Todd Taylor (R-Chelsea), a small business owner and candidate for the 16th Suffolk district special election on April 1, 2014, has two children in a high performing charter school. As a resident of Chelsea he understands the need for charter schools as a counterpoint to public schools. That is why he is going to fight on Beacon Hill to lift the cap completely for Charter School systems that have proven they are helping children succeed.
Here is what he said at his kickoff last week.
I’m not just in this race, though, as a concerned citizen or a frustrated businessman. Perhaps most importantly, my wife Regina and I are in this race as the parents of our two beautiful children, Alanna and Finn. Alanna was fortunate enough to be chosen by lottery for a place at the East Boston Brooke School. She has had a fantastic experience there – not only has she done very well academically, but their approach to discipline has also served her well.
Three out of every four students at the Brooke School come from homes where a language other than English is spoken, and despite this challenge, their test scores are among the highest in the state. Being a public charter school, they have more ability to experiment with new and innovative teaching methods, class structures, and parental participation – but what they don’t have the ability to do is to expand. Currently The Brooke Schools would like to open a High School to serve the students in their current elementary schools in East Boston, Mattapan, and Roslindale.
As our world becomes more interconnected, it’s ever more crucial to ensure that all of our children have access to high-quality education such as what’s on offer at the Brooke School. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not claiming that charter schools will solve every problem; indeed, there are plenty of poor performing charter schools as there are public schools that excel. We need to encourage our public schools to improve by lifting the cap, not on all charter schools, but only those who have a proven track record. Those people who have demonstrated their ability to provide superior education for our children should not only be allowed, but encouraged to do so.
Now, what’s worked so well for Alanna and her classmates might not work for your child. But as an elected official, I’ll work to promote policies, such as lifting the cap on proven charter schools, that allow more of us to have the ability to make meaningful choices about what works best for our children, and I’ll fight tooth-and-nail against schemes like Common Core, with its less-rigorous curricula and its one-size-fits-all approach that fails to take local needs into account.