I have heard from folks who listen to the Eagan-Braude show on WTKK that Governor Patrick today was saying that he is not anti-charter. OK. Then, according to these listeners, he went on to say that his lack of urgency around raising the charter cap was a “red herring” or similar. Not OK.
The calls from the Boston Globe, Lowell Sun, and many other places to raise the cap on charters comes on the heels of a great report done by Harvard, MIT and Duke for the Boston Foundation.
Is this really the Governor’s line? He is right to say that there is a cap of 120 charter schools statewide and that we have currently 61. He is right again in saying that we have a 4 percent cap on students in public school statewide, and only 2.6 percent of students are in charters.
But he is wrong and “wronger” on the two caps that matter most:
In any given year, you have to approve 3 charter schools in poor districts before you can approve one in any other district. If you don’t have three school proposals for poor districts that can make it through the process in any given year, then no other charter can be approved. What’s the problem with that?
Well, well, you have asked a good question. There is a cap on the total district spending that can go to charter schools (9 percent). There are 152 Massachusetts communities that are at the 9 percent cap. Communities at the cap include Boston, Chelsea, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence… You get the picture.
So, where are the communities where we can grow a charter? Maybe leafy Milton and Richmond aren’t up against the cap. Yes, I think that Sweet Pea Farm is more than a stone’s throw from the closest charter.
I hope I have been misinformed about what the Governor said. If not, I hope the Governor has been misinformed by his staff. If neither, let me inform the Governor that this better not be his line of defense on charters, because it is a view as flimsy as wet cardboard before a tsunami of facts.