Photo by Scott McLennan
Ballot fight goes down to the wire
MTA leaders, members and staff gathered at an All Presidents’ Meeting in Southbridge on Sept. 24 to work on plans to defeat Question 2.
By Laura Barrett
E nergy continues to surge into the No on 2 campaign as voters become increasingly concerned about how lifting the cap on
charter schools would affect students who attend
their district public schools.
MTA members and other activists taking part in
the Save Our Public Schools campaign are vowing
to keep working through Election Day, supporting
a “no” vote through phone banking, knocking on
doors, holding signs, posting on social media and
engaging in thousands of conversations with friends,
neighbors and relatives.
That work is paying off. More than 165
school committees — from Adams-Cheshire to
Monomoy and everywhere in between — have
voted to oppose lifting the cap on charter schools.
Also opposed are the NAACP, the Massachusetts
PTA, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward
Markey, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura
Healey, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, the Democratic
State Committee, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and
numerous other civil rights, parent, student and labor
The MTA is one of the leaders of the No on 2
“Our efforts are making a huge difference, but
we can’t stop now,” said MTA President Barbara
Madeloni. “Even though the ‘yes’ supporters are
outspending us two to one, their lead is slipping
away. They are redoubling their efforts, and we must
do the same. This is a wonderful opportunity for
members to experience the power and respect that
Madeloni said it has become clear that this
initiative is about more than just charter schools.
“It’s about whether we value public education
enough to protect, fund and improve it for all
students,” she said.
“It’s about who gets to decide education
policy in our state — the Waltons from Arkansas
or Massachusetts educators, families and the local
leaders we elect.
“And it’s about standing up for decent wages,
hours and working conditions for educators while
calling out the charter model of hiring unlicensed
teachers, depriving educators of a collective voice
and burning them out in two or three years.”
Even many charter school supporters oppose
Question 2, understanding that it would — in Mayor
Walsh’s words — “wreak havoc” on public school
Question 2 would allow the state to approve 12
new schools every year in perpetuity, on top of the
dozens that could already open under the existing
cap. Even more significantly, it would eliminate
the limit on how much money can be diverted from
public schools to charters. Today, that figure is 9
percent of school spending in most districts; it is 18
percent in Boston and other districts in the bottom 10
percent based on test scores.
“Question 2 could open the floodgates to
charterizing entire districts in just a few short years,”
said Erik J. Champy, vice president of the MTA and
a former president of the Massachusetts PTA. “It’s
a threat to our public schools and all who care about
Please turn to MTA Members/Page 15
Photo by Chris Christo
Photo by Scott McLennan
Educators showed their support for the No on 2 campaign with signs and stickers on Sept. 20,
just before Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester spoke at Brockton High School. Chester, a
charter school supporter, was booed by parents and educators who turned out for the forum.