FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:     

July 14, 2016                              

 

Great Schools Massachusetts Launches Statewide Ballot Campaign in Support of Question 2

Governor Baker and Democratic leaders join parents and community leaders to rally in support of Question 2, giving families fair access to public charter schools

Boston, MA – Earlier today, a bipartisan group of parents, educators, community leaders, elected officials, education advocates, business community leaders, and other advocates for public charter schools formally launched a ballot campaign to bring fair access to public charter schools to thousands of students in the Commonwealth.

Yes on 2 Campaign website: www.yeson2ma.com

Members of the Great Schools Massachusetts coalition were joined by Governor Charlie Baker and Senator Michael Rodrigues in urging residents to vote “Yes on 2” to give families, particularly those stuck in underperforming school districts, fair access to Massachusetts’ best-in-the-nation public charter schools.

“Closing the achievement gap and ensuring a quality education for all of the Commonwealth’s students is one of my top priorities,” said Governor Baker. “And charter schools, which are producing great academic outcomes, are one of many tools that must be part of the solution.”

“Public charter schools have helped to close the achievement gap by providing kids with longer school days, more personal attention, and outstanding results,” said Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport). “Lifting the cap, and providing more kids with the quality public education they deserve, isn’t about politics – it’s about what’s best for children.”

Massachusetts is home to the best charter schools in the nation, with a proven, 20-year track record of closing the achievement gap in underperforming school districts. But today, almost 33,000 children are stuck on waiting lists to attend public charter schools in Massachusetts because of an arbitrary and outdated cap on enrollment.

“The cap on public charter schools is denying my son the opportunity to continue in a school that he loves, said Dawn Foye, a KIPP Boston parent. “For 33,000 kids in Massachusetts, it’s denying them the future they deserve. Today marks a special day in our fight for justice as we take this issue directly to voters.” KIPP is currently K-8, but is unable to add a high school because of the cap on public charter schools.

Passing Question 2 in November would enable the state Board of Education to approve a modest increase in new charter schools or expansions per year, with preference given to schools in the lowest 25% performing districts, where public charter schools are in high demand from parents. New public charter schools would continue to be subjected to the rigorous approval and accountability processes that have made Massachusetts home to the nation’s best public charter schools.

Public polling on the question has consistently found that voters favor expanding access to public charter schools because they provide high-quality options to parents, especially those that live in communities where the district schools are underperforming. A Boston Globe poll published in May found that voter support the question 56%-32%, with 12% undecided.

Great Schools Massachusetts is a statewide coalition of parents, community groups, public charter schools, education advocates and members of the business community committed to providing families with equal access to public charter schools. Nearly 33,000 children in Massachusetts remain stuck on public charter school waiting lists due to arbitrary enrollment caps, particularly in urban districts where traditional public schools are underperforming. Great Schools Massachusetts is committed to providing families with equal access to public charter schools.

###

CONTACT: Eileen O’Connor, 617-806-6999eileen@keyserpublicstrategies.com