Welcome to Massachusetts, Secretary Duncan!

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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is in town this Thursday for an event at the Museum of Science and what is likely to be an announcement from Governor Patrick that he is seeking to lift the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts in order to access the Race to the Top funding.

Still lack of clarity on the proposal, but it seems to be looking like no quotas on specific populations and a proposed increase in the net district spending on charters from 9% to 14%. Given the reputation Massachusetts has gained over the past few years (en bref, they’re not welcoming to new charters!), this is not enough. To get KIPP and other national, proven players to declare Massachusetts fertile ground once again, we will need to raise the cap to 20% or more of net spending in poorly performing districts.

Why? These folks want the effort of coming here to be worthwhile. To do all the fundraising for 1 or 2 schools does not make sense. They want 5, even 10, schools. And they would be able to address some of our most challenged schools. We should want them.

We hope Secretary Duncan sees that but expect the Museum of Science affair to be a pleasant one. Especially for Secretary Duncan who right now probably prefers traveling across the country to being back in DC. Seems that a majority of the DC City Council has taken off the gloves and seeks a fight to save the Opportunity Scholarship Program from closure by Congress and the Department of Education.

The letter signed by city councilors Yvette Alexander, Marion Barry, Muriel Bowser, Kwame Brown, Michael Brown, David A. Catania, and Henry Thomas Jr. calls the decision by Congress and the US Department of Ed

grossly unfair and completely injurious to the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the families involved.

Those are fighting words for an administration whose message is hope and change.