Vote no on Question 2: Save Our Public Schools

4 Aug

 

By Bob Croce, Candidate for State Rep, 13th Essex District

 
For me, there is no gray area. Plain and simple, lifting the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts is bad for our traditional public schools.

It’s bad for all of our local public school systems, and bad for an overwhelming majority of the children of the Commonwealth.

In November, voters across the state will get an opportunity to weigh in on Ballot Question 2, which would allow major expansion of charter schools in the state, schoolswhile draining billions of dollars from our traditional public schools.

I urge you to vote no.

Not because I am against the basic concept of specialized education, but because the system for charter school funding right now is broken. Any expansion would only further take away funding from traditional public schools across the Commonwealth, and place further financial hardship on public schools in Danvers, Peabody and Middleton. Our school systems will be hurt while major charter school companies—backed by Wall Street investors—reap the benefits.

Save Our Public Schools, a grassroots coalition of parents, educators and community groups opposes the ballot question, and I hope you will too.

The following points, made by Save Our Public Schools, are the heart of why I feel raising the cap would have a negative impact on public schools in Danvers, Peabody and Middleton:

Lost funding
This year alone, charters will divert more than $400 million from public schools. That’s money districts desperately need so they can offer more science, technology, arts and music classes, as well as preschool services and smaller class sizes. The money should be kept in the public schools for the benefit of all students.

No local accountability
Charter schools are not accountable to their local communities. The state often approves them over the united opposition of the communities where they will be located. That’s wrong. Local communities should have the final say on what kinds of schools they want.

For more information, please visit Save Our Public Schools at http://www.saveourschoolsmarch.org.

 

6 Responses to “Vote no on Question 2: Save Our Public Schools”

  1. Brian LaPierre August 4, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    Thank you Bob!

  2. Anonymous August 5, 2016 at 8:03 am #

    I guess from my perspective is why should towns have the monopoly over free education. You say that charters are not held accountable and I would argue that the public schools are not held accountable either. The schools mantra is that we are here for the children and not the parents. The teachers unions force a new employee to pay into an organization they may not even fully believe in but if you are a teacher you have no choice. They are not allowed to step out and do more because they want to because its not in their contract. Which as a parent with multiple children in the schools aggravates me to no end. I have watched many school committee meetings and seen how this district has basically done what they want and not really care about what the parents are truly concerned about. We have had an interment Superintendent longer over the past 5 years then a full-time one. Competition is healthy and monopolies are destructive. Public schools have gone unchallenged for too long and it has not gotten the federal government more involved in the curriculum which is a huge disservice to the public programs. Public schools should learn from what some of the charters have accomplished and how they teach. I have not seen any real innovation with our schools. It’s sad that 10 years later, I know exactly what my next child’s school work will be…Literally using the same education plan 10 years later…Anyone doing the exact same thing 10 years later in this day and age should not be teaching but again, there is no one challenging our schools to think outside the box. Yes this will hurt the school budgets but they are the ones that brought a lot of it on themselves…

    • Jon Shore August 6, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

      Anonymous,
      You do not have all the information and are misinformed. Making the Teachers Union a scapegoat neither improves the teaching our students receive, nor solves the problems of educating all of our children! Teachers contracts are MUTUAL agreements between teachers and the school committee, both parties sign-off on them. They are really agreements about working conditions. People often forget that teachers working conditions are our students learning conditions!

      The mutual District/Teacher contract is about working conditions. It prevents 40-50 students in a class, unheated classroom, books and supplies for every child. Nothing in any contract that I have worked under In 25 years of teaching has prevented what teachers do everyday in every school without being paid! I have never known 1 teacher, in 25 years, who didn’t stay after school to work with students, unpaid. Teachers show up at games and school plays when parents can’t or won’t, unpaid. Teachers chaperone dances and take kids on field trips so they can have the same life experiences as their toney suburban peers, again, unpaid. We are the people who, more often than not, provide the basic necessities out of pocket, that keep a kid in school for the day. I have never been reimbursed for all the school supplies I have bought over the years when the district claims they couldn’t afford it!

      As a teacher, being a member of a teachers union gives me the protections I need to be able to do my job. Effective teachers don’t become suddenly ineffective once they reached a certain age or have a certain number of years in the profession. Some of the best educators are seasoned educators who maintained their excellent teaching skills year after year. These fine veteran teachers need the protection afforded them by a union contract, so they can do their jobs without worrying whether they are the administrators’ pets or that the system can hire a younger teacher or uncertified, Teach for America (TFA) “corps member,” with only 5 weeks training, cheaper, because that’s what this move to charterize our public schools is really about. It’s not about “competition” it’s about transferring taxpayer money to private vendors who have no accountability to the public.

      Public schools are what made this country great and continue to make this country great by educating ALL children who show up at our school house doors. Privately run, taxpayer funded, charter schools don’t do that. They excluded Special Education and English Language Learners, and children found not to be “the right fit.” Those parents are taxpayers too!

      Are you not aware that a whole new industry has developed to profit from education? Their goal is to privatize public education with charter schools. Non-profit does not mean charity. Charter school make people big money.

      Do you know that the new privately run, publicly funded, KIPP Lynn charter school building is owned by the KIPP Foundation? Did you know that Mass Development provided a $26 million NMTC financing package to Friends of KIPP Academy Lynn (KAL) Charter School Foundation? The financing includes $17.5 million in tax-exempt bonds issued on the organization’s behalf. The Kipp Foundation used the proceeds to purchase a six-acre site in Lynn and built a 68,000-square-foot middle and high school building. Taking that land out of the City of Lynn’s tax base. The foundation charges the school rent which pays off the loan. Those are our tax dollars!

      Federal New Market Tax Credits provide a vulture hedge fund investors a 39% ROI after only 7 years! They were meant to revitalize underserved communities and Lynn could have used them for housing, health centers, business and job development to lift people out of poverty, but charter schools are an easier “vehicle” to sell. Don’t be hoodwinked! Vote NO on 2! KEEP THE CAP!

      • Anonymous August 8, 2016 at 9:40 am #

        I am not surprised that all your argument is about is protection of the teachers. This isn’t the 1920’s and there is more transparency today. Do these old buildings have heat issues at times of course, like your home and anywhere else. Peabody has the least amount of real work hours in any district I believe. With regards to class sizes, I believe parents can and do fight that cause all the time. Its called putting the responsibilities on the people that are elected. That is not the teachers unions responsibilities.

        The idea that its mutually agreed upon by the school committee and the teachers union is a joke. All the school committee members hate dealing with the negotiations…Its not mutually agreed upon in a fun way. The reality is that, as a teacher you are required to be in the union. You are required to pay dues. Just because you teach, does not mean you are pro-union. They are not something that goes hand and hand…I know at the schools my children have been at, teachers do not participate more than they need to. It is really a select few. Maybe your union contracts should require them to do so…I am sure that would never happen. I have had my children say many times they are surprised their teachers don’t go to anything. Again only the select few. This idea that teachers work all summer is garbage too. I had one say to me that they are going to take the whole month of July off and the first week of August…So 6 weeks straight and not too mention the other three full weeks and all the various holidays they are afforded. Still all about the children? If it was, why isn’t professional development going on over the summer months instead of during the school year and affecting children’s class time?

        Public schools did establish a strong America but you obviously missed my point. If you are not adapting then you are failing. Education has been stale because the unions make it difficult for school districts to do more. Every little change comes at a price. Let me tell you, I get new responsibilities thrown at me all the time and I am not renegotiating my salary etc each time. The unions are always saying its in the best interest of the children and honestly I do not see it. My parents and siblings have all been part of different unions and within all their jobs, there is no innovation or being cutting edge. Its always been what can benefit “me”…That is why America is failing.

        There was nothing in your argument about how the schools are being more innovative and cutting edge…It was just the same song and dance of why we supposedly need unions…My children don’t need unions…They need a strong education that is going to prepare them for….oh wait for it…College….Which most of the best performing institutions are private….Of course now, your union’s are trying to penetrate and corrupt those places too…

  3. Yes for Charter Schools August 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    First let’s get it straight! Public education is a failure! It’s political, not educational. Dumbing down public education and making it a money pit for political and union purposes is obvious. Who can argue? Why would (are) ordinary people pull their children out of “FREE” public education if it was working? The politicians don’t send their kids to public education any more! Meanwhile the salaries of public education teachers and administrators are exceeding our public safety employees who already make six figures salaries. The Essex County Sheriff office makes $150K with perks which is why we have 13 people running for the office. Nothing shabby about that “political” hack job! Teachers “work” perhaps 150 days a school year, counting their “professional days” while the rest of us work 200+ days,with overtime (if we are lucky), a year to support our families. What is the minimum wage for teachers anyway?

    Our kids can’t pass the “old” 10th grade level standards but still graduate from high school. Obama wants us to accept common core and Hillary wants us, the taxpayers, to continue to pay for “the High School Graduates”, to go on to further their education in a useless education system in hopes of getting a job that has been “off-loaded” to a third world hellhole that the U.S. must defend for the “American businesses” interests. Meanwhile, the connected hacks with their private education, continue to get the “coveted” public service jobs at the city, state and federal agencies.

    Vote YES on Question Two! Give our kids a chance!

  4. Al October 19, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    Bob… maybe you know… what’s Tom Walsh’s view on this?

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