Clash of the opinions: No on Question 2

Voting “yes” on Question 2 will approve up to 12 new charter schools or expand enrollments, and taxpayers just can’t afford to do that.

Within one year, charter schools take away more than $400 million dollars from public schools. But aren’t charter schools public schools?

Technically, yes.

Theoretically, no.

Despite being categorized as public schools, charter schools are privately-run and there is no teacher’s union allowed. This in itself is extremely problematic since with no union, teachers can be let go at any point without cause, leading to a higher turn-over rate.

Charter schools are tempting to parents. They offer longer school days, smaller classrooms and another option for schooling, especially in already failing districts. Why would you send your child to the local public school when they could attend a charter school that seems to be so much better?

The problem is not everybody can afford to send their child to charter schools. If your child is in a school district that is underfunded and they can’t get the education they need, it’s understandable to think about what is best for your child.

However, if the charter school you want to send your child to is in the next town, you have to drive them to school. If it’s in your town, then legally the public school buses have to transport charter school students. If the charter schools have the longer hours that they are constantly boasting about, more taxpayer money will have to be spent to bus them during times public schools aren’t open.

If this law is passed, then more money will be taken out of those taxpayer’s dollars, whether their child attends a charter school or not.

Additionally, if public schools aren’t up to par, then why would increasing the number of charter schools make a difference?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to take that $400 million a year and invest in the public schools already in place?

Wouldn’t it be easier to fix a problem rather than ignoring it and funding privately-run schools?

If this law is approved the number of charter schools in Massachusetts will nearly triple within 10 years, costing public school districts more than $1 billion a year. It will cripple the public school system and lead to the privatization of the educational system.

Although they cannot turn away students and selection is based off of a lottery system, there simply isn’t the necessary support for students with special needs.

According to a 2014 article by the New York Daily News, a whopping 80 percent of special-needs students who enroll in charter schools as kindergartners leave by the third grade. As charter schools celebrate their high test scores – the students who need the most help are consistently absent from their classrooms.

Massachusetts’s largest teachers’ union also released a report in 2009 about Boston’s charter schools, claiming high attrition rates and low enrollment of students English language learners and low-income students and students with special needs. 

Additionally, the special needs students who are enrolled are wealthier and less severe disabilities.

Public schools by law have to serve all students, regardless of their academic, emotional, or economic situation. Charter schools simply do not.

Although charter schools can most certainly be helpful to some students, that does not validate the need for up to 12 new schools a year, taking $1 billion away from school districts that could use that money.

If you truly want what is best for the Commonwealth and its students, then vote “No” on Question 2.