Teachers Association opposes Question 2

trp-001To the Editor:

The Reading Teachers Association opposes Question 2, the ballot question that would allow the state to approve 12 new Commonwealth charter schools every year forever, eventually draining billions of dollars from our public schools and destabilizing our public education system. This year alone, public schools in Massachusetts are losing over 400 million dollars to charter schools.

We are particularly concerned that this initiative encourages charter schools to expand into areas where they currently don’t exist, taking critical resources away from successful public schools, such as those in Reading. This community would make an excellent location in which to open or expand a charter school. Our district is classified by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a Level 3 district, and it is facing significant budget cuts that will impact services next year. Coupled with Reading’s excellent commuting location and availability of commercial property, there is a real possibility that a charter school would target our community.

Cities and towns have no say over whether a charter school can be located in their communities. That decision is made by appointed state officials. Once a charter school is opened, local elected officials have no authority over the school’s operation.

That means that if a charter school acts in ways that are not in the best interests of students from the community — such as suspending students in large numbers, failing to meet students’ special education needs or pushing students back to their district schools in the middle of the school year — local residents and their elected officials have no recourse to fix those practices. Forcing local residents to support charter schools over which they have no control is undemocratic.

As of October 28, more than 205 Massachusetts school committees have taken a position against lifting the cap on charter schools, including every one of our neighboring communities. The Reading School Committee will address Question 2 at its next meeting.

Rather than approving Question 2, we should be committing the resources necessary to provide all children with the education they deserve.


Eric Goldstein
President, Reading Teachers Association

Print Friendly, PDF & Email