their lives fighting segregation in the south. They so believed in desegregation that they literally paid in blood.
Mr. Melhorn, a white venture capitalist, trolling Boston parents from an air conditioned room in between his social engagements in Washington D.C. believes he is a freedom rider. He is not facing mobs, or police dogs. He has no skin in the game.
So this is where I start to have a little bit of an issue. Those of us who have been working on equity in the system have given countless hours to this work. We have attended untold number of meetings, written emails, op-eds, and protests. Closer to home, we have volunteered in our schools, raising thousands of dollars for our underfunded schools, we have attended parent council meetings and parent teacher conferences. This is the price we have paid to make our schools what they are.
Are they perfect? Hell no. But Massachusetts is the highest performing state in the nation. If MA were it’s own country, it would score in the top ten for math and science. Boston Public Schools is the second highest ranking urban school district in the country.
Ten years ago, Detroit lifted its cap on the number of charter schools and since then, DPS has been completely decimated and the entire system is in chaos. DPS had problems but the problems it had were not so acute that it deserved to be destroyed. And the reformers solution made everything infinitely worse just as they have brought destruction to Chicago and Philadelphia.
Impervious to self reflection, this does not interest them. They are still donating 18 million dollars to convince Massachusetts voters to lift the cap. Because this is about demagoguery and not the real lives of children and families.
These people will bear none of the cost or consequences of lifting the cap in charter schools. Their children’s schools will not close. Their children’s schools will not lose funding. Their lives will not be disrupted. Their taxes will not fund these schools. There is literally no risk to them whatsoever.
We will be left to pick up the pieces of our disrupted school district, and they will be tweeting at the next city, going to sleep and dreaming of all of the freedom they are riding.
I storied some of the tweets coming from folks out of state: