Boston Teachers Union Comes out Strong Against Lifting Charter Cap

The Boston Teachers Union has come out strong against lifting the cap on charter schools.  In an email yesterday, they strongly urged their members to contact their legislators to keep the cap on charter schools.  

Their email is in response to an MBTA advertisement campaign being run by Boston 2 in 1, a project of the Pioneer Institute.  Based on research by Stanford University they are highlighting the fact that Charter School Students in Boston get the equivalent of two years of public school education in one school year.  

The header of the Teachers Union email is:

Image:Screenshot of BTU email

The opening text is:

With much-contrived hoopla in late 2011, the city signed a compact with charter schools, parochial schools, and private schools in which the schools offered to help each other out. Great concept, at least on the surface. With this breakthrough, all sorts of unkept promises were made, such as:

There’d be a “citywide culture of collaboration.”

We’d “learn by doing and sharing.”

“With the establishment of our compact, our sectors have come together to share responsibility for the students Mayor Menino calls, ‘all [his] children.’ Working together, we can.”

“As we build strong relationships between the sectors, share information and knowledge, and remove barriers, we increase the quality of education in Boston for all children.”

“We have co-designed six initiatives. They are related, complementary, and employ research-based, data-driven approaches. We hold that these initiatives are the leverage points for early and significant changes, as well as the entry points for deeper collaboration and shared accountability among the three sectors.”

Now, in concert with an MBTA ad campaign paid for by the pro-privatization, pro-charter school Pioneer Institute, the charter school association is saying this about the BPS:

“In a single school year, Boston charter school students gain 22 months and 21 months of learning in math and English language arts, respectively, compared to their Boston district peers.”

“Kids who are lucky enough to attend charters are getting more than 2 years of education in a single academic year. Right now there is a cap preventing more children from enrolling in these schools.”

Pardon us, but we fail to see the “collaboration,” the “sharing,” and the “working together.” We fail to see the love. More importantly, who holds charter folks accountable for what they do — or don’t do?

The union goes on to say that the reasons charter schools do better is that they don’t have non english speakers as students.  The data they show is for individual schools, not the charters as a whole of course.  For instance they show BPS as having 46.3% of their students who are not native English speakers.  Four of the schools on the list have much higher non-native speakers.  Here are the MCAS results for Boston Public Schools and those four schools.

Boston Public Schools – 46.3% non-native speakers

Excel Academy Charter School – 47.6% non-native speakers

Excel Academy II Charter School – 62.5%

Brooke Charter School East Boston – 64.6% non-native speakers

Match Community Day – 88% non-native speakers

All four of these schools are doing better in the associated grades than the Boston Public Schools, and all four are charters with higher percentages of non-native english speakers.  There’s an old book How to Lie with Statistics and that is exactly what the Teachers Union is doing.  

They go on to implore the teachers to contact their legislators, who for a good portion of them is probably Sonia Chang-Diaz, who is the one holding up the charter cap legislation.

We need your help!

Please tell your Massachusetts Senators and Representatives not to lift the cap on charter schools.

Contact your elected officials today and ask them to keep the cap on charter schools. Our schools are struggling financially and to allow more charter schools will drain precious resources from our schools. Budget cuts hurt kids.

Keep the cap!

Keep the cap? More like stand in the door to quality education to protect their jobs.  

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno