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E ducators, parents and students gathered at schools across the state before the start of classes on Oct. 6 to take part in a nationwide
walk-in organized by the Alliance to Reclaim Our
The alliance is a network of parent, community
and labor groups throughout the country dedicated to
educational justice and equity.
Across Massachusetts — in cities such as
Springfield, Worcester and Fall River and in smaller
communities such as Canton, Dedham and Danvers
— the rallies and gatherings spread the “No on
2” message in opposition to the November ballot
question seeking to lift the cap on charter schools.
Charter schools will drain $450 million from
district public schools this year, and the proposed
expansion would pull an estimated $1 billion a year
from public school districts within six years.
In one scene in Springfield that was
representative of many others across the state, a large
group of public school educators, students, parents
and community activists lined the sidewalk outside
the Sumner Avenue School.
The group drew enthusiastic support from
morning commuters — with drivers honking
their horns and calling out encouragement. The
Springfield Education Association organized the
walk-in at Sumner and at other schools in the city
with support from community allies.
Springfield’s public schools will lose nearly
$36 million to privately run charter schools this year
“We see the resources that are needed
in our schools. We see the teachers and the
paraprofessionals taking money out of their
own pockets to provide for the students and the
classrooms. If there are available resources, they
should be coming to these schools — not going
to charter schools,” said Ipsita Lizardi, a Sumner
In Canton, the walk-in precipitated a flood of
participation by educators and parents.
Canton Teachers Association President Patricia
Phalan said she is always impressed by the level
of commitment and activism shown by her fellow
educators, as well as their dedication to their
“Teachers are up to their eyebrows in work —
and then they have a family at home,” she said. But
events such as the walk-in “give educators a chance
to reflect on their professionalism and stand up
together for the work they do,” she said.
MTA President Barbara Madeloni joined the
rally at Canton’s Hansen Elementary School.
“It’s amazing how committed our educators
are,” Madeloni said. “Even with everything they
face, between testing and evaluations, they still really
believe in public education and are willing to fight
Photo by Chris Christo
A large group of educators, parents, students
and community activists lined the sidewalk
during the walk-in at the Sumner Avenue
School in Springfield.