H as your school district cut the jobs of paraprofessionals?;Do;you;have;certified;librarians in every school? Are your class
Are these cuts due to charter schools taking
funds away from your district?
Do you know how much money your district is
losing to charters?
Throughout Massachusetts, more than $400
million is being drained from local public schools
this year and given to charters, which serve only 4
percent of the students in our Commonwealth.
What does this mean to students, educators
and our communities? Fewer education support
professionals, the loss of librarians, larger class sizes
and reduced access to a
broad curriculum are just
a few of the many impacts
we hear about when we
ask how the loss of funds
affects our public school
As if this were not
bad enough, proponents
of a two-track system —
led by Governor Charlie
Baker and Secretary of
Education James Peyser
and funded by hedge
fund managers — are looking to raise the cap on
charters through a ballot initiative this November. If
the proposal passes, as many as 12 new charters could
be opened each year, drawing even more funds from
public schools and destabilizing districts as further
resources are removed.
The ballot question represents a profound threat
to public education in Massachusetts. Across the
country, in cities such as New Orleans, urban public
education is already being undermined by charters.
If this ballot measure is approved, in a few short
years the same thing could happen to public schools
in our own urban centers. Meanwhile, suburban
districts could be slowly bled of resources by
“boutique” charter schools.
MTA Today welcomes letters to the editor from MTA members. Letters should be no longer than 200 words.
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please refer to the guidelines posted on www.massteacher.org.
Letters to the Editor
The MTA should act now
to organize charter schools
To the Editor:
I resolutely support everything that Brian
Fitzgerald stated in his letter to the editor in the
Winter edition of MTA Today.
Any group can meet. Any meeting can generate
a vote. However, if no constructive action follows,
what was the point of meeting and voting?
It is intolerable and unconscionable for the MTA
to have effectively turned its back on educators in
Mr. Fitzgerald has asked the MTA to step
forward, open its doors to membership for charter
school educators and hence impede charter
position he has advocated.
MTA: Act now!
Dr. Gregory K. Maravelas
We must defeat this ballot initiative in order to
preserve public education in Massachusetts. We can
win if we educate ourselves, reach out to parents and
our communities, and work together to demand that
we keep the cap on charters and instead focus our
attention as a Commonwealth on fully funding public
As we move forward with this campaign, there
are a few things to keep in mind.
First, we know that the public respects the
voices of educators — and the voice of the MTA.
Let’s raise our voices in social media, through
letters to the editor, and in conversations with family
members, friends and parents.
Second, our success in this campaign will be
fully fund public education is one that we share
with parents, students, school committees and
superintendents. Our sisters and brothers in labor
want to preserve public schools and the unions
that support them. In this campaign, we will build
strength in our locals and then extend our solidarity
to the communities in which we live and teach.
Third, while the charter proponents are
well-funded and have people in power on their side
— from the governor to the speaker of the House to
the opinion writers of The Boston Globe — we have
something much more powerful: our numbers, our
relationships and our collective action. We can no
longer respond to their threats with fear; rather,
we must respond with strength, conviction and a
well-organized strategy to win back public education.
down on us, their assault can be defeated by our
ability to organize and act together.
Fourth, the assault we are under from charter
proponents is part of a broader attack on public
education and our unions. High-stakes testing is a
weapon in this nefarious campaign, as it is used to
“prove” that schools are failing and open the door
to charters. Profound underfunding weakens our
public education system and invites parents to look
for more well-resourced options — even if those
resources are stolen from the very schools that the
testing, including the growing opt-out movement, is
a tool in the effort to stop the expansion of charters.
The Fair Share Amendment, if successful, will allow
for adequately funding public education and push
back against the austerity under which we all have
But just as the assaults are broad, national and
multifaceted, so is the organized resistance. We
have allies from Hawaii to Maine, from Washington
to Florida. More important, we have allies in our
schools, in our communities and in the State House.
In the last year, your efforts have shifted the
conversation about charter schools. More and more
people understand that charters siphon off vital
funds, harm our public schools, and do not serve
students with the greatest needs.
In the months ahead, we have more to do to
educate voters and expose the myths of charter
schools. We will need you — trusted, committed
educators — to tell the story of why we need to stop
the expansion of charters and instead deepen our
commitment to public education.
I will be calling on you. Your colleagues will
be calling on you. Our allies in the Save Our Public
Schools coalition will be calling on you. Let’s step
up and win this one for the students and communities
of Massachusetts, for the birthplace of free universal
In solidarity, and in anticipation of many great
To learn more about the impact
that charter schools are having
on public education, please visit
massteacher.org/charters. To see
how much money Massachusetts
school districts are losing, go to