Charter school hopefuls keep faith despite odds

On a Thursday night in March, a crowd gathered at Lowell Community Charter Public School to play a game of chance.

The event had the look of an after-school bingo night: a man pulled numbered balls out of a rotating metal cage while parents and children waited with anticipation, hoping to hit the jackpot.

But in this case, there was no cash prize. Instead, the numbers would dictate the fate of students looking for a coveted placement at the popular school. With more applicants than space available, a lottery is held annually to determine who gets in, and who is left out.

Read Globe article here

New charter schools bill faces long odds

The Senate legislation attempts to bridge the yawning divide on the issue by giving advocates the green light for more charter schools in Boston and other low-performing districts, while giving critics tighter restrictions on how charter schools operate across the state

Within a few hours of the legislation’s unveiling, Baker, a Republican who strongly supports charter schools, issued a statement opposing the bill because it doesn’t do enough to expand charters in the state. “The proposal offers no relief to 34,000 students currently on a waiting list to access high-performing public charter schools,” he said.  Read Globe story here. 

Senate charter school bill falls short

Give the state Senate credit for trying. In a last-ditch effort to avert a bitter November referendum to increase the number of charter schools in Massachusetts, senators unveiled a multipart plan on Thursday that would raise the limit on charter schools under certain circumstances, while also imposing a slew of other requirements on some of the state’s most successful educators. While the legislation may have been the best the Senate could produce, the conditions attached to raising the cap are too onerous and, in some respects, may even be counterproductive. Unless dramatically different legislation emerges, charter advocates should go ahead with their referendum plan so that voters can get a chance to meet the clear demand for additional seats at charter schools.  Read Boston Globe editorial here.