A Whale Of An Education Battle Rocks New Bedford

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“[A] whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard,” reads Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby-Dick, which was famously inspired by New Bedford’s whaling industry.

In an acrimonious plot straight from Melville, New Bedford’s mayor is fighting the expansion of a high-performing K-8 charter public school named Alma del Mar (“Soul of the Sea”), located in the Whaling City.

Currently enrolling 440 students, Alma is seeking two new K-8 schools, which would serve 1,188 more pupils. This month, state officials will decide if Alma can move forward to a February final approval that would accommodate the hundreds of children on the school’s waitlist.

Charter public schools are part of the historic 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act (MERA), which has made our students globally competitive. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, MERA established charters to give poor and minority families access to higher-quality school choices the more affluent have long enjoyed. Read more on WGBH News.