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?

Over the past seven years, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has worked with university-based researchers to examine the track record of charter schools in Massachusetts. Below, I summarize that evidence in light of the four primary concerns voiced by charter school critics:   (Go here for a list of studies.)

Concern 1: “High-achieving charter schools are just selecting better students and dismissing those who can’t meet their standards. They are not actually raising student achievement.”

At least in Boston and Lynn, we now know that the higher achievement of the oversubscribed charter schools is not simply due to selective recruitment and retention. When schools hold admission lotteries—as required by state law when charter schools have more applicants than slots available— they conduct the equivalent of a randomized controlled trial. At the time of the admission lottery, those applicants who are offered a slot at a charter school and those who are denied are indistinguishable; they have the same prior achievement, parental engagement, and motivation. Yet, when I and a group of researchers from Harvard, MIT, Duke and the University of Michigan subsequently tracked down the admission lottery winners, and compared their outcomes to the lottery losers, we found large differences in achievement.  (We counted all those offered admission at a charter school against the charter school ledger, whether they actually attended or subsequently dropped out. So our results were not driven by selection in recruitment or retention.)

Our evidence suggests that the oversubscribed charter schools in Boston and Lynn are having large, positive, causal impacts on student achievement. Moreover, the magnitude of those impacts is striking: Oversubscribed charter schools in the Boston area are closing roughly one-third of the black-white achievement gap in math and about one-fifth of the achievement gap in English—in a single school year!

Fifty years ago, as mandated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a group of sociologists led by James Coleman documented large differences in academic achievement by race, ethnicity, and income in the United States. In Coleman’s results, family background explained a larger share of the variation in student outcomes than schools. Many took Coleman’s findings as implying that schools alone would never close the achievement gap, without dramatic societal changes, requiring transforming neighborhoods and family structure.  A series of failed education reform efforts over the past 50 years seemed to confirm that conclusion. Therefore, the finding that a group of charter schools in the Boston area is closing a substantial portion of the achievement gap each school year is not just good news for many Boston families; it is historically important. The fact that the finding was based on the equivalent of a randomized clinical trial—the “gold standard” of research designs—makes it all the more noteworthy.

Readers should be careful not to conflate the national debate over charter schools with the local one. The Boston charter schools truly are a cut above charter schools nationally. For instance, in 2013 and 2015, researchers at Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) compared the effects of charter schools across roughly half of the US states. They concluded, “the average growth rate of Boston charter students in math and reading is the largest CREDO has seen in any city or state thus far.”  [italics added]

teacherlessons2-ashx____imgx

Thomas J. Kane

Concern 2: “Charter schools do not accept their share of English language learners and special education students.”

Charter schools in Massachusetts have always been prohibited—as a matter of state and federal law—from discriminating against students with special needs or English language learners. Nevertheless, students with special needs and English language learners were underrepresented in charter schools for many years.  As a result, the last time the state raised the cap on charter enrollment, in 2010, the legislation required charter schools to submit plans to actively recruit students with special needs and English language learners. Moreover, the legislation required the state board to consider schools’ success in recruiting and retaining students with disabilities and English language learners when renewing a charter schools right to stay open.

The new law seems to have worked. A recent dissertation by Elizabeth Setren, a graduate student at MIT, documents that the proportion of charter applicants in Boston who are English learners and special education students is now similar to the average for Boston Public Schools. Moreover, just as they do for other students, the oversubscribed charter schools are having large positive impacts on the academic achievement of English language learners and special education students.

Concern 3: “The charter schools are undermining the traditional public schools financially.”      

Critics of charter schools argue that they are undermining the financial health of public school districts, because tuition payments for charter schools are deducted from the state’s aid to local districts.   However, that’s only part of the story. When a student leaves a district school to attend a charter school, the district is also relieved of the cost of educating that student. The school district will see a reduction in state aid, but they also have fewer students to teach.

Nevertheless, when students leave to attend charter schools, the state does not cut its aid immediately.   The state law recognizes that district schools have commitments regarding staffing and facilities which are difficult to adjust quickly when demand declines. Therefore, the state law seeks to soften the transition, by paying both the district and the charter school for the first year after a student has left and by continuing to reimburse the district for one quarter of the students’ cost for the subsequent five years. In other words, taxpayers pay twice for the student in the year of the transfer and one and a quarter times for each of the subsequent five years.

Until two years ago, the state appropriated all the necessary funds to reimburse districts for such transition costs. However, in the most recent two fiscal years, the state covered only about two-thirds of the cost of those reimbursements.

When students choose to attend charter schools, a school district suffers a loss in enrollment, analogous to having its geographic boundaries redrawn. However, it maintains the same property values and ability to raise revenue as before. Eventually, a school district must right-size its staffing and facilities to reflect its smaller size. But successful districts come in all sizes. Once the adjustment is made, there’s no reason to believe that the school district will be any less viable.

For instance, Newton and Wellesley have similar average residential property values (the main source of local tax revenues), but Newton public schools have roughly twice the total enrollment.  Are the students in Newton better off than those in Wellesley because the Newton school district has double the number of students? On one hand, having fewer students makes it harder to spread the cost of a math curriculum expert across the district. On the other hand, the difficulty of managing a district increases exponentially with its size.

If a school district fails to make adjustments in the face of rising charter school enrollment, and it keeps the same number of staff and facilities despite having fewer students, it will pay a double penalty:  Because charter school tuition payments are pegged to a district’s average spending per student, a school district’s charter payments rise when costs per student rise.

In the short run, districts which have seen declining enrollment such as Boston face some difficult choices. Unfortunately, the City of Boston’s budget policy has allowed the Boston school district to postpone the hard decisions, making the adjustment all the more difficult. State aid for education is a line item on the city’s budget, not the district’s budget. When more of Boston’s students switch to charter schools (and state aid declines), it does not automatically lead to a reduction in the school district’s budget—unless the city explicitly cuts the school district budget. In fact, the city has done just the opposite.  According to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, the school district’s budget grew by 25 percent between 2011 and 2016, despite a 4 percent decline in enrollment.  Ironically, the primary effect of the city’s revenue loss from rising charter payments may have been to slow the growth in expenditures in public safety and other city departments, where expenditures rose more slowly than the school budget. (Expenditures on public safety and other city departments grew by 18 percent and 13 percent, respectively, rather than 25 percent in the schools.)

Concern 4: “Charter schools undermine district schools by drawing away the most engaged students and parents.”

Because the parents who are drawn to charters are presumed to be more engaged and more focused on their children’s education, many worry about the loss of positive peer influences and parental social capital for the students remaining in district schools.  Any such loss would be additive to the financial impacts.

But how large are such effects? Could they be large enough to offset the positive gains in achievement described above?

Between 2009-10 and 2012-13, the proportion of Boston 6th graders applying to a charter school more than doubled, from 15 percent to 33 percent. The proportion of 9th graders applying to charter schools also grew, from 11 percent to 15 percent. As charter applications in Boston have soared, the difference in baseline achievement between charter applicants and non-applicants has narrowed.  Before they moved to charter schools, recent charter applicants in Boston did have higher achievement than the average BPS student, but the difference was less than one-sixteenth of the black-white achievement gap in math and one-ninth of the black-white achievement gap in English. Researchers have typically found that a one-point decline in the average baseline achievement of a student’s classmates leads to a smaller (e.g. one-tenth of a point) decline in the achievement of that student. Therefore, even if there are spillover effects of charter departures on the achievement of students left behind, such effects are likely to be small.

Conclusion

More than two decades ago, the Massachusetts Legislature authorized a series of small-scale experiments called “charter schools.” We now know that many of those experiments worked beyond expectation. In fact, charter schools in Boston and Lynn are generating gains in achievement that are large enough to close achievement gaps by race and income in a few school years. It is an historic achievement, and it’s no wonder that thousands of families in Boston and other cities are now wanting to move to charter schools.

Question 2 in November is not a referendum on local public school districts, of which voters in many communities in Massachusetts are understandably proud. Because the referendum involves the cap on charter school enrollment, it only impacts parents and students in communities that are at or near the current cap. Those communities are primarily low-income urban communities, such as Boston, Chelsea, Holyoke, and Lowell.

Naturally, many voters want an easy choice, free of trade-offs. If so, the evidence is not cooperating. If charter schools were having no impact on student achievement, if such schools were merely selecting better students, then it would be an easy choice to vote against the charter cap increase. The charter school law might be reshuffling public resources for no good reason. But the evidence is clear that that’s not true.

If charter schools were discriminating against English language learners and special education students, many voters would likewise find it easy to oppose the charter cap increase. Charter schools are public schools and many voters believe public schools should serve all students. But, again, the evidence does not support that commonly heard allegation.

That leaves only the concern over the financial and educational impacts on those remaining in district schools. Those costs are widely misunderstood. In Boston, the students remaining in the district schools have been enjoying higher spending per student following the charter departures. Eventually, it’s true that school districts will need to right-size their staffing and facilities to reflect their lower enrollment. Those adjustments become more wrenching the longer they are put off. However, once the adjustments are made, there is no reason to believe that the new, smaller districts will be any less viable than before.

Some voters will question whether the urban districts deserve anything more than the funding that is due to them based on the number of students they teach. Others, more concerned about the potential disruption in district schools, need to recognize that leaving the cap in place is not their only option. For instance, if voters in Newton and Wellesley want to maintain the current staffing and facilities of district schools in Boston and other low income communities, they could advocate increasing the state’s payments to urban districts after charter students depart. Such a policy would at least share the cost of the charter departures broadly across the state. However, leaving the cap in place imposes the entire burden on those parents in the capped communities who are seeking a better education for their children. Witnessing the results of the admission lotteries, we have measured those costs in terms of the diminished achievement of children, and they are sizeable.

Meet the Author

Thomas J. Kane is the Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. John Hansen, a Harvard graduate student, provided research assistance for this essay.

 

  • pbomass

    The article I linked here is a must
    read for anyone trying to sort through nonsense and sins of omission coming
    from the Yes on Question 2 side. The Washington post brought a multi person
    team to fact check charter school claims and found them nearly all wanting.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/28/separating-fact-from-fiction-in-21-claims-about-charter-schools/?postshare=9881475672974052&tid=ss_tw

    A number of the debunked claims are repeated in this CommonWealth article. For
    example the much touted CREDO (bullet 1) studied found that charters
    outperformed district schools by less than <.01%. As the Washington Post
    fact checkers note, charters clearly do skim the best students whether through
    deliberate methods or inherent self-selection.

    Bullet 2: The 2010 law related to
    ELL and special education students is loosely enforced and you can go look at
    state data on the DESE website to how these sub-groups in charters compare to
    the sending districts. Every single one of them is at a lower percentage than
    their sending districts. Even if we believe this was fixed, since this law only
    passed in 2010 (and took effect later) those more diverse student bodies are
    not the ones being touted in study results. All the studies we do have comparing
    charters to publics when they have identical student bodies show them to
    perform about the same or worse.

    Bullet 3: This irrelevant per-pupil
    metric doesn’t survive basic budget math. If you run an elementary school where
    5 students leave from each grade, you’re out a state average of 15k each, or
    $450,000. None of your fixed costs have gone down, you can’t fire a teacher.
    What do you do? Cut everywhere you possibly can without violating the law.

    Given the federal and state requirements
    for education, particularly those for students with disabilities, IEPs, and
    one-on-ones there is a floor to where you can cut. Cities and towns have
    stepped up maintain that floor. Kane faults cities for not letting the bottom
    drop out and turns around and says that “per-pupil spending has increased” based
    on municipalities stepping (and increasing funding to meet inflation).

    Believing Kane’s argument involves
    believing you can take a fixed amount of dollars (plus a few more from a
    questionably funded state reimbursement) and double the number of school
    buildings and related costs and somehow spend more per student. Kane also
    leaves out that districts find out about state reimbursements shortfalls mid-year.

    Kane similarly omits that districts can’t
    “right-size” because real public schools have to take everyone – including when
    charter students come back mid-year or when charter schools collapse. NOTE: If
    a charter student leave mid-year the charter keeps the funding to the end of
    the year even though the student no longer attends.

    The charter school movement claims
    to be about choice, but then says district schools should close. What about the
    parents who choose for their child to be in a public school? When they say “right-size”
    it’s code for permanently closing public schools.

    Bullet 4 & Conclusion: The WaPo
    article covers this well. Lots of charter school success is a mirage of data
    manipulation and easier student bodies. Even so, MA charters only take 4% of
    students now. Question 2 allows them to grow up to 100% without addressing any
    of the funding issues or reforms that the legislature has been discussing for
    years. We have no information that whatever success MA charters have will scale
    beyond their current share of the pie. The only places we can look for that
    saturation is FL, DC, OH, MI, & PA – none of those are stories 1st
    in the nation MA wants to emulate for any of those students.

    We very much should do better by
    urban schools. To do so we need to move away from funding schools regressively.
    Urban schools should get more dollars per-kid from the state than richer
    districts. Charters on-average go the other direction by stretching thin dollar around more fixed costs.

    • philips66

      Who paid you to post this BS? 4 Yes votes in my house

      • pbomass

        Only the Yes side has to pay people to canvass, phone bank, or to generate self-serving studies like this article’s. Great Schools MA had to pay $300,000 to collect signatures to get it on the ballot to begin with.

        The No side finds plenty of volunteers among those who care about all students.

        • philips66

          The NO side finds plenty of paid volunteer fringe union member (less than 10% of the population) hacks for this astroturf protest

          • pbomass

            Did you know that 68.5% of statistics are made up?

        • Dmitri Mehlhorn

          This article was not paid for or generated. Tom Kane is an independent researcher who has been an economist studying schools for decades. Your smear against him is beneath you and factually wrong. The irony is that you linked to a Valerie Strauss column that relied heavily on the NEPC which IS in fact paid for by the unions who oppose charters as a competitive threat.

          • pbomass

            “This article was not paid for or generated.” – This article is a summation of a study sponsored by the Boston Foundation, a pro-charter group. It helps to not start off your “fact-check” with something easily disprovable.

            It is a well practiced Reagan-era tactic to pay for studies supporting your cause knowing that the public rarely reads beyond the abstract, even if they make it that far.

            NEBR or others do no deny that charters enroll far lower percentages of ELLs, special needs, and economically disadvantaged students. NEBR failed to acknowledge the effect of cohort attrition on class sizes (and the educational impact there of) in their study. At least NEBR noted that cohort attrition did happen (~50% in Boston charters), unlike inherently flawed DESE data that only tracks students who leave over the summer.

            In Mass the top MCAS scores in the state are a charter school with TEN kids left in the cohort by 10th grade. If publics were allowed to teach just ten kids of lower-needs they would seem the same results. But they don’t, and should not, as the MA superior court found again this week – education is a common right under the MA constitution. The MA SC also clearly stated that charter funding impacts non-charter funding and the state therefore has a rational interest in a cap so it can meet its constitutional obligation to all children.

            We already knew that small class sizes led to better outcomes. We already knew that challenging students and high need students make educating the class harder. Spreading thin dollars across double the fixed costs doesn’t help us educate all students.

            After all of this question 2 doesn’t ask you to vote for or against charters, it just asks if we should raise the cap without addressing funding or reforms. Yes on 2 could’ve written any question they wanted to, they chose to write one that doesn’t fix the funding issue. That is why the urban communities, represented by their democratically elected school committees, mayors, and city councils, are against Question 2.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            The Boston Foundation has been lightly pro-charter, but it is not funding the “yes on 2” campaign and thus the facts are very different from your original smear that “the yes side has to pay for studies.” Most independent funders of climate science research have been “pro-climate” because that’s where the independent scientific facts suggest, but that doesn’t mean that nefarious “science-mongerers” are funding fictitious studies as you allege. The only actual financial interest in any of these debates is the NEPC, the study you cited, which is paid for by the unions which have a direct financial opposition to charter schools because they generally do not pay union dues. As for your claim about NBER, READ THE STUDY. It absolutely considered attrition, in direct contrast to your claim. I think perhaps that you’ve internalized the “reagan-era” tactic too well. As for whether “urban communities” are against Question 2, you should ask them. Oh, wait, people have. Look at the polls. The “democratically elected” school committees are elites that have to deal with the consequences of opposing the very wealthy and powerful MTA lobby — so maybe instead of taking their opinion about what their constituents want, you should just ask the urban voters, who overwhelmingly want the cap lifted. Or maybe ask the people on charter wait lists.

          • pbomass

            Um…. the Boston Foundation funded both this study and immensely more distributed Mass Taxpayers Foundation paper that the Globe and Herald distributed as a fact. This is despite the fact the MTF endorsed Yeson2 and helped launch their campaign. So a “lightly” pro-charter foundation gave a founder of the Yes on 2 campaign money to a do a “study” and surprise they found in favor of yes on 2’s argument! Of course if you actually read the study they say they only did a theoretical analysis and didn’t actually look at any district budgets.

            http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/01/charter_school_backers_get_bus.html

            I noticed you are relying on disputing my link to the Washington Post and not disputing any of my arguments. Then you try to change the subject to climate change. As someone who is seems to have an interest in science you should be aware of biases and weaknesses in analysis. Doing so doesn’t deny scientific conclusions, it prevents us from disseminating poorly researched information like “chocolate is the key to weight loss” ala the evening news.

            As I noted in my previous response I gave NBER credit for considering attrition. Unlike many other studies, they did consider this. What I said was their consideration of attrition didn’t consider the effect the result class sizes would have on educational outcomes. One of our strongest data points in education is that small class sizes have better outcomes. NBER didn’t control for this charter advantage despite some attempts to otherwise account for attrition.

            What polls are you referring to? WBUR and WNEU’s most recently results have No +10. WBZ’s poll did have Yes +10 but they also only had Clinton +13 when the MA aggregate is +24, implying they oversampled Trump supporters.

            So democratically elected school boards and city government are elites now? So I’m guessing all the students and parents who argued for No on 2 at these meetings are also elites and should be dismissed as well? I’m sure transferring oversight of schools self-appointed charter boards, corporate charter management organizations (allowed to hired in MA by a non-profit charter), and the MA State school board is really taking the power back from the elites. I’m sure that’s why Walmart heirs, hedge funders and other are pouring dark money into the Yes campaign – because they love to take those “elites” down.

          • pbomass

            From NEBR paper, they aren’t able to prove that charters do anything more than boost test scores.They also show that kids take an extra year to graduate, especially boys versus publics. They also see a “peer composition effect” for charters – which speaks to the easier mix of kids left in the charters after the cohort narrows, and somewhat speak to class size benefits. They dismiss this because it narrows overtime as kids dropout of publics – which is not the conclusion I would take away from that. MCAS is a 10th grade test currently and charter attrition happens significantly before then whereas drop outs age varies widely. I’d also argue that students dropping out is not a feature, and is instead something we should fix. Given this our “policy response should be different” than Q2 proposes.

            Quotes follow:

            “While the estimated effect of charter attendance on college attendance is positive, it is not large enough to generate a statistically significant finding.” They also state that insufficient data is available to indicate how these students perform in college.

            “Moreover, as in the analysis for boys, charter attendance reduces the four-year high school graduation rate considerably in the special education group, but has little effect on the five-year rate.”

            “In other words, charter schools may do well for most of their students in part because a few bad apples who would otherwise be disruptive to all, or slow down the class, are encouraged to leave. While not invalidating the evidence of gains reported here, this peer channel has different policy implications than other explanations for charter effectiveness, such as differences in teacher quality or training. The pattern of peer composition effects is driven, in part, by increasing peer quality in the schools attended by those who lose charter lotteries.” … “This pattern is likely driven by high dropout rates at traditional public schools among students with the lowest baseline scores.”

          • Mhmjjj2012

            Just so you know, the Boston Foundation gave almost $1 million to the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association whose executive director wrote…actually wrote…the charter school ballot question. The Boston Foundation isn’t “lightly” pro-charter schools. The Boston Foundation is decidedly pro-charter schools. VOTE NO on Question 2.

          • Jack Covey

            And that Massachusetts Charter Public School Association executive director Mark Kennan is a race-baiting douche.

            Playing the race card or the white guilt card (or wealthy guilt car) is a pretty lame and divisive tactic on the part of Marc Kenan — the Executive Director and Foiunder of the Massachusetts Charter School Association, and who helped draft Question 2 — and all the folks allied with Marc to pass Question 2.

            Go here:

            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

            ( 35:02 – )
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCsZZ-J7mcU
            ( 35:02 – )

            MARC KENAN: “We have our strongest opposition from the teachers unions across the state, whose leadership is primarily white… (So-effing-what, Marc?! JACK) … our goal, and whom we are trying to serve, are those black and brown parents and young parents who are trying desperately to get alternatives for their children.”

            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

            With tens of millions of dollars going to political campaign operatives, I’m guessing this specious race-baiting was dreamed up by those guys, and then tested on focus groups where those experts found out that these messages worked in getting folks to vote YES on 2.

            This scuzzy and divisive tactic works two ways:

            ON WHITES: it’s a way to use white guilt to pressure white voters into voting Question 2.

            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

            MESSAGE to Whites:

            “You don’t want to be one of those racists who keep blacks from getting a good education, now, do you? Vote ‘YES’ on Question 2, and earn your ‘I’m-No-Racist!’ merit badge.”

            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

            For whites, it’s an easy way to prove you’re not a racist, and make yourself feel good in the voting booth… regardless of how off-base that thinking actually is.

            ON BLACKS: it’s a way to use historical black anger against white oppression and mistreatment to vote “YES” on 2.

            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

            MESSAGE to African-Americans:

            “White folks in upscale Massachusetts cities and neighborhoods are stealing black kids’ promise of a great education and keeping black kids from having good schools, just the way they’ve been doing this forever. Stick it to those racist whiteys and vote ‘YES’ on Question 2.”

            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

            As a Los Angeleno, this demagogic re-framing of the issues reminds me the way attorney Johnny Cochran, in the O.J. Simpson trial, successfully manipulated the black jurors and black population into abandoning their common sense and critical thinking to render their verdict, and act the way they did. He brought in an irrelevant and inflammatory context of historical racism, and attached it to the way a true black person should think and act regarding O.J.’s guilt or innocence.

            “Here’s your chance to even the score with The Man. Vote to acquit!”

            or

            “If you’re in the black community, back your brother O.J. in his time of need, and stick it to the racist power structure.”

            That’s how and why you got this abomination. (Note the different reactions of blacks and whites to the live announcement of O.J.’s acquittal):

            ( 1:01 – )
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pevb9LdIy8
            ( 1:01 – )

            For Marc Kenan and his Massachusetts Public Charter School Association (which Marc founded) to stoop to this level of pernicious exploitation of historical racism is pretty scuzzy and skeevy. However, I imagine this is what the high-priced political campaign experts whom the “YES” on Question 2″ folks hired told him to say at the debate and elsewhere. … and Marc figures,

            “Oh what the heck. As scuzzy and skeevy as this tactic is, all’s fair in politics, and you do whatever you have to in order to win. The ends justify the means, blah-blah-blah … ”

            In all my campaigns for which I’ve volunteered — for school board members, politicians, initiatives, etc. — I’ve never had to be associated with such sleazy campaign tactics or messages that violated my own moral code, and I never will be, as I will drop out if engaging in this kind of stuff is what you have to do in order to win.

            Indeed, on her pro-charter blog, Erika Sanzi engages in this as well in her response to ultra-progressive Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s endorsement of the “NO” on 2 campaign. Sanzi makes Warren out to be the Second Coming of George Wallace, standing in front of the University of Alabama door and barring black students from entering:

            http://goodschoolhunting.org/2016/09/elizabeth-warren-baby-got-wrong-back.html

            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

            ERIKA SANZI: “Perhaps those zip codes that act as barbed wire fences for poor kids have simply fallen through the cracks of her broken foundation where principles have given way to power and money and special interest. Adult interest in this case.

            “It’s actually hard to imagine the disgust that low income parents, especially black and brown ones, must feel that their world famous Senator, their fighter for the ‘little guy,’ has now lost interest in that proverbial ‘little guy’. ”

            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

            Oy vey!

            Here’s another piece, this one from Campbell Brown’s “The74” blog that goes all in this specious race-baiting. Michelle Rhee hagiographer Richard Whitmire calls out those rich white Massachusetts folks who back “NO on Question 2.”

            http://the74million.org/article/its-heartbreaking-boston-parents-ask-why-their-wealthy-neighbors-are-fighting-charter-schools

            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

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

            RICHARD WHITMIRE:

            “However, recent polls, along with unexpectedly intense anti-charter activity in places like Newton, suggest that support may be soft. Just before school opened in Newton this year, the union staffed a table outside its ($200 million) high school to encourage teachers to oppose the cap lift. Recently, Tillman attended a meeting in Newton where she said she heard plenty of talk against lifting the cap.

            “All of which makes her ask: Why would Newton teachers and parents, who are unaffected by charters, vote to deny better schools for the low-income neighborhoods of Boston?

            “ ‘It’s heartbreaking,’ said Tillman (an African American in favor of Question 2 and expanding charter schools). ‘This does not affect their budget. Why don’t they want to help their brethren in our ZIP code?”
            x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

            Because they’re evil racists, Ms. Tillman. Shame on them.

            What nonsense.

            How do the pro-charter, pro-Question 2 folks reconcile this line of argument with both the NAACP and the Black Lives Matters leaders coming out strongly against Question 2, and the expansion of privately-run charter schools in general? Are those black leaders all stupid, or dupes of the white racists?

            Whatever.

            Oh and go watch the John Oliver charter school video:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_htSPGAY7I
            Oh and listen to this dissection of a “YES on 2” radio ad:

            http://wrsi.com/monte/dissecting-the-great-schools-massachusetts-ad-on-question-2/

          • Jack Covey

            During the next month leading up to Tuesday, November 8, as you see or listen to the slick and expensive Madison Avenue-level TV/radio commercials promoting “YES” on Question 2 promulgating such lies as …

            “Question 2 will add more money to public schools (LIE: it won’t. In fact it will do just the opposite.

            “Question 2 won’t take money away from existing public schools (LIE: it will… a lot of money, in fact.)

            … or when view the slick mailers you find in your mailbox, or when listen to robo-calls, think about this following post:

            The latest is that over $21.7 million of out-of-state money from the most ruthless capitalists who have ever walked the Earth — Eli Broad, the Walton family of Walmart, Wall Street hedge fund managers, etc. — is pouring into Massachusetts to pass Question 2.

            Read this well-researched article here for that $21.7 million figure:

            https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/ma-question-2-funding-hits-21-7-million/

            These profit-minded plutocrats who are pouring in this money obviously …

            — do not live in Massachusetts,

            — have no children, grandchildren, or other relatives that attend public schools in Massachusetts

            — have never given a sh#% about the education of middle or lower income until recently, when they realized they could make a buck off privatizing Massachusetts schools via the expansion of privately-run charter schools,.

            They want to these corporate charter schools to replace truly public schools — the ones that, for generations, have been accountable and transparent to the public via democratically-elected school boards, and which are mandated to educate ALL of the public… including those hardest or most difficult to educate … special ed., English Language Learners, homeless kids, foster care kids, kids with difficult behavior arising from distressed home lives.

            Are proponents of Question 2 seriously making the argument that out-of-state billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers are pumping in all this money because those folks care so much about the education of kids in Massachusetts?

            You really think they are NOT seeking a big money return on these ($21.7 million campaign donations?

            Does that pass the smell test?

            Can you provide an example of JUST ONE TIME in the past where they poured in this kind of cash to something … no strings attached, and with no expectations of return?

            If, as Q 2 supporters like Marty Walz claim, the most ruthless capitalists that have ever walked the Earth are now kicking in this kind of cash to pass Question 2 merely because they care about children’s education —

            … and if they are not about their profiting through the privatization of public schools brought about by the expansion of privately-run charter schools,

            … then I’m sure one of you Q 2 supporters could google and find a past example where they have done something similar .. .again out of generosity… with no expectation of an eventual monetary return…

            Something like …

            “Well, back in 2000-something, or 1900-something, these same folks donated $20 million to the (INSERT CHARITABLE CAUSE HERE). Here’s the link that proves this.”

            No, I didn’t think so. When this was brought up in a debate, Mary Walz refused to address it, saying, “We need to talk about the kids, not the adults.” Well, keeping money-motivated scum from raping and pillaging Massachusetts public schools IS CARING ABOUT THE KIDS, Marty! (By the way, those are many of the same folks who raped and pillaged the housing/mortgage industry a decade ago … go watch THE BIG SHORT to get up to speed on that … they’ve just moved on to new place to plunder.)

            So the real question is:

            To whom do the schools of Massachusetts belong? The citizens and parents who pay the taxes there?

            Or a bunch of money-motivated out-of-state billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers who are trying to buy them via Question 2, and the expansion of privately managed charter schools which they control, or also profit from their on-line and digital learning products that will be sold to these charter school chains?

            If you believe the former, THEN FOR GOD’S SAKE, VOTE “NO” ON QUESTION 2.

            Send them a message: Massachusetts schools are NOT FOR SALE!!!

            Oh and go watch the John Oliver charter school video:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_htSPGAY7I
            Oh and listen to this dissection of a “YES on 2”
            radio ad:

            http://wrsi.com/monte/dissecting-the-great-schools-massachusetts-ad-on-question-2/

      • Mhmjjj2012

        Just out of curiosity, why are you supporting an unlimited number of charter schools for Massachusetts? And if you had facts contradicting those posted above then why not cite them?

        • Dmitri Mehlhorn

          The limits right now only hurt the tens of thousands of children in urban areas. The “no” campaign is anchored in the suburbs and fueled by, frankly, deception. The facts are cited clearly in the Commonwealth piece and the WaPo piece is hosted by Valerie Strauss (who’s received union money) and posts an NEPC study (which is funded almost entirely by unions). If you want to see independent research, look at this NBER study and look at all of the other studies cited therein. http://www.nber.org/papers/w19275

          • pbomass

            No on 2 didn’t draft the ballot question, Yes on 2 did. They wrote a state-wide ballot question. And they did so instead of voting on the Senate’s RISE act that would’ve lifted the cap in some urban areas while also addressing the Fundamentals funding formula and implementing some reforms. We could’ve been focusing all of our energy on improving outcomes for all students but Yes on 2 and their dark money backers put us on this path. Newton’s recent school committee debate of question 2 is illustrative: they considered the areas near the cap and seeing that all of their elected reps and large parts of communities being against as well, voted to oppose.

            While I generally love NEBR they aren’t perfect just like the rest of us. They missed some variables and also didn’t look at what happens to the rest of MA schools while charters take over. When we talk about going from 4% charter school students to up to 100% we can no longer rely on our current charter performance as the sole reference, only FL, OH, PA, MI have that level of saturation and the results are not good.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            The NBER study is not in isolation. If you read the intro, it also cited many other studies. The evidence on charters in MA is not a close call. They deliver much, much better results for urban kids of color, which is especially important since MA has one of the country’s highest achievement gaps. The Newton school committee debate was, indeed, illustrative. The discussion of areas near the cap was a fig leaf; they did not consider polls of people and if they truly cared only about what those communities wanted, they would have taken no position on the yes/no debate. But they were scared by false fear tactics that charter schools would lead to a de-funding of THEIR schools, which they think are good. So, since they like their schools, they were persuaded to force urban areas to accept schools that are NOT good for the urban kids.

          • Dan Gleason

            Even if we stipulate (which I don’t) charters “…deliver much, much better results for urban kids of color,” why Question 2 for that group of students? It’s a statewide ballot question. It’s likely to be found unconstitutional if it passes after the superior court ruling. As pbomass asked, why not work within the legislative process on the RISE act, which had something for all schools and students? I’m not anti charter, I’m anti Question 2 because of ALL education funding issues… Foundation Budget, charter reimbursement, regional school transportation, etc. Let’s fix funding for all, then we can look at the cap

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Dan, you seem to be engaging in good faith so I hope you take this in the spirit of engagement: the legislative process is not well suited for this kind of discussion because of the imbalance of power. The struggle over choice and accountability in schools generally pits low-income parents of color against the teachers’ unions, who are 85% white, 100% employed, and exceptionally well organized. This struggle was discussed by Dana Goldstein’s article in The Nation, https://www.thenation.com/article/tough-lessons-1968-teacher-strikes/, and is still true today. In this struggle, the unions have an overwhelming power advantage in the state capitols. I have been working on this issue for quite some time in over a dozen states, and I have repeatedly been told by legislators (including especially Democratic legislators of color) that they would like to find ways to give parents more choice but that their careers will be over if they take a stand against the position held by the teachers’ unions. The struggle over Parent Trigger in neighboring Connecticut was a real-life example of where the unions used their power to intentionally and consciously exclude parents of color from the negotiations so that the actual legislative language could be watered down to the point of nothingness (see http://global.nationalreview.com/corner/273847/teacher-union-feels-heat-over-leaked-report-brian-bolduc?target=author&tid=3177). Although there is also an imbalance of funding for state legislative initiatives (as the national unions repeatedly find ways to spend tens of millions of dollars against initiatives in any state that would increase parent choice), at least then it’s an open debate where journalists and boards of education and moderate parents can see what’s happening, and thus there’s a chance of success.

          • pbomass

            I’d note the RISE act from this spring in MA was passed by the more progressive and therefore more union-friendly senate. Pro-charter Speaker DeLeo and Governor Baker did nothing with it. No further debate, no consideration of amendments, just let it die. Under this administration it also worth noting that the top three education officials are immensely pro-charter as well. One donated 100k to Yes on 2 and another was listed as the head of “Families for Excellent Schools” (Yes on 2 dark money lobby) until a few months ago. This state house is not union-beholden in the way you describe.

            It’s also worth noting that the RISE act would’ve ensured that student rights are protected. Often students must sign away their rights in favor of a behavioral code as part of attending a charter.

            We also just experienced a natural experiment on whether de-unionizing teachers results in better educational outcomes as 4 states did that after the 2010 GOP wave. What was found was that education outcomes were negatively effected. http://edushyster.com/what-if-everything-you-thought-you-knew-about-teachers-unions-turned-out-to-be-wrong/ (Q&A format, click through to paper).

          • Mhmjjj2012

            Are you writing your comments from out of state or have you moved to Massachusetts?

          • jeanabeana

            the calls into homes for yes on 2 are coming from the Rocky Mountains. They paid people $17 an hour to gather petition signatures. When parents gathered signatures (all volunteers) against the tests and “commonness of core” the powerful lawyers in Boston bounced their petition out…. This should tell you about the powerful and rich centers in Boston (Governor, Peyser, Sagan) etc. The volunteers for Vote No on #2 hat I canvass with are all volunteers and none of us are being paid. “Dark Money” comes in from the Perdue Pharmaceuticals (who helped bring you the opioid crisis) ; The Gap/Old Navy…. etc.

            Dmitri Mehlhorn has been Chief Operating Officer of Bloomberg Law at Bloomberg L.P., since October 8, 2012. Mr. Mehlhorn served as Managing Director of Global Research of Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc. and served as its Managing Director of Global Operations. Mr. Mehlhorn served as Managing Director of Business Development of Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc. He served as Director of Corporate Relationships of Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc. Mr. Mehlhorn served as Director of Strategy …
            —————————
            so this is no different than the phony “studies” that the MA Business Alliance puts out and they are all written by Michael Barber of Pearson; then our Commissioner of Ed goes around the country telling states to sign on with Jeb Bush’s crowd and Michael Barber to buy (at high costs) the “implementation protocols” and tests Pearson is selling. I could tell you a little about this kind of corruption. Vote No on #2; keep the decision making with your mayor and local school committee not these “Boards” of Friends that reward only the CEOS.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Jeana Beana, were you this outraged when the national teachers’ unions created a shell company to hide their electoral contribution to the Boston Mayor’s race, later paying a $30,000 fine for their violation? Also, were you this upset that “outsiders” from the North went down to Southern states to object to school policies that were damaging to students of color in those states in the 1950s? Are you equally outraged that suburban voters whose children are likely in well-funded, high-functioning schools that do not face any risk of charters coming in are voting to deny choice to urban parents whose children are in failing schools and whose districts are already bumping up against the cap? If not, your ‘outrage’ at ‘outsiders’ is awfully selective.

          • jeanabeana

            if you read correctly, I worked in COUNTIES… we do not have county government but we have programs that reach across the cities and towns in an effort to equalize resources… in curriculum, services, resources. So instead of doing “outrage” I occupied my time with productive service for 25 years…. ” Are you equally outraged that suburban voters whose children are likely in well-funded,” The dissertation my friend wrote showed how a Town like Maynard does not have the tax base like Sudbury or another area and those were giant inequities that still remain. As Mayor Walsh has said: charter schools? then fix the building assistance funds; get some capital assistance into these schools that need to be renovated or refurbished and fix the Chapter 70 reimbursement formulas and the formulas the provide to cities and towns . There are experts better than I am on the financial part (but I strongly recommend reading the Mayor of Northamptons’ city budget and the posts by Tracy O’Connell Novick the school committee person. Over 165 school committees have voted resolution to Vote No on #2…. this is not about “unions” it is about the resources for students: supplies , materials, curriculum (and not just the junk that Pearson sells), nurses, counselors, clinical psychologists, librarians (two cities have to close their libraries due to lack of funds for Saturday; schools are losing their libraries for daily use), Malden has given up the school busses. I will not stand by while your “dark money” destroys public towns/cities and eviscerates school committees and local governance. It is about the

          • jeanabeana

            we have “choice” that has been going on for decades; parents from haverhill can send their student to Pentucket ; where I worked at the homeless shelter in Leominster there were “choice” programs that worked between districts and this has been going on for decades. You are lying when you say “choice ” for parents because the charter is actually doing the “choosing” and they are choosing to cream off the “drivers” in the community that test well. Then if they don’t make the grade, they send the child back to general ed. We know these things are happening and you lie about “choice”? I am outraged about the outsiders who don’t seem to know anything…. MA has used federal resources very well over the years (I submit that Greg Anrig was the best commissioner before he went to ETS)… we have lost because of this foolishness with buying Pearson tests and they want 10 years to prove they are valid and reliable; that is a giant waste of R&D resources. I am extremely outraged at commissioners who know nothing and professors from Harvard who have never taught in a classroom and the republicans who want to measure our kids on “grit” to prove that parents are feckless, teachers asre worthless, schools are failing, and pupils are unmotivated. These are all over-generalizations and that means “lies”… Stephen Lynch says there is no decent school in his whole district so I call him at Wash and boston office to tell him about his over-generalization. It is political lying and abuse of power.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Jean, of course we have choice. We have always had choice for middle class and up white parents. This is not about creating choice. This is about extending choice, which has always been the means for addressing problems in white schools, to nonwhite and disadvantaged parents.

          • jeanabeana

            Diane Ravitch, Mercedes Schneider, Helen Ladd (North Carolian) , Jan Resseger all disagree with you. And i stand with them. Your political ideology comes from the “voucher” guru Friedman… Mine comes from Galbraith : Economy and the Public Purpose (and today it would be Robert Reich and others ) You will just use the opportunity, pretending to respond to me, to put in more of the same ideology so there is really no point to continuing. Schumpter, economists from Vienna; at some point we learned to read and listen to others not what the PEPG at Harvard is pushing. By the way, when there was a Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence MA the colleges like Harvard sent students out to take the side of the mill workers against the families (women and children.) You can find that at Howard Zinn Institute; that is the ZINN program that former Governor of Indiana tried to ban in the schools — again that is political ideology. Or, read Rick Perlstein’s books on Reagan and Nixon and see what they did to the schools. When Bush was in Wash. his delegated spokesperson would stand at the podium and say “teacher unions are terrorists”… and “we should bomb the teachers colleges”. I refuse to participate with people who talk like that.

            This is about extending choice, which has always been the means for addressing problems in white schools, to nonwhite and disadvantaged parents.

            jeanhaverhill@aol.com

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            You are correct, Jean, that the tribalism is probably too deep to continue. Mercedes and Diane in particular have devoted reams of paper to smear campaigns and conspiracy theories about charter schools and their backers, amplified by AFT and NEA funding. If you step away from that tribalism and look at the evidence regarding (a) charter school funding, and (b) charter school efficacy, you may change your mind. All I ask is that you continue to consider the race and class demographics of the group that is funding the anti-charter crusade, vs. the demographics of the people on the charter wait lists.

          • jeanabeana

            Diane doesn’t get any AFTfunding or NEA. I have a teacher pension and you can look it up in the Boston Herald where it is published; I am right at the state average; if you look at the corrupt John Barranco you will see he is near the highest if not the highest. I am a volunteer; I did 5 years of volunteer work at the homeless shelter for women and children (mostly nuns volunteering from 14 churches); I do volunteer work at the library every week; and now I am spending volunteer hours working for Haverhill Democratic City Committee. You talked about ad hoimnem remarks earlier, you are insulting Diane ; this is how Freedom Works insults Joan Walsh (journalist) on cable/tv and how Commissioner M Chester insults Barbara Madeloni; then Chester insults the voters “constituents are impervious to facts”. Well I have a different set of facts and I do not support your view of education no matter how much altruism you claim to have. All the time I was at the Homeless shelter, during the height of the recession, Scotty Brown (failed senator from MA) was saying “that money is being wasted” on the women and children . You seem to fit into the group and I , personally, find it disgusting.

          • jeanabeana

            Please send me your bibliography and list of your publications. I don’t know how you can take someone’s life work like Diane or Mercedes, or my own years of experience and demean the work into “reams of paper”. A dissertation is not a “ream of paper”. Please cite yours; I already told you about my supervisor’s study in MA on the inequities of finance across the state (rural/cities/suburbs) yet you ignore that and you indicate I am some kind of “racist”? But insulting women with 3 and 4 degrees and with publications you are striking a very low blow just because you don’t like my politics?

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            I write a good bit so you probably don’t want all of it. See below for 16 samples that may help you get a sense of where I’m coming from if you genuinely care.

            http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/09/how-to-make-teachers-more-like-doctors/380643/

            https://medium.com/@DmitriMehlhorn/why-teachers-have-no-voice-99acd08e33b5#.e29d2s60t

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/thank-you-khizr-trump-would-have-blocked-my-dad-too_us_57ab9148e4b08c46f0e492be

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/radical-homophobia-a-modern-sickness_us_57886356e4b0b107a240b740

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/11/why-progressives-shouldn-t-support-public-workers-unions.html

            http://educationpost.org/we-needed-an-academy-awards-for-our-teachers-and-the-global-teacher-prize-is-doing-just-that/

            http://citizen.education/index.php/2016/05/06/all-parents-should-know-these-public-schools/

            http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/07/07/rebuild-adams-middle-school-for-richmond-kids-education/

            https://www.the74million.org/article/opinion-in-missouri-a-fight-to-override-a-governors-veto-and-a-campaign-to-rescue-poor-kids-from-failing-schools

            http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3528&context=flr

            http://www.bu.edu/law/journals-archive/scitech/volume102/abramson.pdf

            See below for my comments about Diane. To be clear, she’s not the only one. I also included a post about Bruce Baker, who is also terrible. There are plenty of reform skeptics that I find interesting and credible, including Linda Darling-Hammond and Larry Cuban and David Tyack and even, sometimes, Randi Weingarten and Pasi Sahlberg. There are others whose views are more pro-reform who I find much more credible, including Andreas Schleicher, Joel Klein, and John King.

            http://educationpost.org/lets-get-real-about-civility-in-the-education-debate/

            http://citizen.education/index.php/2015/10/08/diane-ravitch-goes-orwellian-on-obamas-education-team/

            http://citizen.education/index.php/2015/10/28/how-to-whitewash-education-history-like-diane-ravitch/

            http://citizen.education/index.php/2015/11/11/progressives-shouldnt-talk-so-lovingly-about-the-history-of-public-education/

            http://citizen.education/index.php/2015/11/09/maybe-i-was-too-hasty-in-trusting-bruce-bakers-anti-reform-scholarship/

          • jeanabeana

            so you are not an anti-intellectual (like the Trump voters) but why do you toss the work of educated women in the garbage as “reams of paper”….? I take that insult personally.

          • jeanabeana

            thanks for the listing; I truly am a reader and will pursue … perhaps you are “altruistic” but you signed up with the wrong team? Like McKinsey? Here is a comment from a person

            Jack : These profit-minded plutocrats who are pouring in this money obviously …

            — do not live in Massachusetts,

            — have no children, grandchildren, or other relatives that attend public schools in Massachusetts

            — have never given a sh#% about the education of middle or lower income until recently, when they realized they could make a buck off privatizing Massachusetts schools via the expansion of privately-run charter schools,.

            They want to replace public schools — the ones that, for generations, have been accountable and transparent to the public via democratically elected school boards, and which are mandated to educate ALL of the public… including those hardest or most difficult to educate … special ed., English Language Learners, homeless kids, foster care kids, kids with difficult behavior arising from distressed home lives.

            Are proponents of Question 2 seriously making the argument that out-of-state billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers are pumping in all this money because those folks care so much about the education of kids in Massachusetts? You really think they are NOT seeking a big money return on these ($21.7 million campaign donations?

            If, as Q 2 supporters like Marty Walz claim, the most ruthless capitalists that have ever walked the Earth (Robber Barons) are now kicking in this cash to pass Question #2 out of altruism ? then what is the plan to give Suzanne Bump more staff to do audits? Where I worked we were audited once in 25 years. Out of generosity?… with no expectation of an eventual monetary return…? that is how Trump tricks people to think he is investing in a campaign to help the citizens.

            When this was brought up in a debate, Walz refused to address it, saying, “We need to talk about the kids, not the adults.” Well, keeping money-motivated scum from pillaging Massachusetts public schools IS CARING ABOUT THE KIDS, Marty!

            We need our locally elected Mayors and school committees to be accountable and the state auditors to do their job (i.e., Suzanne Bump audit the entire MA Department of Ed for example, including the hidden funds in the accounts from Arne Duncan that reside in a host state and the conflict of interest and quid pro quo with Pearson)… Question # 2 does not address any of those issues and the parent’s petition to examine use of “Core and Test” was tossed out by the same people who are pushing charters.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Jean, the claim that I have never cared about the education of low-income children is flatly contradicted by how I have spent my volunteer hours and many of my personal dollars. Neither I nor most reformers I know have any chance whatsoever of making a single dollar from this. The fact that ad hominem attacks are such an immediate “go-to” move for so many people says a lot about the defensiveness of many people who earn their compensation from a zero-competition model where teachers unions are a nonprofit corporation with a no-bid contract to provide public services throughout the state. Remember, Jean, that compulsory education and compulsory tax laws means that if anyone who is lower income doesn’t want to pay for their local school or send their kid to their local school, the punishment is jail time — yes, jail time. I’ve had a friend GO TO JAIL for trying to send their kids to the “wrong” zip code. No, it wasn’t MA, but they were Americans.

          • jeanabeana

            “a zero-competition model where teachers unions are a nonprofit corporation with a no-bid contract to provide public ” this is a vast difference in our political views. I cited Galbraith as what we studied “Economics and the Public Purpose”. You and I probably could not agree because you are pushing that free market /Friedman/Schumpter version which I never bought into. My girl scout leader where I lived actually ordered me to read Ayn Rand and because she was an authority figure I attempted and was always polite to her but is not the philosophy that my values lead me to. The best illustration today is “waking the Frog” about how the competition (supposed “free market” a euphemism/lie) does not work in his field of science specifically — climate science. I think I posted here that when you work with students (or hospital patients) you cannot use that paradigm — it is the wrong paradigm in human services. I guess that is why I think you signed up for the wrong team — although you may have some of the qualities of altruism and perhaps you studied Jeremy Bentham not just Locke and others. I am not a lawyer; I am a home-grown retired teacher (volunteer) and my pension is right at the state average . I don’t think it is ad hominem to point out that the philosophy you hold is vastly different from mine and I cannot be converted. My mom would say from her upbringing “cast your bread upon the waters” and the girl scout leader would say ‘yeah, and you get back moldy bread”… In my life , my mom won — not Ayn Rand (or her cabal teaching psychology ) There are useful considerations and complicated issues that have to be part of the conversation about public education and I contend that is best done closer to the students with locally elected governance (like the Mayor of Haverhill for whom I have great respect)….

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            You and I probably disagree but not in the way that you’re suggesting. I do not like Ayn Rand at all; frankly I find her work mostly horrifying. I am a libertarian not because I am a slavish devotee of the free market or because I do not think that large corporations can do horrific things; on the contrary, I am a libertarian because I believe, with great conviction and unfortunately enormous evidence, that the monopoly power of the state can create abuses both great and small. The great abuses include racial terror (read Ta-Nehisi Coates about the role of the state in maintaining racial discrimination even recently) as well as other abuses. Public sector unions are a part of this because they erode checks and balances in many ways. That is theory, which I discussed in The Daily Beast and Harvard Law School’s “OnLabor” blog. The practice is also bad. Public sector unions in this election have endorsed Donald Trump (the largest police union and the largest border patrol union), and in the recent past have created the national incarceration crisis (read the book the Toughest Beat about prison guard unions), and in the slightly further path crushed black empowerment in schools (read Dana Goldstein in The Nation about the 1968 teacher strikes).

          • jeanabeana

            again, I am not a lawyer but I read widely… I would recommend to you Peter Kramer’s discussion of BigPharma and how it insinuated its way into the medical profession (much as we feel that “BigData” is destroying public education. The only “lawyering” I know was taught to me when Kennedy was still alive and we placed in several schools an high school curriculum from Calabasas CA. it was an excellent program but it has been dislodged by the “test and punish: take tests in reading and math and then practice to take tests in reading and math). The MA Council for the Social Studies has complained through two or three commissioners and two governors that we are not teaching civic participation, civic virtue and we have two decades now of students without those courses (except for the few AP teachers who are given time away from the computers for math/reading). again, most of this discussion will not be useful to other people reading here (except for those who like Sandra Stotsky’s work on curriculum frameworks) so I would be pleased to converse (without ad hominem) on email. By the way, what has been done to the CA curriculum is worse than what happened in MA when our programs of studies were re-written to follow the common-ness of core.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            To be clear, I am not a fan of CA education policy. The CFT completely owns Sacramento and has led to the disastrous state of CA affairs. I am also not a fan of Big Pharma controlling medicine. The doctors who opine on drugs without revealing that they are on payroll are a huge problem; while I was in the private sector I tried to promote an information brokerage model where all such conflicts needed to be disclosed. Indeed, I’m not a fan of any large monopolistic or oligopolistic organization in the private or public sector; it’s no accident that both Joel Klein and I were anti-trust lawyers before we were ed reformers. My legal career, when it lasted, consisted of suing Microsoft for antitrust violations. My work on that matter was one of the longer links I sent you.

          • jeanabeana

            reference: Colin Woodard , prize winning journalist in Maine was able to stop their crazy governor from instituting ALEC plans that would be detrimental to public education. This is his other work…and he does call them nations. At a Washington conference we had a tribal spokesman tell us about his “nation within a nation” and Colin is describing a more complex view and why there is so much polarity to the edge of civil war. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-eleven-nations-theory/

          • jeanabeana

            here is Diane’s statement: “Just for the record, I am not paid by anyone to blog or write on this site [her blog]. My views are my own, based on 50 years of scholarship and experience in government and in conservative think tanks. I frequently receive solicitations to place ads on the site because of its high volume (more than 27 million page views), but I reject them out of hand.

            Since corporate reformers like Mr. Melhorn think that everyone is in it for the money, they can’t believe that there are people like Mercedes and me who do what we do because of conviction. There actually are people who act from conviction, not for money.”

            ————————————————— My views are from my 50 years of experience with public education. When Diane was at Wellesley, my cohort was at Northeastern and B.U. They became deans and professors at Wellesley, Bridgewater, Fitchburg, Lowell… and several are professor emerita at this point while others still teach at Simmons, Leslie and Bay Path. For Mr. Melhon to slander Diane it is offensive personally to me and this cohort in particular who have devoted their lives to educational improvements in education in MA (as I mentioned, Greg Anrig made vast improvements with federal funds using them wisely. That has not continued through the tenure of later commissioners)
            As I have written in the Lowell Sun in comments, I can have my experience with the “special school” Barranco robbed put in testimony and notarized. Just as i trust the Mayor of Northampton’s budget figures and the Mayor of Haverhill (where I live) I trust the cohort of people and the references that I named. Dmitri didn’t bother to consult Helen Ladd who is also a distinguished professor (not in this state) but at least he didn’t slander her.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Diane does not make money from her blog. She makes money from her books and paid speeches. If you asked for my bibliography you should read the articles, especially those about Diane. I did not dismiss the “reams of paper” relating to scholarship, I was dismissive of the volume that she and others dedicate to ad hominem conspiracy theories against reformers.

          • jeanabeana

            the way you wrote it you made it appear that NEA/AFT were “buying ” her and that is why I said I was only a union member for one or two years. You were specifically making attacks on teacher unions and that is what your cohort will do; for example Fordham Institute they insult us (women) by calling us “Rockin grannies from the 60s” alluding to some rock band. What you said isn’t funny and it appears that in your attack on unions you over-generalize. When you continue on and get 3 or 4 degrees you are no longer union members and “beholding” to the unions. I also think you believe that School Committees are acting out of fear of unions and that is totally untrue. You should watch some of the cable/tv show on our Haverhill School Committee and others in MA ; it can be tiresome but I don’t think you will find in those hours of film any pandering to the unions ; in fact just the opposite as I have written to Superintendent Jimmy Scully in my City. I understand if you live in CA, then you are surrounded by people like my brother’s grandson who told me to move to Norway if I don’t like the gun control laws. You should look at the book by Colin Woodard (a prizewinning journalist — he doesn’t turn out “reams of paper”) and he describes how Yankeedom (where I live ) is totally different from where my brother raised his 4 kids or my sister raised her 6 in CA. I am still proud to be from Yankeedom and the values we share… but Colin describes 11 separate and individual segments each with its own values . Your one-size fits all doesn’t belong in my back yard in MA.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            I agree one-size-fits-all is not good. It’s an education model that was pioneered in MA with the Great Deluder Act and became the national norm for public education in the USA until the Common Schools movement, also in MA, in the 1830s onwards. The big push-back was child-centered education, also in MA, led by Francis Parker and ultimately championed by John Dewey. Diversity and pluralism in education means that we should create solutions that make sense for individuals and their families and their communities. Massachusetts is not a single community. There are many different systems and neighborhoods, as represented by the fact that MA has the 8th largest achievement gap in the USA. One of us, Jean, is defending “one size fits all” and other other is defending a system of educational pluralism and adaptation. If you want to understand the situation with charter schools IN MASSACHUSETTS, maybe look at the research of MA native Sue Dynarski or Teachers College specialist Sarah Cohodes. https://twitter.com/sarahcohodes/status/761983778390740992

          • jeanabeana

            you are totally misunderstanding what happened in MA… Do you have some resentment to the Commissioner from when you left? I know there was a lot of tension around the MEAP testing, the MCAS developments etc. We stacked hundreds of copies of the MEAP only to have it thrown out and all that waste when MCAS came along. I don’t call it the Deluder Act… I can give your references on what it truly was (about 1993?). But, see Sandra Stotsky’s articles about that time because I was out in the “hinterlands” and the “boonies” those cities that Boston politicians say have lost they functional purpose because we only house immigrants. Sandra Stotsky has written frequently about the curriculum frameworks and especially the ELA … there were serious battles nation wide on social studies etc. So maybe you were brutalized by some of that transitional period. But it is important to examine what good came from that era (as well as the negative)…. MA got higher test scores because we aligned the curriculum with NAEP; now if you consider NAEP to be a valid” curriculum” that might be ok in some respects but it is terribly narrow as a definition of “educational achievement”.

            It’s an education model that was pioneered in MA with the Great Deluder Act and became the national norm

            jeanhaverhill@aol.com

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Old Deluder acts were the acts in the 1600s that established the first public schools in America in the MA Bay Colony.

          • Mhmjjj2012

            So to “understand the situation with charter schools in Massachusetts Sue Dynarski Sue Dynarski Sue Dynarski

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Yes I’m saying it’s useful to look at academics who can compare information apples-to-apples rather than simply grabbing a snowball in the Senate as “proof” the global warming does not exist. But if you hate scientists go ahead. Trust your own eyes, look at the snow, and ignore the climate scientists. Go to the websites of the Department of Education and just download files and ignore complicating factors like the fact that charters in Massachusetts serve different and less affluent populations than average public schools.

          • Mhmjjj2012

            What are you talking about? How did global warming enter into our conversation? Seriously, how?

          • jeanabeana

            I had to make money from “consulting” etc… which you could call “speaking” I guess; when I go to school with a parent on an IEP I have NEVER charged them . And of course the volunteer work at the homeless shelter was gratis. …. we cannot do all pro bono work or the bills would not be paid. My pension is adequate (in the past the agreements were fair with school committees but the hatred of unions across the country has driven the current teaching force into borderline middle class just like the conditions in the U.S. service branches force the lower ranking personnel to go on food stamps and they can’t feed their families until they get a promotion to a higher rank.)

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Jean, my comments about Diane were not slander. Slander is, by definition, false. Diane has zero years of experience teaching in K12 schools and to my knowledge has no children in K12 public schools. She has done more than anyone in the country to make the education reform debate hyper-personalized and tribal, first on one side for decades and then on the other. She publishes books with Pearson of all people, and earns substantial income from those books and those speaking fees. She was an ardent reformer until the period of time described in Joel Klein’s book Lessons of Hope, at which point she became an ardent anti-reformer. That coincided with a shift in her personal celebrity / wealth and also the career situation of her life partner. None of which would matter much except that Diane has spent whole chapters of her books (and Mercedes has devoted whole books) to the provably false conspiracy theory attacks on people like John King and Arne Duncan and Barack Obama and Michelle Rhee, who between them have made a tiny fraction of what Diane has made and who between them have vastly more personal experience with public schools.

          • jeanabeana

            on personal email we can discuss your definitions of the lawyerly “slander” and then we could get to my definitions of what is “locker room talk” and what is criminal intent. but that is irrelevant to the discussion here.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Diane and Mercedes have both earned actual cash from actual books making actual claims that are damaging, negative, and mostly false about a movement of people including me who want to create more choice and professionalism in schools. My comments are all in response to that. My first piece about Diane, getting real about civility in education, is one of the links I sent you. Give that a skim before we discuss further and let me know what you think.

          • jeanabeana

            “http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/07/books/review-in-ordinarily-well-peter-d-kramer-goes-once-more-to-the-antidepressant-ramparts.html?_r=0 agreed; it will have to wait until after the election I am 6 days a week with the Haverhill Democratic City Committee and of course the phone banks and door – to door. Vote No on #2

          • jeanabeana

            only if you promise to look at the metrics of “effect size” and “number needed to treat” from the medical field….. also I have to read the comments by people who know of your current work in CA…. Linda

            July 30, 2016

            In Dimitri Melhorn’s bio. (partner in Vidinovo), his board membership in Sacramento-based Students First, is listed. The Walton-funded “74” site describes Mehlhorn as a “Democratic activist, donor and investor.” A link from the “Content” tab, at the Vidinovo

            webpage, has a Forbes article describing one of the education portfolio companies of Vidinovo.
            ———————————–

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Jean: I have no investments in K12 education, none whatsoever. This smear gets raised all the time and it’s one of the reasons I do not invest in K12 education. I’d also note that your references to people describing me have used many different versions of the spelling of my first and last name — it’s possible they are not really doing careful research. As for your other point, effect size matters, but I’m not sure the point you’re making.

          • jeanabeana

            She details all of this in her book; I was “with her” from the 70’s 80’s and gave her book on bilingual ed to the Principal of Wetherbee School in Lawrence (one of our poverty/immigrant cities) who was especially good with parents. I believe later Diane saw the consequences of Checkers Finn and his policies. At Finn’s famous establishment the put out “studies” that say “students in christian nations get higher test scores”.. I was livid and vehemently complained about that one. There is very little I like about Fordham and they play off the Fordham U. name which they certainly are not. I wrote to board members at F.I. telling them about the “study” and board member (a lawyer by the way) indicated he doesn’t get involved in the inner workings… So what do you have a Board for? That leads me to the charters who put their friends on the board… etc… etc etc

            That coincided with a shift in her personal celebrity / wealth and also the career situation of her life partner. None of which would matt er much except that Diane has spent whole chapters of her books (and Mercedes has devoted whole books) to the provably false conspiracy theory attacks on people like John King and Arne Duncan and Barack Obama and Michelle Rhee, who between them have made a tiny fraction of what Diane has made and who between them have vastly more personal experience with public schools.

            jeanhaverhill@aol.com

          • jeanabeana

            Reference: this book can be tedious; get an overall impression of how a fine professional (he treated one of the Kennedy sons) describes Big Pharma (which we call BigData in schools) and especially get his view of the math and statistics such as the two pages on Gene Glass (also used in educational research). Definitions of “Effect Size” and “Number Needed to Treat ” are two metrics we have to pay attention to in education as well as medicine and this is why the charter “research” studies are just so shabby and full of “allegiance bias”…. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/07/books/review-in-ordinarily-well-peter-d-kramer-goes-once-more-to-the-antidepressant-ramparts.html?_r=0

          • jeanabeana

            you need to answer this question… Is anyone paying you for your constant rebuttals? Your system is about rationing or resources. it was never about “choice” and it was never about the kids.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            I am not getting paid. I took a substantial pay cut to leave the private sector to work for StudentsFirst in 2010, and I’ve contributed financially to charters and pro-choice movements (including marriage equality, abortion rights, and school choice), and also my mom has a teachers’ union pension, so in every possible respect I am working against my own economic interests in advocating for this position.

          • jeanabeana

            so in addition to your buddies at McKiinsey you did work for Michelle Rhee? or you do work for the infamous Rhee and her husband?

            StudentsFirst is the charter school advocacy group founded by Michelle Rhee. (Johnson is also a major player in the school privatization movement.) The email that Johnson tried so hard to hide provides a reminder that he and Rhee went to Birmingham together to exploit the attention being given the 50th anniversary of bombing of the 16th Street Church. Amid the solemn commemorations of that seminal moment in the American civil rights movement, they co-hosted a town hall meeting promoting charter schools.” and this is how they play the “civil rights” game? it’s a photo op with no integrity. Look up the destruction of M. Rhee in Washington D.C. and why she should have been charged with criminal prosecution as her husband should for his doings.

            jeanhaverhill@aol.com

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Yes I worked for Michelle. I worked for her because I saw how she was destroyed in DC. I saw the AFT-funded website that they tried to hide and make anonymous until it was exposed by Politico. I saw the comments sections with trolls who made horrific sexual and racial slurs about her. Michelle represented a threat because she was a Democrat, a former teacher of color, who spent 3 years teaching and 7 years running a nonprofit to place public K12 teachers, thus her advocacy could not be dismissed as “the other tribe” as you and your allies are so desperately trying to do to the substantive arguments in favor of lifting the charter cap. That horrific series of attacks on her are why I quit my job to co-found StudentsFirst with her. And even after I left to return to the private sector I remained on the Board of Directors because I wanted to support the cause of using our schools to put students first. And, yes, it’s a civil rights issue when a majority nonwhite student population that’s been deliberately disenfranchised for over a century by a white-run school system continues to use lies to prevent students of color from having good choices.

          • jeanabeana

            please tell us about the test scores… was there cheating in D.C? teachers went to jail on one state for the cheating. How do you accommodate the destructive path of his workings? Was that the AFT and NEA falsely accusing him? I don’t think you bothered to look at Helen Ladd’s work on how the charter will “re-segregate” schools. … because you refuse to accept that . The idea of vouchers/charters was used during de-segregation to avoid what Johnson had worked through the legislature. Today , it is the competition of parents who want their child to be in the 1% and a child with cerebral palsy really makes their kid look god on the phony tests (that have no validity or reliability). There are many issues; rural/urban; poverty/affluence; social class (which is even a stronger indicator than “skin” colors)…. But what you are telling parents is not always the truth so you hide behind a slogan… It is still about rationing of resources (part of which would be funds) and I don’t think the school administrators created that. If you look at the school under Judge mandate in Boston the implication is “you don’t have to have an IEP or be proven defective in order to deserve resources for your education.” that is the broader issue and how the “pie ” gets divided up and that is politics. I also don’t think you looked at Galbraith “Economics and the Public Purpose” because that would dismantle your competitive “free market” voucher /ESA and charter solutions. Question #2 is not going to fix the broader issues that are complex and it is deceitful the way it is being sold to parents , voters and taxpayers.

          • jeanabeana

            In how many different states are you pushing this same agenda?

            here is what audits tell us; we need more audits by Suzanne Bump in MA….

            Education (USDOE): charter schools pose risks to federal funds

            An audit by the OIG of the USDOE states: “Charter schools and their management organizations pose a potential risk to federal funds…”
            Even though USDOE doesn’t have a handle on the “…waste, fraud and abuse, lack of accountability over federal funds and lack of assurances that the schools were implementing federal programs in accordance with federal requirements.”, USDOE continues to dole out millions to state education agencies and private charter companies for charter school expansion.
            It appears that USDOE is tolerating corruption in the charter industry.” this is being brought to you by Governor Baker, Sagan on the Board, Peyser the ed secretary…. this policy from Washington or state leadership is more corruption and fraud

            jeanhaverhill@aol.com

          • IdaHakk

            Dmitri you didn’t write the Question 2 to apply only to nonwhite and disadvantaged schools. Your ballot question would severely hurt towns that are 90% white and have average school districts. Towns where parents are not disadvantaged at all.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            JeanaBeana the “dark money” is either (a) individual contributions from donors who wish to remain anonymous to avoid harassment, which is the same for charters as for Planned Parenthood for the same reasons, or (b) the teachers unions which spend $700 million EVERY SINGLE YEAR on advocacy and use shenanigans like the documented shell company in Mayor Walsh’s case to overtly hide their outside influence. I’m not objecting to your personal involvement at any point, but I grew up in the Iron Triangle in Richmond, CA and have had many friends and families suffer through failing schools, and I know individual human beings on charter wait lists. If philanthropic donors are the only ones who will take the side of low-income parents in their fight for choice against the 85% white teachers union that funds anti-choice campaigns, then thank you to those donors. So let’s put aside the hypocrisy and selective outrage over “outsiders” and focus on the facts. The facts of these budgets have been well discussed and while individual city budgets are relevant, so are overall facts and independent analyses.

          • jeanabeana

            they had a chance with the legislature and they didn’t think they got enough concessions so they walked away…. (see Tracy O’Connell Novick source)
            when parents bring a petition signed by individuals and collected by volunteers they get the powerful Boston Lawyers to knock it of fthe table. This is political shenanigans.. There are no philanthropies I can name — they are all looking to siphon of profits from MA to pour into the hedge funds; same with the facetious “social impact bonds” they are using in juvenile justice to create “profits”… I don’t think it is reasonable for you to pull out the race card on the teachers… Boston administration has reduced the role models for men in particular who would be available to work with students so if the union ends up to be caucasian it’s because of the teachers that were fired. In the desegregation movement I applied in Virginia and the superintendent said to me “Our schools are inclusive our faculties are not”… Teachers of color in VA had to give up their teacher certificates in order to make room for causaian teachers. If i had realized at the time what was going on in 1962 I would have refused the job (if it displaced a person of color ). So please don’t make accusations about the ‘white” teachers…. I was only a union member for one or two years…. I taught before MA had unions and when I moved into curriculum supervision and evaluation the people in those roles were not union members. Why do you think the Mayors and the school committees are taking sides on Vote #2 no? because they are all caucasian? because they are fearful of unions? (i don’t think so). The superintendent I have known for 30 years said “I used to support charters but things have changed…. public school people cannot advocate for charters”….. because of this siphoning off of funds into “profits” like the Walton Foundaiton does. They bought the whole department of the University of Arkansas so they could push out their “wares ” “phony studies” about how vouchers, ESAs etc are better …. ]

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Jean, the idea that charters are “siphoning money for hedge funds” is an objectively false claim and ironically one that has been well-funded. The majority of charter schools in MA are net recipients of philanthropic contributions, and they are nonprofits. It would be literally mathematically impossible for hedge fund and finance industry doors to earn a financial return on their contributions to these charters. Ditto for the Walton Family Foundation — they spend about $100m per year on charter advocacy (about 1/7th of what unions spend), and they have literally no for-profit arm that could profit from the charters in MA. I am not a Walton fan, I think their advocacy on estate tax issues is bad for democracy, but I can do math. As for the “race card” you should be aware of the raw facts, Jean. Nearly 85% of MA teachers are white. From what I can tell, that is about the % of nonwhites on the MA charter wait lists, and many of the nonprofit chains at issue such as AchievementFirst are nonprofits that serve 95%+ nonwhite populations. The median MA teacher is white, highly educated, employed, and earns about $69k per year plus unusually good benefits. If they are great teachers, they *should* earn far more than that, but that’s not a normative reality that is an objective reality — those facts make them substantially wealthier and more powerful than the parents who are on charter wait lists. As for why so many mayors and school committees are taking sides against 2, I do believe that fear of unions is a big part of it. I have many friends who are Democrats in local politics and fear of the teachers unions is extremely strong; I had one friend who returned my check because he did not want the unions to see my name on his donor list because he thought it would cause him to lose office. This is not to say that they are saying one thing and believing another, necessarily, but as you know it’s hard to get someone to understand something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it.

          • jeanabeana

            see what Angus King, Independent says about “social impact bonds” and how they had to close the project at Rikers while now instituting it in special ed in the schools ; and the “hedge” fund that is risky and frisky will make profit off our special ed kids. That is what John Barranco did and if more charters bloom there will be 250 John Barrancos looking to fill their own pockets.

            Jean, the idea that charters are “siphoning money for hedge funds” is an objectively false claim and ironically one that has been well-funded.

            jeanhaverhill@aol.com

          • jeanabeana

            it is the Question #2 that I am opposed to; as the superintendent said “I used to support the charters but things have changed” and he no longer supports them. This question has not been thought through. The legislature worked on the issue and the charter types walked away from the discussion…. Then, when the PARENTS put through a petition on tests and commonness of core then the powerful lawyers and “philanthropists” bludgeoned their petition. I stood outside Market Basket and got signatures. The arrogance of Boston politicians who run there Department of Ed and the Governor’s ; it has been prevalent . Perhaps you never knew Greg Anrig but he was the last one I respected. Dave Driscoll wants to test all our kids on “grit” which is horrendous. And Antonucci stood with the powerful people/lawyers who knocked out the parents’ petition (that was not the union by the way). I have a good more substantive experience than you might expect AND I totally disagree with your political ideology. At Harvard i call him Schumpeter Peterson because he is pushing these “market” mechanisms through PEPG. That is the wrong paradigm so politically you and I are on opposite sides of the pole and I will not move my stance as long as you hold up this “free market” lie. Read “Waking the Frog” by the Canadian scentist and see why this paradigm doesn’t work. If you are in a hospital or a school , you can not treat the people the way you suggest ; if a grocery store goes out of business the lettuce can die on the shelf; I refuse to accept that about students. I don’t think I want to answer any more because I find your viewpoint deplorable.

            are net recipients of philanthropic contributions, and they are nonprofits.

            jeanhaverhill@aol.com

          • jeanabeana

            I trust the words of the Northampton Mayor in his 2017 budget statement because CEOs in Malden MA and in Haverhill MA having to do with finance have said the same thing to me personally.

            Note how he states the fact about funds lost to their City

            “In previous budget messages I have focused on the need for increased state support to lessen our increased reliance on property taxes to fund local government. The loss of state aid and concurrent increases in state charges to Northampton for charter school and school choice students remains one of the largest single factors affecting our ability to fund critical local services.

            Governor Baker’s proposed FY2017 state budget increases unrestricted local aid to cities and towns by 4.3% (a $174,229 increase for Northampton), but offers little in the way of increasing education funding for minimum-aid districts like ours or addressing the damaging fiscal impacts of charter schools. Northampton will spend almost $2.5 million in outgoing charter school tuition based on a projected Northampton charter school enrollment of 202 students. This is more funding that we currently allocate to any of our four elementary schools, which each serve between 230 and 330 students and have annual budgets of about $1.7 million. Overall net state aid to Northampton would actually decrease 0.8% under the Governor’s budget, so I am hopeful at the time of this writing that House and Senate plans to increase minimum Chapter 70 education funding will prevail in the final state budget so we can appropriate those additional resources to our schools in July. ”

            jeanhaverhill@aol.com

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Thanks for putting your email, Jean. Mine is dmitri@stanfordalumni.org if you want to correspond directly. It’s good that these conversations can be substantive rather than ad hominem. As for your mayor, I don’t mean to cast aspersions as I know many politicians are good people, but the vast majority of political statements about budgetary shortfalls place blame inappropriately because scapegoats are easier than real problems. I worked for the MA Department of Education as an independent consultant in 1995 and at the time, massive resources were often spent employing people whose contribution to students was marginal at best. I have heard that this remains a problem. But blaming funding shortfalls on that particular problem is dangerous because those people vote; indeed, they are often well compensated, well connected, and extremely active. The claim that Northampton will spend $2.5 million on 200 charter students may be true, but comparing it with elementary schools is suspicious as elementary schools are ALWAYS significantly less expensive than middle and high schools. The apples-to-apples comparison would be per-pupil expenditures on charter students vs. neighborhood schools on average, and those comparisons typically suggest that charters get less money than neighborhood schools.

          • pbomass

            Basic math shows that it will defund their schools, which I assume is why you haven’t bothered to challenge Don Gleason’s real life experience with that math. This math shows how reality differs from theory. No on 2 is arguing the reality and Yes on 2 is arguing theory, leading with the poor MTF study.

            Also, links to these polls or they don’t exist. Again the RISE act would’ve lifted the cap in some areas in exchange for reform and funding fixes, Yes on 2 choose to the ballot measure instead.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            PBOMASS, your position is not correct using either basic math nor complex math. The basic math is simple: charters get less money per pupil, while taking pupils who cost money, so on average they provide a fiscal benefit to the commonwealth. The complex math of your argument is that fixed costs and high-cost students make this net positive fiscal result a net negative in reality, but the experiences around the country show that is not necessarily the case — in many places, the competition spurred by charter schools has made ALL schools deliver better results and waste less administrative-level money.

          • pbomass

            Your assertion that the facts are otherwise doesn’t disprove Dan Gleason’s nicely walked through example below. The marginal costs to educate the students who left are generally minimal to none, thus providing a no benefit.

          • jeanabeana

            look at the Mayor of Northampton’s budget reports. I think you will see Dmitri is not correct; I know the Mayor of Haverhill and I support his view; Vote No on #2

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            PBOMass and JeanaBeana, are you really arguing that the marginal cost of educating an individual student is “minimal to none”? So, if a district has enrollment surge and asks taxpayers for additional funding, you’ll deny that funding? Or is the marginal cost only a one-way ratchet that goes up but not down?

          • jeanabeana

            so you are a friend of Michael Barber “Mehlhorn started his career at McKinsey & Company, ” pulling his scam to get millions for tests we don’t need. Selling to parents and taxpayers with fraud about “predictive validity” … those tests have no predictive validity at all; the further down you go in the grades/ages the less they predict anything at all… And then they sell snake oil to parents. When they do a report on Boston the NPR press release says: “close buildings and fire teachers”… That was the direct read on WBUR on the radio when the “study” came out. We are quite familiar with the damage by McKinsey and Michael Barber. I think there are two states left in his PARRC consortium? After all the money Arne Duncan gave him out of the R&D (precious funds with tremendous opportunity costs when he gives away the farm to Pearson). I am outraged and I am disgusted.

          • jeanabeana

            “yes on 2 choose the ballot measure instead.” they walked away from negotiations that the legislature could have done something about; so now their strategy is to destroy the governance of Mayors/School committees. There is a “:study ” going around saying the cities like mine have no longer a functional purpose and we only house immigrants with no manufacturing jobs … this is arrogant on the part of Governor, Peyser, Sagan, Mitchell Chester… etc. Knowing Worcester County and Essex County as I do I am very angy when they say we have no functional purpose — that is why they are trying to destroy our locally elected school committees.

          • jeanabeana

            you are choosing distractions; I taught in Virginia one year during the desegregation and civil rights era. Two of my friends who taught in a suburb were going into Boston twice a week to do tutoring ( Sarah and Sandy)… The parents from Boston school would come to the suburbs where I was teaching 2nd grade and ask questions about the teaching we were doing . The B.U. faculty offered “CityVerstiy” to reach out to the schools and teachers and parents in the area (this was the year of Kent State)… So you have no knowledge about my outrage and you are no one to criticize me.

          • Mhmjjj2012

            Good point about charter school performance in FL, OH, PA and MI. Anyone who wants to know the charter school agenda should visit the website of the very pro-charter group, The Center for Education Reform:
            – “The best charter laws do not limit the number of charter schools that can operate throughout the state. They also do not limit the number of students that can attend charter schools. Poorly written laws set restrictions on the types of charter schools allowed to operate (new starts, conversions, online schools), hindering parents’ ability to choose among numerous public schools. Strong charter school law allows many different types of groups to apply to open and start charter schools.”
            Translation: unlimited charter schools are good, for-profit charter schools are good while charter school laws designed to protect taxpayers are bad.
            – “A good charter law is one that automatically exempts charter schools from most of the school district’s laws and regulations.”
            Translation: A wild west approach to regulating charter schools is the best approach.
            – “A charter school needs to have control of its own finances to run efficiently. The charter school’s operators know the best way to spend funds, and charter law should reflect this need. Similarly, charter schools, as public schools, are entitled to receive the same amount of funds as all other conventional public schools.”
            Translation: Charter schools should have the same funding as public schools but not a similar student enrollment. That way charter schools have more money because their students have less costs while public schools will be left with more students with higher needs but less money to provide services.
            VOTE NO on Question 2.

          • jeanabeana

            a very good summary and true to the facts that I know about

          • Mhmjjj2012

            The only side fueled by deception is the pro-charter schools groups working for Question 2. I haven’t come across one good reason for more charter schools…not one. If you’d like to offer one then go ahead.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            The reason is they offer demonstrably, unequivocally superior education for students of color in urban settings, at a lower cost, and right now charter caps limit the expansion of the best charter schools, leaving tens of thousands of low-income students of color facing much worse life chance.

          • Mhmjjj2012

            There are 78 charter schools operating in Massachusetts. Ten of those charter schools are operating under conditions or are on probation. Let’s keep it simple, name fifteen. ..just fifteen charter schools in Massachusetts that “offer demonstrably, unequivocally superior education for students of color in urban settings.” Those charter schools should have students reflective of their sending public schools in English Language Learners, low income and special education to make a fair comparison. Good Luck.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            Table 1 in the attached has a list. That’s just high schools. Many more discussed in the hyperlinked studies. http://www.nber.org/papers/w19275.pdf

          • Mhmjjj2012

            You stated charter schools “offer demonstrably, unequivocally superior education for students of color in urban settings,” I asked you to name fifteen charter schools in Massachusetts offering such an education and you refer me to a table that compares “Boston School Characteristics” such as number of years open, days per year, proportion of teachers 32 and younger, proportion of teachers 49 and older? And it’s in a “Working Paper” financed in part by pro-charter schools New Schools Venture Fund? Seriously? You can’t do better than that? VOTE NO on Question 2.

          • Dmitri Mehlhorn

            The appendix to the paper LISTS THE SCHOOLS. Seriously, do I have to actually read it out loud? Do I need to attach an audio file? And the researchers are some of the most respected in the field and their report gets praise from all sides of the debate, so your drive-by shots at the New School Venture Fund (which is unfair for many reasons) doesn’t really matter — especially not when your question was for the names of the schools.

          • Mhmjjj2012

            It’s odd you didn’t simply list the Massachusetts charter schools offering “demonstrably, unequivocally superior education for students of color in urban settings.” Instead you offered a link to a pro-charter schools New Venture Fund financed report telling me to look at Table 1 that had nothing about academics. It was about the age of teachers and other who cares stuff. Then you refer me to the pro-charter schools report’s Appendix which isn’t included in the report but a web address for the Appendix is provided in the report that goes to nowhere. Until you back up your comments with specific Massachusetts charter schools that’s as far as I’m going with that. As I stated below and you didn’t respond, the “research” you cited was financed in part by the New Schools Venture Fund… a nonprofit whose mission also includes financing studies that always seem to show charter schools in a positive light. If you have a problem with union sponsored studies then I would expect you would have similar problems with New Schools Venture Fund backed studies. But let’s take a look at that “research:” It’s dated July 2013 and based on a sample “limited to charter applicants who applied for a charter school seat from Fall 2002 through Fall 2009.” So it’s not even current but that’s not all. It notes “A defining feature of Massachusetts’ successful urban charter schools appears to be adherence to No Excuses pedagogy.” Once 60% out-of-charter school suspension rates became public knowledge that particular approach in education was certainly called into question. Also, “Table 2 compares charter applicants with the full sample of traditional BPS 9th graders…Applicants tend to have higher baseline test scores than the traditional BPS population… Limited English proficient students are under represented among charter applicants, but the proportion of applicants identified as qualifying for special education services is almost as high among applicants as in the traditional BPS population.” So the charter schools applicants were not reflective of public school students having higher baseline scores, fewer English language learners and special education students. VOTE NO on Question 2.

    • Dan Gleason

      Well said. I wrote my comment before I read this. You touch on many of the same points the Yes people either don’t understand or disregard. And in some cases blatantly lie.

      • Mhmjjj2012

        The facts don’t support more charter schools so advocates for more charter schools have to ignore facts, make new facts up and outright lie. That’s why charter schools advocates focus on “choice,” “lift the cap,” “the money follows the student” and personal charter schools stories.

        • Dmitri Mehlhorn

          MHMJJJ2012: the facts on charter schools in MA are incontrovertible. Please read this study from NBER and read all of the studies hyperlinked therein: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19275

          • Mhmjjj2012

            The “research” you cited was financed in part by the New Schools Venture Fund… a nonprofit whose mission also includes financing studies that always seem to show charter schools in a positive light. If you have a problem with union sponsored studies then I would expect you would have similar problems with New Schools Venture Fund backed studies. But let’s take a look at that “research:” It’s dated July 2013 and based on a sample “limited to charter applicants who applied for a charter school seat from Fall 2002 through Fall 2009.” So it’s not even current but that’s not all. It notes “A defining feature of Massachusetts’ successful urban charter schools appears to be adherence to No Excuses pedagogy.” Once 60% out-of-charter school suspension rates became public knowledge that particular approach in education was certainly called into question. Also, “Table 2 compares charter applicants with the full sample of traditional BPS 9th graders…Applicants tend to have higher baseline test scores than the traditional BPS population… Limited English proficient students are under represented among charter applicants, but the proportion of applicants identified as qualifying for special education services is almost as high among applicants as in the traditional BPS population.” So the charter schools students were not reflective of public school students as far as English language learners and special education students. VOTE NO on Question 2.

      • Dmitri Mehlhorn

        Dan and PBOMass, the Washington Post “multi-person team” consists of the NEPC, a think tank that is funded almost entirely by the unions and tends to come to conclusions that are different from those found by independent scholars at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Dartmouth, and other institutes. The results of charters in MA for low-income students of color are now incontrovertible — denying it is like denying climate science by posting studies from the Petroleum Institute. That question is simply not open to fact-based debate.

        Now, you post another comment about the problem of “fixed costs” vs. variable costs and use that to claim that a growth of charters will ultimately hurt the fiscal sustainability of neighborhood schools. This is a plausible argument but I’d urge you to consider three things:

        (1) Other school districts have been able to expand charters while improving neighborhood schools. Washington DC for instance has 44% of their kids in charters.

        (2) MA has a particularly generous compensation package to make sure that traditional schools don’t suffer as charters expand.

        (3) The “no” vote is concentrated in suburban and affluent areas with few charters, while the “yes” vote is concentrated among urban areas. In other words, the places that don’t have any reason of bumping up against the cap are the ones that are pushing to keep the cap in place.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    No, the Question 2 vote is not “inconsequential” for voters living in suburban and rural communities. The ballot question doesn’t limit new charter schools to urban areas. In fact, there has to be more than 12 applications in a single year from qualified applicants, before priority is given to proposed charter schools or enrollment expansions in districts where student performance on statewide assessments is in the bottom 25% of all districts in the previous two years and where demonstrated parent demand for additional public school options is greatest. When the very first sentence of a commentary is factually incorrect then you know there will be problems with the rest of the commentary. VOTE NO on Question 2.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    Why didn’t this professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at least mention the Foundation Budget…the mechanism the state uses to distribute local aid to public schools? Then he’d have to acknowledge a one year old report found there is more than a $1 billion shortfall in those funds. Among the categories underfunded are English language learners, low income and special education. Nothing has been done to fully fund the Foundation Budget in the year since that report was released. Also, this professor of education did not write one word about the fact the twelve years spanning 2003-2015 shows an increased enrollment in special education of 9,856 students or 6.35% and number of special ed students with severe disabilities is increasing. If special education is underfunded by the state and more students are in need of special education services then what does that mean for public school districts? Charter school proponents simply can’t make the case for more charter schools based on real facts and especially not based on the full facts. The public deserves an informed debate on public education…it’s too bad this professor of education didn’t contribute to it. VOTE NO on Question 2.

    • Dan Gleason

      You make the case why the “4% of students in charters, so 4% of state funding” argument is ridiculous. The demographics are very different, especially in SPED. Most charters do not offer programs to take care of the more serious cases. And no out of district placements are paid for by the charter, even if the student was in the charter when the out of district placement was determined. The student is returned to the home district for that. Therefore, funding the average district is more expensive than the average charter, meaning equal funding as a % of state budget is a loss for districts.

      • Mhmjjj2012

        That brings up another problem that I haven’t seen talked about. As public schools have an increase in higher cost students then doesn’t that benefit charters with receiving more money from public schools based on those higher average costs? However, since charter schools don’t have students with those higher costs then isn’t that the ultimate death spiral for public schools while charter schools receive an increasing per student windfall?

  • Mhmjjj2012

    Guess who funded Professor Kane’s study referenced in his commentary? The pro-charter schools nonprofit, The Boston Foundation. Unlike the recent Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation report financed by pro-charter schools, The Boston Foundation, Professor Kane’s study has “The Boston Foundation” plastered twice on page one…seven times on page two…once on page three…then four times on page five! And then The Boston Foundation shows up in the study’s bibliography…twice. When was Professor Kane’s study done? January 2009. That’s right. Professor Kane had to reach all the way back to his 2009 study trying to make his case. VOTE NO on Question 2.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    What’s interesting about Professor Kane’s January 2009 study was its “Caveats.” One of those caveats was “…indicators for participation in special education and limited English proficiency…may disguise large differences in student groups. Special education students range from those needing intensive all day services to students needing a little extra time in a resource room. English learners may know no English at all or have some proficiency. It is possible that Pilot and Charter Schools serve different proportions of these subgroups…” Gee whiz wouldn’t that make a big difference in the study’s results? VOTE NO on Question 2.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    Regarding English language learners and special education students in charter schools, a few days ago The Lowell Sun ran an article, “Expanded Lowell charter school meets state rules, but lags in special-ed, English Language Learners,” detailing the student demographics for the Collegiate Charter School of Lowell: 13% English Language Learners, 6% students with disabilities and 39.1% economically disadvantaged. Those percentages are well below the Lowell Public School District’s 25% ELL, 15.5% students with disabilities and 50.4% were economically disadvantaged. First wouldn’t those lower percentages of students with higher needs give an advantage in test scores to charter schools? Second, the Collegiate Charter School of Lowell receives average per student funding but doesn’t have the Lowell public schools average student costs. That means Collegiate Charter gets more money per student while each student arrives at its doors with less costs which leaves Lowell’s public schools with a higher percentage of students with higher costs but less funding. So how does the Lowell School District “right-size its staffing and facilities to reflect its smaller size?” It can’t. VOTE NO on Question 2.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    As far as “Until two years ago, the state appropriated all the necessary funds to reimburse districts for such transition costs. However, in the most recent two fiscal years, the state covered only about two-thirds of the cost of those reimbursements” is concerned, that charter schools reimbursement hasn’t been fully funded since FY2012. That means for five straight years the governor and state legislature did not meet their obligations to the local public school districts. That shouldn’t be surprising because the governor and state legislature didn’t meet their obligation to fully fund the Foundation Budget…the mechanism distributing education aid to local public school districts. VOTE NO on Question 2.

    • Dan Gleason

      Exactly. We can’t afford the charters we have now or the foundation budget would be properly funded as would charter reimbursement, regional transportation reimbursement, etc. Fix the financing, then we can talk about the cap.

      • Mhmjjj2012

        The problem with fixing public school financing first is then there will be no need for charter schools. Given the Foundation Budget hasn’t been fully funded, the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s recommendations were ignored, the charter school reimbursement shorted both in its formula and funding and the kindergarten grants cut, it must be all about undermining public schools and making charter schools appear as a more viable option…especially with the question on the ballot. Otherwise it doesn’t make any sense to deliberately shortchange public schools as systematically as they have been.

        • jeanabeana

          I can certainly agree with this as accurate and truthful. Today Diane Ravitch has a new post on MA… this is a paragraph. ” Big campaign contributions guarantee political allies, even Democrats, despite the fact that school choice has always been a beloved Republican policy, despite the fact that it promotes segregation, despite the fact that it was the rallying cry of southern segregationists after the Brown decision.” So I hope Dmitri won’t lecture me again on civil rights. Also, see Ladd’s work on how North Carolina has re-segregated the schools with “charters/choices/vouchers” this is what Barbara Madeloni refers to as a a tow-tiered system.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    If you want more information on charter schools but don’t have time or know where to begin just go on YouTube and search “More Charter Schools? The Massachusetts Vote and the National Debate” for a video of a debate on Question 2 held on 9/27/2016. It’s worth the time to become informed. VOTE NO on Question 2.

    • jeanabeana

      here is what happens in Malden…

      All told, the Malden Public Schools will pay about $9.8 million in tuition for charter school students in Fiscal 2016, via money taken out of the district’s state aid package. The district is projected to get back around $1.8 million from the state in reimbursements for a net cost of $8.4 million, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

      Since Fiscal 1996, when the first charters in the state were born, school districts in Massachusetts have paid a net cost to charter schools of over $3.3 billion.

  • Dan Gleason

    The author clearly does not understand how reimbursement works. I suggest this article, especially the section “What is the Charter Reimbursement Formula?”

    http://www.massbudget.org/report_window.php?loc=Charter-School-Funding,-Explained.html

    This passage specifically is wildly off base:

    “…the state law seeks to soften the transition, by paying both the district and the charter school for the first year after a student has left and by continuing to reimburse the district for one quarter of the students’ cost for the subsequent five years. In other words, taxpayers pay twice for the student in the year of the transfer and one and a quarter times for each of the subsequent five years.”

    First, reimbursement is not based on the cost of a student. Second, it does not cover all tuition being paid out to charters.

    Rather, it is based on the TOTAL amount of charter tuition a district is paying. The cost of an individual student does not factor into the reimbursement formula. This is because reimbursement is paid ONLY ON ANY ANNUAL INCREASE in tuition over the prior year.

    For example, District A paid $100,000 in tuition last year. This year total tuition is $125,000. First year 100% reimbursement is paid on the $25,000 increase only, not the $125,000.

    Therefore, the year 2 reimbursement at 25% is $6250, 25% of $25,000.

    Let’s also say in year 3 that charter enrollment dropped and the district only owes $110,000. More kids graduated than left anew, or a few came back to the district. They get no reimbursement for this year because tuition did not increase ($110,000 is less than $125,000). It’s a sliding six year formula, so they still collect 5 total years of $6250 for the $25,000 increase, but they get zero reimbursement for the year the tuition fell despite still paying out $110,000.

    So after three years they paid $100,000, $125,000, and $110,000 or $335,000. Reimbursement is $25,000, $6250, and $6250 or $37,500. About 11-12% of what it paid out came back in reimbursement and the net loss to the district is $297,500. This is a far cry than the 225% Marc Kenen and the Yes on 2 people promote because they do not understand how it works.

    And because revenues and costs do not move linearly in a school district (there are fixed costs and variable costs that move slowly), little to no cuts can be made to the budget. At ~$100k a year in tuition, that is about 6-8 kids. Even if they’re all in the same grade (they’re most often not), that’s not enough to cut a teacher or support staff.

    It gets even more complex, which is why these type of articles and the letter Marc Kenen is sending around kill me.

    And this assumes the reimbursement account under MGL Chapter 46 is fully funded, which brings me to the next error:

    “Until two years ago, the state appropriated all the necessary funds to reimburse districts for such transition costs. However, in the most recent two fiscal years, the state covered only about two-thirds of the cost of those reimbursements.”

    Actually, the fund has not been fully funded for 5 consecutive fiscal years. The first two were ~95%, but the next two as the author states were at 2/3rds and this year FY 17 it’s under 60%.

    Then there’s this:

    “When students choose to attend charter schools, a school district suffers a loss in enrollment, analogous to having its geographic boundaries redrawn. However, it maintains the same property values and ability to raise revenue as before. Eventually, a school district must right-size its staffing and facilities to reflect its smaller size. But successful districts come in all sizes. Once the adjustment is made, there’s no reason to believe that the school district will be any less viable.”

    First, as mentioned, there is a disparity between decreasing revenue and what you can do with the cost side. You need to lose 100s of kids to make cuts. We were losing 104 about 6 years ago, most 7-12 but some in 1-6 as well. Our class sizes just move between 20 and 30 depending upon how many leave in a given year. No where near enough to cut staff, materials, close a building, etc. Costs remained about the same while we absorbed $1 million in charter tuition.

    As a district shrinks, many things become less viable as you’re losing money, so you start to cut programming,
    especially in the extracurricular area (football teams especially shrink and go away or merge and co-op with another district that is also shrinking) and elective type courses, where it’s hard to justify a teacher with 6 kids in a music, art, or drama class.

    And despite what the author says, many kids are among the better academically, so test scores begin to go down. And with a smaller student population, just a few kids scoring poorly drag the average scores down, especially in sub groups. So the district begins to look poor in MCAS scores, rankings, etc. Less people want to move into the town. New homes are not being built. Property values go down.

    How do I know this? I lived it. Our district was becoming not viable. The middle/high and elementary schools were nearly 50 years old, so we were going to need significant taxpayer investment in the buildings. The high school especially was bleeding kids to charter, voke tech, and choice. So we regionalized with a neighboring K-8 district, not an easy process in the Commonwealth where there is no money for the significant transition costs that are encountered. We merged middle schools since the neighbor had a fairly new MS. We passed a debt exclusion to add to and renovate the high school.

    Kids started staying. HS enrollment went from 307 to 420 in 6 years, with 440 expected next year. Overall district enrollment is also up because less families leave at lower grades too, as some used to secure a spot in a high school in another district when the child was older.

    Charter tuition declined from $1.2 million to $850,000, 104 kids to 71. However, going back to reimbursement, because enrollment is falling, we get no reimbursement. This year we’re getting $2901. Not a typo. On a net bill of $850,000.

    But we’re a victim of our success. Less kids leave via choice and voke tech now too. But educating 420 high school kids costs more than 307. We start down almost $1 million due to charter tuition, and then the state does not meet its obligations. See the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) study that says SPED and health care alone are underfunded by $1.2 billion due to the antiquated (1993) formula). Then regional transportation reimbursement is never fully funded, often in the 60-something % area. The state also cut a K grant this year, nearly wiping out any gains we got in Ch 70.

    Fortunately, our towns see what we’re doing and stand behind us, but it’s not easy for them. We’re hitting them with 5% assessment increases, more than the 1-3% increases most districts seem to be getting based on what I read in the press. One of out two towns was very close to proposing an override this year to cover the school assessment and other municipal cost increases.

    If we were truly reimbursed for charter tuition, or it was fully funded in recent years when we were getting some, that would help. Remember it’s a 6 year scale, so we had some decent reimbursement owed for charter students that left 6-8 years ago before the turnaround.

    So if another charter was approved in our area, or the existing local one was allowed to expand, who knows what would happen to us? Remember, the state approves charters, not the local community. Ask Brockton. And as we learned from Brockton, the state process does not consider local need, just if the applicant has a good application and plan. Brockton is doing just fine. They are not a level 4 or 5, in the bottom of the percentiles where Question 2 says that’s the “priority” area for new schools, but it does not say they will only go in those areas. Anyone who thinks they can do a better job than us can apply and start another charter next door when it is not needed.

    All of the author’s data points are based on Boston. Then work on a solution to Boston’s problems. Question 2 is a statewide ballot. It will have impact everywhere.

    This is why I am against Question 2. They state cannot afford the charters it has now. If it could, it would fully fund reimbursement. More will just exacerbate the problem. If the state wants more charters, it needs to increase state aid to ALL public schools, starting with the FBRC. Once that is done, we can look at the charter cap. Until then, Question 2 is a non starter.

    • pbomass

      This is the best explanation of the reimbursements formula’s mechanics and shortfall I’ve seen. Thank you for sharing.

      FBRC needs to be fixed so MA schools aren’t underfunded by $1-2 billion dollars. Then we need to have a honest debate if we want to double the fixed costs of our entire school system AND shoulder the tax increase that goes with that.

  • Monty Neill

    This piece is by the same Tom Kane who heavily promotes using student test scores to judge teachers, a method repeatedly found to be highly inaccurate and unfair.

  • Anna Cordeiro

    Curiously, there is no mention of suspension or expulsion rates of charters vs public schools in this article. I wonder why? Vote NO on 2.

    • Dmitri Mehlhorn

      Anna, if you look at total attrition charters actually perform better than traditional public schools. Neighborhood schools get students to leave in more subtle ways, but the effects are just as damaging. You can find links to that from the research that Nat Malkus has done.

      • Anna Cordeiro

        I’ll just leave this snapshot of the latest DESE report for your perusal. Vote NO on 2. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a279c3ca2173fe8eafcf2e16e73b6b9f743dda2ce9e074f6bc036a2104c298b8.png

        • Dmitri Mehlhorn

          Anna, your link makes my point. It says that attrition rates are lower in charters. That’s the point. That means charters keep more kids.

          • pbomass

            It’s important to note that DESEs retention stats only track those who leave over the summer. To see true retention you have to track cohorts year to year. A good amount of kids leaving charters are doing so mid year.

  • jeanabeana

    Mercedes shows the centrality of school choice to the segregationist diehards in the South in the 1950s and 1960s.

    There is a terrible irony in the fact that today’s advocates of school choice claim to be fighting for civil rights when they are promoting racial segregation. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would not have allowed them to get away with this deceptive rhetoric.

    Ultican notes that school choice has encouraged not only racial segregation, but class segregation as well””

    Schneider’s book is the go-to book to understand the current vogue for vouchers and charters, as well as public ignorance of the ways that charter operators scam public funds. The most lucrative angle is in real estate; the charter operator buys the building, rents it to his charter school, charges double the going rate, and passes the bill to taxpayers.

    Ultican urges you to buy the book, read it, and share it with friends.
    I know how John Barranco scammed public funds; he bought buildings and rented the buildings; he had his “friends on the board” vote his salary and his girlfriend’s salary up each year; they had a computer (that was initially donated by Digital) and they “sold” those resources. They hired aides who often were not certified…. but paid lower salary. It was never about the kids during his tenure it was about his profits (his girl friends; his two homes) google Barranco in the Globe and also google who he was related to . Barranco wanted to be Commissioner and when he didn’t get appointed he left a trail of a hurricane from Ipswich to Groton to Billerica…

  • Jack Covey

    The latest is that over $21.7 million of out-of-state money from the most
    ruthless capitalists who have ever walked the Earth — Eli Broad, the Walton
    family of Walmart, Wall Street hedge fund managers, etc. — is pouring into
    Massachusetts to pass Question 2.

    Read this well-researched article here for that $21.7 million figure:

    https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/ma-question-2-funding-hits-21-7-million/

    These profit-minded plutocrats who are pumping in this money obviously …

    — do not live in Massachusetts,

    — have no children, grandchildren, or other relatives that attend public
    schools in Massachusetts

    — have never given a sh#% about the education of middle or lower income until
    recently, when they realized they could make a buck off privatizing
    Massachusetts schools via the expansion of privately-run charter schools,.

    They want to these corporate charter schools to replace truly public schools
    — the ones that, for generations, have been accountable and transparent to
    the public via democratically elected school boards, and which are mandated to
    educate ALL of the public… including those hardest or most difficult to
    educate … special ed., English Language Learners, homeless kids, foster care
    kids, kids with difficult behavior arising from distressed home lives.

    Are proponents of Question 2 seriously making the argument that out-of-state
    billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers are pumping in all this money
    because those folks care so much about the education of kids in Massachusetts?
    You really think they are NOT seeking a big money return on these ($21.7
    million campaign donations?

    Does that pass the smell test?

    Can you provide an example of JUST ONE TIME in the past where they poured in
    this kind of cash to something … no strings attached, and with no expectations
    of return?

    If, as Q 2 supporters like Marty Walz claim, the most ruthless capitalists that
    have ever walked the Earth are now kicking in this kind of cash to pass
    Question 2 merely because they care about children’s education —

    … and if they are not about their profiting through the privatization of
    public schools brought about by the expansion of privately-run charter schools,

    … then I’m sure one of you Q 2 supporters could google and find a past example
    where they have done something similar .. .again out of generosity… with no
    expectation of an eventual monetary return…

    Something like …

    “Well, back in 2000-something, or 1900-something, these same folks donated
    $20 million to the (INSERT CHARITABLE CAUSE HERE). Here’s the link that proves
    this.”

    No, I didn’t think so. When this was brought up in a debate, Mary Walz
    refused to address it, saying, “We need to talk about the kids, not the
    adults.” Well, keeping money-motivated scum from raping and
    pillaging Massachusetts public schools IS CARING ABOUT THE KIDS, Marty!

    So the real question is:

    To whom do the schools of Massachusetts belong? The citizens and parents who
    pay the taxes there?

    Or a bunch of money-motivated out-of-state billionaires and Wall Street hedge
    fund managers who are trying to buy them via Question 2, and the expansions of
    privately-managed charter schools which they control, or also profit from their
    on-line and digital learning products that will be sold to these charter school
    chains?

    If you believe the former, THEN FOR GOD’S SAKE, VOTE “NO” ON QUESTION 2.

    Send them a message: Massachusetts schools are NOT FOR SALE!!!

  • Jack Covey

    The latest is that over $21.7 million of out-of-state money from the most ruthless capitalists who have ever walked the Earth — Eli Broad, the Walton family of Walmart, Wall Street hedge fund managers, etc. — is pouring into Massachusetts to pass Question 2.

    Read this well-researched article here for that $21.7 million figure:

    https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/ma-question-2-funding-hits-21-7-million/

    These profit-minded plutocrats who are pouring in this money obviously …

    — do not live in Massachusetts,

    — have no children, grandchildren, or other relatives that attend public schools in Massachusetts

    — have never given a sh#% about the education of middle or lower income until recently, when they realized they could make a buck off privatizing Massachusetts schools via the expansion of privately-run charter schools,.

    They want to these corporate charter schools to replace truly public schools — the ones that, for generations, have been accountable and transparent to the public via democratically elected school boards, and which are mandated to educate ALL of the public… including those hardest or most difficult to educate … special ed., English Language Learners, homeless kids, foster care kids, kids with difficult behavior arising from distressed home lives.

    Are proponents of Question 2 seriously making the argument that out-of-state billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers are pumping in all this money because those folks care so much about the education of kids in Massachusetts?

    You really think they are NOT seeking a big money return on these ($21.7 million campaign donations?

    Does that pass the smell test?

    Can you provide an example of JUST ONE TIME in the past where they poured in this kind of cash to something … no strings attached, and with no expectations of return?

    If, as Q 2 supporters like Marty Walz claim, the most ruthless capitalists that have ever walked the Earth are now kicking in this kind of cash to pass Question 2 merely because they care about children’s education —

    … and if they are not about their profiting through the privatization of public schools brought about by the expansion of privately-run charter schools,

    … then I’m sure one of you Q 2 supporters could google and find a past example where they have done something similar .. .again out of generosity… with no expectation of an eventual monetary return…

    Something like …

    “Well, back in 2000-something, or 1900-something, these same folks donated $20 million to the (INSERT CHARITABLE CAUSE HERE). Here’s the link that proves this.”

    No, I didn’t think so. When this was brought up in a debate, Mary Walz refused to address it, saying, “We need to talk about the kids, not the adults.” Well, keeping money-motivated scum from raping and pillaging Massachusetts 200 year-old public school system IS CARING ABOUT THE KIDS, Marty!

    So the real question is:

    To whom do the schools of Massachusetts belong? The citizens and parents who pay the taxes there?

    Or a bunch of money-motivated out-of-state billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers who are trying to buy them via Question 2, and the expansions of privately-managed charter schools which they control, or also profit from their on-line and digital learning products that will be sold to these charter school chains?

    If you believe the former, THEN FOR GOD’S SAKE, VOTE “NO” ON QUESTION 2.

    Send them a message: Massachusetts schools are NOT FOR SALE!!!

  • PhillipMarlowe

    It is rather amusing, but very dangerous for Mr. Kane to trash around like this, citing some supposed study that proves unicorns exist.
    To examine the claim that charter schools are better than public schools, one need go no further than New Orleans.
    A total charter school system for a decade.
    What do we find.
    Are these students and schools the best in the country?
    No.
    Can Mr Kane argue that the lowest performing charter school in New Orleans is the best in the state and country. No.
    As Michelle Rhee’s friend, colleague/ ideological twin Kaya Henderson (Rhee’s successor in the District of Columbia) said:
    But when Payne persisted with a question about Henderson’s “personal goal of closing achievement gaps,” the chancellor explained: “I am not exactly convinced that schools alone can close the achievement gap. I think about the fact that in Washington, D.C., we have the greatest income inequality in the country. That gap is only growing, and the fact that our achievement gap is growing in a similar way shouldn’t be baffling. But I think what we’ve learned is that equity is really more appropriate, giving different people different kinds of support…And for different groups and different kids that means different things.”
    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/article/20835261/left-behind-how-kaya-henderson-failed-atrisk-dcps-students

    • Dmitri Mehlhorn

      No, charters alone cannot fix every problem. But New Orleans is vastly better off than it was before. Check out the Doug Harris research in Tulane.

      • PhillipMarlowe

        Sorry Dmitri, that doesn’t cut it.
        As evidenced in New Orleans, charter schools have not raised the achievement level to that of the best of the country, and they never will.

  • jeanabeana

    The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education has issued a warning that charter schools pose a risk to the Department of Education’s own goals. The report says: “Charter schools and their management organizations pose a potential risk to federal funds even as they threaten to fall short of meeting the goals.” The report documents multiple cases of financial risk, waste, fraud, abuse, lack of accountability of federal funds, and lack of proof that the schools were implementing federal programs in accordance with federal requirements.

    Across the nation, who is pushing these private charter schools backed by billionaires allowed to divert hundreds of millions of public school tax dollars away from educating America’s children and into private corporate pockets? “Why are hedge funds the biggest promoters of charter schools?”

    From LA Times : “the only serious scrutiny that charter operators typically get is when they are issued their right to operate, and then five years later when they apply for renewal.” Without needed oversight of what charter schools are actually doing with the public’s tax dollars, hundreds of millions of tax money that is supposed to be spent on educating the public’s children is being siphoned away into private pockets. —————————-how Barranco siphoned off millions from his “special school” you can google the Boston Globe; I can get my experience with his “special school ” notarized as testimony.

    One typical practice of charter schools is to pay exorbitant rates to rent buildings that are owned by the charter school board members or by their proxy companies which then pocket the public’s tax money as profit. Another profitable practice is that although charter schools use public tax money to purchase millions of dollars of such things as computers, the things they buy with public tax money become their private property and can be sold by them for profit…and then use public tax money to buy more, and sell again, and again, and again, pocketing profit after profit.

    The Washington State and New York State supreme courts and the National Labor Relations Board have ruled that charter schools are not public schools because they aren’t accountable to the public since they aren’t governed by publicly-elected boards and aren’t subdivisions of public government entities, in spite of the fact that some state laws enabling charter schools say they are government subdivisions.

    Charter schools are clearly private schools, owned and operated by private entities. Nevertheless, they get public tax money. Moreover, as the NAACP and ACLU have reported, charter schools are often engaged in racial and economic-class discrimination.

    Charter schools should (1) be required by law to be governed by school boards elected by the voters so that they are accountable to the public; (2) a charter school entity must legally be a subdivision of a publicly-elected governmental body; (3) charter schools should be required to file the same detailed public-domain audited annual financial reports under penalty of perjury that genuine public schools file; and, (4) anything a charter school buys with the public’s money should be the public’s property.

    NO FEDERAL MONEY SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO GO TO CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT FAIL TO MEET THESE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE PUBLIC. Hillary Clinton could, if elected President, on day one in office issue an Executive Order to the Department of Education to do just that. Tell her today to do that! Send her the above information to make certain she knows about the Inspector General’s findings and about the abuses being committed by charter schools.

    • Dmitri Mehlhorn

      This varies by charter authorizer and by charter. It flatly does not apply to the MA charter sector, at all .

  • Peter Cunningham

    The evidence for lifting the cap has never been clearer. Boston has the best charter schools in the country and a waiting list of parents desperate to enroll their children. The argument that charters take money from district schools is silly and the notion that district schools should be held harmless even if kids stop attending is even sillier. Parents have the right to choose the best school for their kids. That’s what people with money do: they move to a wealthy community or they choose private schools. Charters provide the same choices for low-income parents. The idea that middle-class whites will deny low-income Blacks and Hispanics the same educational freedoms they enjoy is shameful. What is especially shocking is that it is happening in a state that prides itself on its progressive values.

    • Jack Covey

      It’s interesting to read a pro-Question-2 article on The74 written by David Osborne…

      http://the74million.org/article/a-note-to-massachusetts-progressives-remember-that-it-was-democrats-who-embraced-charter-schools

      … in which the author, unlike you Peter, readily admits and agrees with charter school / Question 2 critics that yeah, when students leave traditional public schools for charters, it DOES impose a great funding hardship on public schools, because when the money leaves with the students, the schools still have all those fixed costs to cover, but less money with which to cover those same csts.

      However, unlike charter critics, he says, “Tough luck. public schools. Learn how to suck it up, and make cuts to survive that hardship.” Here’s the exact quote:

      —————————
      DAVID OSBORNE:

      “The
      districts and unions complain that they have fixed costs, like heating
      and electricity, and when a child departs, their fixed costs remain the
      same. Welcome to the real world! That’s true of every business and
      nonprofit in America, but we don’t subsidize them or limit their
      competition. We expect them to figure out how to cut their costs or
      attract more customers.”
      ———————————

      I gotta give Ozzie Osborne his props for honesty here. He’s readily and candidly admitting that when Question 2 passes, it will harm the funding of pre-existing public schools, but instead of accepting that as a solid argument against Question 2, he instead … “figure out how to cut (your) costs and attract more customers.”

      This is most definitely not the Party Line from the YES on 2 overlords; that’s for sure.

      However, here in L.A., we went through that such “cost-cutting” during the years 2009-2012, and it was a freaking bloodbath, from which we’re only now recovering fully. Massive layoffs (called RIF’s), class sizes went sky-high. College student teacher aides disappeared. We took 10% annual paycuts to save some, but not all of our colleagues’ jobs.

      While it’s refreshing for a pro-Quesion-2 person finally admit that Question 2’s passing will damage public schools, his “so what?” follow-up to that admission, and the appalling disregard to the damage to the education of hundreds of thousands of students that will result is kind of sickening.

  • jeanabeana

    I am famiiar with Coates. History is important to me also on these “terror” issues… for example Blood Lands and Black Earth describe how Poland and Ukraine were devastated (by Russia destroying the local functions of “governing” and then Germany moving ever further east to continue the terror.) He has a chapter in his book about the implications for today as well. My neighbor is a “libertarian” and she rents to a Trump voter so I cannot pick too many fights…. I watched the entire Libertarian convention to see what they preach and one guy said “those kids have to take care of their own grannies”…. When I go door to door I get libertarians who say “I resent kids” or another who says “those people married twice and had two families (I guess she was thinking of Baby Boomers) j and I don’t want my taxes to pay …etc. or the retired policeman who says “I don’t want the mayor to oversee the money — he will just give it to the immigrants”…. We get other comments going door to door (only one time I heard the N word and then one time a man swore at me with a 4 letter word).. but mostly I meet interesting and well educated people. (of course my sample is Essex County homes so that is restrictive)

  • jeanabeana

    If Dimitri writes about Elizabeth Warren in a pejorative way, then I have to announce that I did door to door an telephone bank for her and for Martha Coakley. With Martha, the rally crowd of Scotty Brown (failed senator on two states) would yell out “rape her” and with Elizabeth Warren “Pocahantas”… Being from New England stock I have at least 3 native american ancestors in my genealogy; we cannot find them in the 1600s and 1700s because they were women probably taken into the homes of the “masters” and there are polite descriptions of “non-paternal event” (in today’s words it is rape)…. Every thing that I hold dear when voting for these women and doing an active campaign fits with my 50 years of public school experience. I resent people from NY or CA or NJ telling MA what we should vote for. Dimitri has called me “racist” and he (in layman’s’ terms” not lawyerly speak) slanders women with distinguished careers … but for him to tell MA people how to vote on these issues, that is nonsense. and I will read widely but I refuse to sell out the public schools (and I don’t know why we have any discussions of turn-coat democrats)… I campaigned for Bernie in the coldest part of the winter and I immediately can move over to the HRC campaign without a question.

    ON THE ATTACK

    Turncoat Democrats, It’s Time to Support Obama on Trade

    Progressives’ campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a PR rout. But their fight against Obama’s deal undermines the very causes they support.

    DMITRI MEHLHORN

    05.20.15 8:00 PM ET

    • Dmitri Mehlhorn

      I loved Elizabeth Warren, I loved the Two-Income Trap, I know many people who supported her. She is smart and great in lots of ways. Her TPP campaigning was terrible and her “No on 2” claims are a stark and depressing reversal from her writing in the Two Income Trap which noted accurately that neighborhood schools are not really public schools and have not been for a long time because they reinforce residential segregation.

  • jeanabeana

    I take full responsibility for the spelling of your name; I have had cataract surgery and retina surgery and have one eye for computer work. So when I look it up, copy and then paste, I am probably the one making the mistakes … there are enough different sources on Michelle Rhee and her husband that this is old news anyway; but you are like the people sticking with Trump even though he has criminal intent in mind…. you will defend M. Rhee etc… but I think you have been working with the wrong team all along and M. Rhee was never hired in MA (but of course we have our own mistakes). When I went to the Board meeting in Malden the commissioner took no responsibility for John Barranco’s theft from special ed students… “oh, yes , I heard about that when I came to this state.” The Board /DESE locks the barn door after the horse is stolen.
    Effect size is an important metric because all of the research coming out favoring charters has allegiance bias as well as errors in logic and math. You dismiss the work of Helen Ladd and only go with people who favor your view. When Fordham I. puts out a phony research study (after testing hundreds of kids in poverty — the ones you so care for) they won’t tell the truth because their study didn’t come out favoring charter schools… so they say “students have a self-reference bias” when they fill out the dumb questionnaires blaming the students. When U. Arkansas turns out a charter school that doesn’t have the results they want they say “well the parents just don’t know how to make a choice” that is the level of idiocy they put out in “charter” research. I was referring to the metrics used “effect size” and “number to treat”… there is another book on Chaos Theory that says to throw out the bell curve with our kids anyway….. but this conversation is really getting tedious and I have important work to do today.

    • Dmitri Mehlhorn

      I will read Helen Ladd. But the research in favor of charters is not isolated. There are now enormous numbers of studies that show enormous impact. There is a debate about the size of that impact, but not the direction or the statistical significance. You are right that it is a parallel to the Trump voters. The best defense against climate denialism, against anti-vax science, and against Trump is to read widely and to respect the academic method. Very very few independent scholars believe that Ravitch continues to be a scholar rather than a celebrity polemicist given her highly selective use of data. I do not know who Helen Ladd is but I’ll take your recommendation and try to read her work in case she brings something different.

  • jeanabeana

    why is it Dimitri insults so many people across the U.S. … “Thanks for correcting that dig against Mercedes Schneider. That kind of crap is exactly what I’m talking about as far as Mehlhorn’s deceptiveness and disingenuousness and why he shouldn’t be taken seriously as a debating partner. It’s just like the crap he pulled with Jersey Jazzman. And if Mehlhorn is wondering why the “tone” gets rather hostile, he can go look in a mirror.”

  • jeanabeana

    for a while I thought there was a stalker following me; or a lurker; but it seems Dmitri goes into every state and picks off people that he wants to “debate” with….. until a colleague clued me in last night I had no idea what was happening….. “Very slick and polished PR. Organizations aligned against public education and teachers’ unions share these strategies/catch-phrases among themselves and the politicians in their pockets. This is why the exact same stats show up in speeches, press releases, articles, “tweets”… and this smooth “rich teachers against poor children” is an excellent example. As politically aware and active non-teachers began to get involved and defend their children it expanded to a privileged middle class against the poor. I would suggest Dmitri contrast the concentrated wealth of the few (who are funding privatization and helping to advise politicians out of their obligations) with the collective need of the public. Instead of seed investors, outsourcing, stack-ranking…we could approach it with “all children need…”. (not a sentence ending with “choice”)

  • jeanabeana

    but even without the word I got in an email, I knew that Dmitri is using the false logic design model and there is no altruism from the “philanthropy” is fake; if they had chosen Magnet School model instead of charter nonsense they would have pulled me in … there is some research that says Magnet schools do work in educational progress, improvement and achievement. A colleague who has retired published a Magnet School study and the literature since his tie supports the conclusions and recommendations. Ron Sczypskowki of Magi (New York) …. alternative schools, magnet schools, technical schools , vocational schools, there are so many ways in MA that we innovate and they want to come in from outside the state and slap a “Charter School” framework on each city /town. At least the school committees and city council and mayors have figured it out

  • Dracut Reality

    This article has an incredible amount of cherry picking. If you want to describe the effects of question 2 passage, you really have to drill down to the situation for many suburbs who wake up one day to discover the presence of a charter school in the neighboring city. For these towns, the creation of a single large charter school can within a few years pull $3.5 million in tax money out of the town… Charter schools do not pay the cost of the small fraction of students (1-2%) with very severe disabilities, which can eat up 10% of a district’s school budget.

  • Jack Covey

    During the next month leading up to Tuesday, November 8, as you see or listen to the slick and expensive Madison Avenue-level TV/radio commercials promoting “YES” on Question 2 promulgating such lies as …

    “Question 2 will add more money to public schools (LIE: it won’t. In fact it will do just the opposite.

    “Question 2 won’t take money away from existing public schools (LIE: it will… a lot of money, in fact.)

    … or when view the slick mailers you find in your mailbox, or when listen to robo-calls, think about this following post:

    The latest is that over $21.7 million of out-of-state money from the most ruthless capitalists who have ever walked the Earth — Eli Broad, the Walton family of Walmart, Wall Street hedge fund managers, etc. — is pouring into Massachusetts to pass Question 2.

    Read this well-researched article here for that $21.7 million figure:

    https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/ma-question-2-funding-hits-21-7-million/

    These profit-minded plutocrats who are pouring in this money obviously …

    — do not live in Massachusetts,

    — have no children, grandchildren, or other relatives that attend public schools in Massachusetts

    — have never given a sh#% about the education of middle or lower income until recently, when they realized they could make a buck off privatizing Massachusetts schools via the expansion of privately-run charter schools,.

    They want to these corporate charter schools to replace truly public schools — the ones that, for generations, have been accountable and transparent to the public via democratically elected school boards, and which are mandated to educate ALL of the public… including those hardest or most difficult to educate … special ed., English Language Learners, homeless kids, foster care kids, kids with difficult behavior arising from distressed home lives.

    Are proponents of Question 2 seriously making the argument that out-of-state billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers are pumping in all this money because those folks care so much about the education of kids
    in Massachusetts?

    You really think they are NOT seeking a big money return on these ($21.7 million campaign donations?

    Does that pass the smell test?

    Can you provide an example of JUST ONE TIME in the past where they poured in this kind of cash to something … no strings attached, and with no expectations of return?

    If, as Q 2 supporters like Marty Walz claim, the most ruthless capitalists that have ever walked the Earth are now kicking in this kind of cash to pass Question 2 merely because they care about children’s education —

    … and if they are not about their profiting through the privatization of public schools brought about by the expansion of privately-run charter schools,

    … then I’m sure one of you Q 2 supporters could google and find a past example where they have done something similar .. .again out of generosity… with no expectation of an eventual monetary return…

    Something like …

    “Well, back in 2000-something, or 1900-something, these same folks donated $20 million to the (INSERT CHARITABLE CAUSE HERE). Here’s the link that proves this.”

    No, I didn’t think so. When this was brought up in a debate, Mary Walz refused to address it, saying, “We need to talk about the kids, not the adults.” Well, keeping money-motivated scum from raping and pillaging Massachusetts public schools IS CARING ABOUT THE KIDS, Marty! (By the way, those are many of the same folks who raped and pillaged the housing/mortgage industry a decade ago … go watch THE BIG SHORT to get up to speed on that … they’ve just moved on to new place to plunder.)

    So the real question is:

    To whom do the schools of Massachusetts belong? The citizens and parents who pay the taxes there?

    Or a bunch of money-motivated out-of-state billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers who are trying to buy them via Question 2, and the expansion of privately-managed charter schools which they control, or also profit from their on-line and digital learning products that will be sold to these charter school chains?

    If you believe the former, THEN FOR GOD’S SAKE, VOTE “NO” ON QUESTION 2.

    Send them a message: Massachusetts schools are NOT FOR SALE!!!

    Oh and go watch the John Oliver charter school video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_htSPGAY7I
    Oh and listen to this dissection of a “YES on 2”
    radio ad:
    http://wrsi.com/monte/dissecting-the-great-schools-massachusetts-ad-on-question-2/