LYNN — In a game where they scored in the first minute of action, the KIPP Panthers held on for 69 minutes to defeat Match Charter School, 1-0, at Manning Field on Monday afternoon.

“That is the complete opposite way that we usually start games,” said KIPP coach Zach Trotsky, whose team has gotten off to slow starts all year. “So just seeing that they came out here and executed what we’ve been working on in practice was great to see.”

The goal came right off the opening kickoff for the Panthers. After Match took control of the ball to start the game, KIPP senior defender Manny Ortega swooped in for a steal. He then sent a perfect through-pass to a waiting Drannel Sawak, and the sophomore midfielder went on to blast it past the goalkeeper to give the Panthers the lead.

“It was a textbook play really,” said Trotsky. “Great execution on the steal and the pass, and the goal was a thing of beauty.”

From there, it was all about defense and ball possession for KIPP. The Panthers limited Match to only a few shots on goal for the rest of the first half, which were all stopped by the goalkeeper duo of senior Jordanny Delgado and sophomore Chris Rodriguez. Read more here.

Item photo by Katie Morrison.
Article by Mike Alongi

Charter school expansion is about equality in Massachusetts

By Henry M. Thomas III

Massachusetts is one of the most affluent states in the nation. Our public school system is among the best. Yet when it comes to our urban areas, we are falling short of ensuring every child in the Commonwealth has fair access to a quality public education.

Into this opportunity void steps our state’s public charter schools, which are at the heart of ballot Question 2 this fall. Charter Schools are among the most important tools we have to lift up low-income children of color. Where traditional district schools across the country enroll about 16% black students, our children account for more than 1-in-4 students at charter schools.

According to Stanford University, black students learn more when they attend charter schools – gaining the equivalent of 14 extra days of learning in reading and math every year compared with black students in traditional district schools. Here in Massachusetts, public charters are the best in the country, giving students longer school days, more personal attention, and hundreds of additional hours in the classroom each year.

And consider: in a state that is more than 70% white with over 400 school districts, nearly 9-in-10 low-income children of color live in just 17 communities in Massachusetts – cities like Boston, Lawrence and my hometown, Springfield where over 80% of the public school children are black or Hispanic and 90% are low income. Fewer than half of the students in these 17 communities can read or do math at grade level. High school graduation rates in these places trail state averages by 16 points.

Read more here. 

The cost of the charter school cap. Evidence shows low-income, urban students pay the price

IN NOVEMBER, VOTERS in Massachusetts will decide whether to raise the cap on charter school enrollment. The irony is that for most voters—those living in suburban and rural communities with charter enrollment far below the current cap—the vote is inconsequential. The charter cap applies to the percentage each school district’s spending which can be sent to charter schools and most communities remain far below the cap. However, for many parents living in communities which are bumping up against the current cap—cities such as Boston, Holyoke, Chelsea and Lawrencethe stakes are very high. In November, their fellow citizens will determine their children’s future educational options.

Students at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Boston.

Students at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Boston.

So, the question is, should voters statewide limit the educational choices of parents in low-income, urban communities? And, if so, on what basis might they do so? For instance, is there any evidence that parents are being misled, that charter schools are actually diminishing rather than improving their children’s achievement? Is there any evidence that charter schools are discriminating against English language learners or special education students? Are charter schools really undercutting district schools financially?

Read more here.

‘It’s Heartbreaking’: Boston Parents Ask Why Their Wealthy Neighbors Are Fighting Charter Schools

Boston, Massachusetts.

What’s the matter with Newton?

That’s what Dawn Tillman wants to know. Why would her neighbors in the hyper-upscale Boston suburb of Newton, located just eight miles to the west, deny a KIPP charter high school to a kid in hyper-downscale Roxbury, where she lives?

Not just any kid. Tillman is thinking of her son, Brandon, who currently attends a KIPP middle school but faces dicey prospects for high school. KIPP could quickly expand its current middle school into a high school, but the current cap on charter schools prevents that.

Oddly, the question on the Massachusetts November 8 ballot to raise the current cap on charter schools — Should charter schools be allowed to expand by 12 a year? — will be decided by white suburban voters in places such as Newton, which lacks a single charter school “threatening” its budget.

At first, it appeared logical that suburbs such as Newton would support lifting the charter cap. This is where Boston’s business class lives, historically wary of unions and always hopeful for a better-educated state. Many of the top business leaders in Boston, those funding the lift-the-cap ads running on TV, live in suburbs like Newton.

 Read more here.