• Marcus A. Winters

    Marcus A. Winters Profile

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There are 27 comments on POV: Massachusetts Voters Should Vote Yes on Question 2

  1. If there is a problem with the Public Schools, the solution isn’t to throw money towards Charter Schools, the solution is to fix the Public Schools.

    1. I was a teacher in the City of Boston from 1975 to 1984. I left to follow another passion — earning a Masters Degree in Print Journalism. Eventually I returned to Education, serving a high-performing school district in the MetroWest area, as the Co-Director of Curriculum and Technology. What I know from experience is that the “strength” of ANY School System is based upon the quality & dedication of the Teachers and the Principal, and the involvement/interest of the Parents. I agree with the statement above regarding “the solution is to fix the Public Schools…” AND I HIGHLY SUSPECT that the $$$$ spent on Charter Schools will negatively impact the Public Schools. (I also find myself thinking…. where are all these “available school buildings” that will absorb all the Charter School students????

  2. I am happy to read a reasoned approach. Charter schools do not hurt traditional public schools, but are one of many tools that can help educate our children. That is supposed to be the goal here – not just throwing money at the status quo.

    1. Wrong. Charter schools DO hurt public schools. A yes on 2 vote would pit public and charter schools against each other to fight over an already limited pool of education funding. Why not invest fully in our public schooling system? You say charter schools are ‘tools’ for education when in reality they’re merely leeches looking to create a divisive education system at the risk of our already bleeding public schools.

  3. Boston Public Schools needs more funding, not less. Charter schools are not inclusive of all students in the Boston area. Do what is right for all students, not just your own.

    1. Vote No on Ques 2. Not all charter schools are bad, but they unfairly drains crucial funding from public schools, & do not serve all students. The ballot questions asks to lift the cap on the number of charter, even though MA is nowhere near reaching that cap. Read the Boston Globe article below for a compelling argument against charters, because they can’t be bothered to meet the needs of special ed or ESL students. This from the Globe, which is openly supports a yes vote on Q2.

      For the record, Charter schools are NOT public schools. Their only public dimension comes from money diverted from public school districts. In most other ways they are private ventures, not least those that are for-profit corporations. Educational “reform” that allows corporations to make $$$ off of public education is not worthwhile reform that will help MA.

      https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/10/28/finding-school-that-gave-her-son-room-run/ip6WcrlFYZvhCKk8DUqhPK/story.html

  4. No less money for Public School. Public school should have more money, more support, support for teachers. Education should be great for all students.FIX PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

  5. “But what about the students who remain in the state’s traditional public schools? Won’t they be harmed when their school loses the resources that were tied to their classmates who leave for charters?”
    Replace ‘resources’ with ‘money’ because that is really what is leaving your town’s school budget, along with the student. Yes, there is some form of *partial* reimbursement from the state, but there is always a net loss of funds to the town’s school budget. How are we supposed to improve the regular public school system when money is leaving it for the publicly funded, private schools known as charter schools?

    Questions not addressed in this op-ed piece:
    1) Is admissions to charter schools in Massachusetts 100% via lottery, across the entire state? No preferential treatment? No cherry-picking of the best students?
    2) What happens to the transferred money if a student leaves the charter school and returns to the regular public school system? Does the money stay at the charter, or is a pro-rated refund returned to the public school as it should be?
    3) Why is the ‘Yes on #2’ campaign being heavily funded by national and non Massachusetts based organizations?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

    1. While charter schools are 100% lottery based, they are able to “recommend” and kick-out certain students to go back to traditional schools. Many times, these are special needs kids or those who don’t do well on testing.

  6. If charter schools are so much better than public schools then why even bother have public schools just move all students to charter schools? The reason charter schools “do better” is because they only pick the best students to attend the schools. Children with special needs or in need of more help because they are behind are not admitted to charter schools. If they were there would be no difference between charter and public schools.

    Additionally charter schools are money making devices that privatize public education. Directors at these schools can make over $500,000/year.

    The solution is not to increase charter schools but to improve public schools.

  7. Professor Winters, can you help me understand a small piece of this? WBUR reports, “As it stands, no more than 120 charter schools are allowed to operate in the state; there are currently 78 active charters.” [source: http://www.wbur.org/edify/2016/09/13/massachusetts-charter-school-question-two%5D. Why then are we voting to lift that cap, when it hasn’t been reached yet? It sounds like 42 additional charter schools can still be opened before the cap is reached.

  8. There are good reasons to vote no on #2. However, charter schools and public schools cater to different communities, and therefor have different requirements. Schooling is mandatory for everyone, which means you have to address a wide breadth of people with limited resources. charter schools have the advantage that they don’t have to cater to the same breadth of people, which means they have the opportunity to provide an environment that students learn better, for *those* students.

    The problem isn’t that public schools are broken – the problem is that they are too general. Charter schools don’t have that yoke. They theory is that it allows them to be more efficient. This article suggests that the theory is valid, under the right circumstances and controls.

  9. I believe it unfair and anti-educational to have a POV on only 1 of 2 sides of a controversial vote. Would you have only a pro-Trump POV . . . or a pro-Hollary one?

    When will you do a POV on the other side?? The other side which opposes increasing charters is supported by an unusually wide range of leaders: the NAACP, the mayor of Boston, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, many if not most school committees in the state,among others.

    Your POV is anti-educational because it does not allow your readers to hear both sides of this highly contentious, divisive issue.

  10. Having more charter school does NOT solve the hardest and #1 problem – the need for much more of much better teachers and school principles. It redirects money, but more importantly it siphons the best and the brightest out of regular schools. Charter schools can be seen as a model of what every public school should be, but we do not need a lot of models to see that. So => NO on question 2! (more at http://www.teachology.xyz/cs.htm and http://www.teachology.xyz/np.htm)

  11. Hello fellow residents of MA,

    Instead of looking at this vote as a referendum as to whether Charter schools are good or bad, I think its important to understand the specific consequences of this vote. Currently (as in with a No vote), about 4 new charter schools can be opened in Boston each year. Along with this, the state is supposed to provide transition funds to BPS, so that when students leave, they have time to reconsolidate resources (close schools, move faculty around) to make sure they can maintain their schools adequately. This makes sense in terms of not putting an undue burden on the children who remain in the public schools.

    However, the state has decided not to provide these funds (about $60 million per year) to BPS for the past two years, leaving a huge gap in BPS’s budget. If this were to continue, a Yes vote could increase this deficit to $150 million.

    The author makes a good point the charter schools in Boston produce good results. And even with a “no” vote, 4 new charter schools can open up in Boston each year. I think before this cap is lifted, the state needs to pay the transition funds that they had agreed to pay.

  12. the research cited is paid for by the charter industry; this is called “Allegiance Bias”… we saw the extreme of that in the tobacco “studies”… haven’t we learned not to believe the marketing hype? which is all it is. Pearson does its own marketing “Study” and then Mass Business Alliancepushes it as truth. This is not good research. People also might want to know that Big Pharma Perdue , the company that pushed the opioid epidemic in all the states, is one of the “philanthropies” behind he yes charter chatter. Won’t that be great when they bring their marketing strategies to the charter schools with 5 colored mailing brochures….

    1. Pharmaceutical companies will offer addictive drugs to students who are clinically depressed after being shoved out of charter schools. Now there’s a win-win — but not for the public. Bah.

      Vote No on 2, Yes on 4.

  13. “However, the state has decided not to provide these funds (about $60 million per year) to BPS for the past two years, leaving a huge gap in BPS’s budget. If this were to continue, a Yes vote could increase this deficit to $150 million.” yes, this is true! Ask the Mayor of Northampton, ask the Mayor of Haverhill. Why do you think over 200 school committees have passed a resolution to “Vote No on #2”? I am very proud of the Haverhill Mayor who spoke out on this issue.

  14. the Foundation Budget Review Commission report that was released in October 2015 to be considered seriously. It will be no easy task to address the issues found in the report, but the report shows that the current formula used to determine what municipalities receive for funding is outdated, especially as it pertains to special education, health insurance, English language learners and low-income families. These areas all directly hurt urban districts when not funded as recommended, but also hurt many of our area towns. (written by Fall River School Committee member)

  15. As a BPS parent as well as a BU Faculty I respectfully disagree with this assessment. One of the problems with the reasoning here is that the way that BPS allocates resources is not taken into account by Prof. Winters when he considers the possible effect on the public schools. The expansion of charter schools will drain already stretched-thin public schools of needed funding. Therefore it will obviously have a negative impact. The other crucial point that Prof. Winters misses is that the charter schools, regardless of how they recruit, have a lot of leeway over student retention. Therefore they can artificially inflate their performance on test scores while punting the underperforming students back into the public schools and making it their problem.

  16. Public schools still have to educate special needs students and when Charter schools drain money from the public schools, these children along with others simply have fewer resources available to them.

  17. Regarding the corrupt “dark money” funding behind those pushing Question 2, check out this graphic from a story from WBUR:

    http://d279m997dpfwgl.cloudfront.net/wp/2016/10/YesOn2-infographics-final2-1.png

    Here’s the story itself:

    http://www.wbur.org/edify/2016/10/27/where-the-money-comes-from-in-the-fight-over-charter-schools

    For another telling graphic go to this story:

    http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/wall-street-firms-make-money-teachers-pensions-fund-charter-schools-fight-2437702

    Go about 1/3 of the way down Sirota’s article to see a really cool flow chart. I’ve not seen yet the Wall Street “dark money” funding aspect of Q2 expressed so clearly and succinctly as it is there.

    Looking at that graphic, it’s no wonder that Marty Walz always pivots away from discussions about “dark mone funding of Question 2 by saying, “Whenever funding is discussed, that’s means we’re not talking about the children. Instead of talking about the adults, let’s focus back in the kids.”

    If I were shilling for Question 2, I’d do the same thing, as otherwise, I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

  18. A common refrain I hear from “No on 2” supporters is that we should just fix the public schools we have. How do you fix them? Throw more money at them? BPS already has among the highest per-student spending in the nation. And how long will fixing them take? Years? A decade? We have been trying to fix BPS for years, and it still has tons of issues.

    I live next to English High School in Jamaica Plain. The Dean of Students responsible for anti-gang violence had recruited his own students to deal drugs for him, and was sentenced last year for shooting one of them in the back of the head, execution-style (https://www.bostonglobe.com/2015/03/05/community-activist-and-english-high-staffer-charged-with-shooting-english-high-student/pO0Ee9hyT98cphKR9ZITAL/story.html). Would you send your own children to this school? How long can you wait for it to get better? If I was a poor family and this school was my only option, I would feel trapped and disgusted. Rich people can afford private schools, they always have a choice. Poor families are stuck!

    I’m voting Yes on question 2 to give poor families the same choice that I have, and keep them from being stuck in failing schools with little chance of being fixed before my children pass through them.

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